Marijke Panis is a master student in Watermanagement with a specialisation in hydrology at Delft University of Technology.

How did you hear about 510? 

As part of my studies, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of (international) projects, which inspired me to combine my technical background with the humanitarian sector. My experience of studying in Turkey in 2013 opened my eyes to working abroad and capture my interest in working in different cultures. After this experience, I decided to work in Lebanon in a refugee camp and apply for an internship in Kalimantan. These last two experiences showed me the importance of  watermanagment related challenges in conflict situations and affecting vulnerable areas. I worked on the development of new technology with local materials and made me decide to select a graduation topic, where I could combine different disciplines. In the path to find my graduation topic, I passed by 510, who gave me this opportunity and where these different fields come together. 


What project are you currently working on? 

In my master research I worked on a project in Malawi as part of the Forecast-based Financing program. I did research into assessing the forecast skill of agricultural drought forecast in the Lower Shire River Basin. This research exists of both qualitative and quantitative research, where I used machine learning techniques in combination with expert interviews of both (international) humanitarian organisations and local smallholder in the development of an agricultural drought forecast model. The humanitarian organisation and smallholder farmers provided me with information when the need forecast information and which climate-related risks they experience within the growing season.   


510’s purpose is ‘Improve speed, quality and cost-effectiveness of humanitarian aid by using data & digital.’ How are your skills helping 510 reach its purpose? 

During this research, I experienced the importance of using data in a fast response to crisis situations.  By the combination of different sources a first estimate is given to the impact of a disaster, which helps humanitarian organisation to send support more effectively and efficiently. The experiences to act on the different natural disasters improve the existing forecast models and help to increase disaster preparedness. 

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