Gerd Baltes is our most experienced expert in the field. Together with other experts and the Head of the project Matthias Seeger, he is on the road for the GS Foundation in Nigeria. We asked him in more detail:
“Why are you still active for the GS Foundation?”
This is the standard question when I talk to friends and acquaintances about my involvement with the GS Foundation and the mission in Nigeria. I must admit, during my 40 years of active service as a police officer of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, I would have also asked this question to any retired colleague who, at the age of over 65, would still have taken on a challenging job in a security-critical country in Africa. From the point of view of an active police officer and police leader, who in 26 years of membership in the senior police service was completely occupied on a daily basis with the organization of service operations, the planning and management of operations and, above all, personnel management, retirement appeared to be the stage of life in which one can devote oneself to all the pleasant and interesting things in life for which one did not find time in one’s job.
That may be true, but why not achieve this with an activity in which you can put your education, studies and all your life experience to good use?
This opportunity was presented to me by the GS Foundation’s offer in November 2021, to participate in a project to implement national police reform in Nigeria.
There are, of course, certain requirements that must be met, such as being healthy enough to tolerate the different climate in Africa and the necessary vaccinations that are required for the new post. Furthermore, one needs to be aware of the dangers posed by an unstable security situation and health risks such as malaria. The use of the English language as a project language can also become a challenge.
Perhaps the most crucial condition to be part of a project like this is your private life. Most importantly, whether this is something that your partner or spouse would agree on – you will spend half a year away from home after all.
In my case, these individual requirements were met and the experiences with a foreign culture and the successful interaction with similarly motivated colleagues have so far fully met the expectations regarding myself, the varied activity, and our successful project work.
We thank Gerd Baltes for his commitment!
Pictured (from left to right): Marco Popp, Patrick Franck, Heribert Stahl, Gerd Baltes, Wolfgang Nikolaus