SPARK employs staff at the headquarters in Amsterdam but mostly at its field offices in Belgrade (Acquisition), Benghazi, Bujumbura, Erbil, Gaziantep, Hargeisa, Juba, Kigali, Mitrovica, Monrovia, Pristina, Ramallah, Sana’a, Ségou, Skopje (ICT) and Yangon. Most field offices work with local staff and one expat.

On average in 2014, the number of staff employed by SPARK was 71. Nineteen staff members (of six different nationalities) were Amsterdam-based. 74% of staff is working in the field offices. In total, SPARK employed people of 21 different nationalities. 39% of the staff is female, 61% male. SPARK is a young organisation, with 50% of staff being younger than 35.

HR Policy

SPARK’s staff is a central factor in the achievement of its mission, and the most important asset distributed over the various field offices and the head office. At any given time, SPARK employs staff from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds both in the field offices and at the head office.

In 2007, SPARK introduced a Code of Conduct (CoC), which has to be signed by all employees at the beginning of their employment. It details expected behaviour and emphasises transparency and integrity, so that new employees know what behaviour is expected of them. Regular staff evaluations and assessment meetings are held to discuss staff performance and individual staff, and to get feedback on SPARK’s performance as an organisation. In 2014, there was limited capacity for staff training. Whenever these trainings did take place, they were arranged on an individual basis.

To maintain knowledge and skills within the organisation, team meetings are held within offices and across offices on a regular basis. Detailed handover documents ensure a smooth transition if an employee leaves a position.

SPARK employs a range of security procedures and trainings in order to ensure the safety of its staff. Read more about this in section 5.3.


Knowledge sharing plays an important role in SPARK’s daily activities. One aspect of this is to provide young, motivated people with the opportunity to gain working experience in an international NGO, and SPARK therefore offers internship positions. Interns can assist employees in various functions and their tasks encompass administrative work as well as substantially independent assignments. Each intern has an assigned supervisor, who is the direct contact, evaluates the intern’s work and provides feedback during the internship. As interns bring a fresh perspective, SPARK gains from this and the internship programme also ensures a good connection with higher-education institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

Staff Satisfaction

In 2014, the annual staff survey was held for the eighth time. The response rate was 52%, the highest since its inception in 2006. 39 out of 76 employees provided feedback on topics such as: work space and facilities; collaboration and atmosphere; leadership; secondary working conditions, etc.

In general, the staff survey shows overall satisfaction in working for SPARK. In six out of nine areas the target of 3.5 as a satisfactory score has been met. It can be said that SPARK maintains its strengths as an organisation: good leadership and organisation; clarity of responsibilities; autonomy; and a good atmosphere among staff members.

However, the staff survey also identifies three areas that need to be improved. Firstly, staff indicated a wish for greater personal development opportunities. A second area for improvement is secondary working conditions, especially in the field offices, where the workload is comparatively higher. Improvements in both areas face financial constraints, thus the management emphasises alternative ways to improve on these issues. For example, managers are encouraged to look for training possibilities within the different programmes and staff members are encouraged to take initiative for themselves. Thirdly, staff indicated a need for more attention to the physical workspace, suggesting improvements in regard to chairs, ICT facilities and in some offices noise reduction and air quality.


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