When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion.

This African proverb is about the power of working together. That seems so obvious, but there is a lot involved.

My name is Gerrit de Vries. I founded Joint Purpose to help your organisaton build meaningful international collaborations.

With Joint Purpose I am partner in Perspectivity, facilitators of social systems change.

International collaborations

As a development organisation you cooperate with others. You have a shared ambition and your partners bring complementary skills and expertise. You also want to apply Shift the Power: a way of working with more control for local people and organisations. You may wish to work differently with your partners or offices.

With Joint Purpose I look at all aspects of collaboration: ambitions, interests, relationships, organisation and process. To make progress, it needs to be practical. That’s where Joint Purpose comes in!

My Services


Building an alliance or partnership, bringing new energy into an existing cooperation. Joint Purpose helps your organisation to succeed in such trajectories.

Shift the Power

Tipping the balance of power towards local people and organisations. Joint Purpose goes beyond theory and helps you make it practical.

Working with partners or offices

Working differently with partners or your organisation’s offices. How to organise it in a fair and effective way. Joint Purpose helps you make it work.

Who am I?

I lived and worked in Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and The Netherlands. Every day I enjoy working with a great diversity of people from countries and cultures who share insights, humour and jointly achieve impressive results.

Increasingly, development organisations are working together. The Shift the Power movement advocates for a change in the balance of power towards local people and organisations. I believe that is not only just, but also the right thing to do and achieve better impact.

With Joint Purpose I contribute my experience to foster equitable and effective collaborations.

Gerrit combines a broad knowledge from literature about networks and cooperation with hands-on experience. He is very well equipped to guide the discussion in the right direction.

Dicky Nieuwenhuis
Executive Director at SeeYou Foundation

He always seemed to look for ways to create mutually beneficial collaborative fora. I found him to be an extremely capable networker and leader in the development space.

Mandla Nkomo
Chief Growth Officer at CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy 2030