Hanne dittmar helps set up tourism training abroad

"Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself", says hanne dittmar and laughs. The hotel specialist, a master craftswoman in the hospitality industry and lecturer at the chamber of industry and commerce (IHK), has been traveling the world from aschach for decades, teaching professional practice in namibia, tanzania and egypt, in jamaica, china, tibet, bulgaria, turkey, serbia, zanzibar, ukraine and lebanon. In april, she will be working in ukraine again for a few weeks, on behalf of the GIZ, the german society for international cooperation.

"The german vocational training system is appreciated all over the world", says dittmar. The international demand for german trainers, also in the hotel and restaurant sector, is growing steadily. "More and more countries want to profit from tourism." This presupposes a professionalism in the service to the guests. "It's my job to set up these service structures in many countries first. In some countries, I often have to work with minimal resources at the beginning, says the 59-year-old. To start a practice-oriented education when you have even less than the bare essentials, let alone no money, is a rough challenge, he says.

Training according to learning plans
Depending on the situation, dittmar develops local learning plans and trains prospective trainers not only in technical skills and hygiene, but also in sustainable ecological management in catering operations. Her husband fritz dittmar was the one who won her over for this work all over the world. This has always been the focus of international cooperation in the field of education policy. In his younger years, he worked in botswana as a teacher trainer, later in namibia as an advisor to top education authorities and as a project manager for the improvement of national basic school education. Without him, she would never have had the idea of doing similar training work in her own field. 30 years ago, she was only curious about going to africa.

Development of the hospitality industry
Because she was without a work permit, hanne dittmar got involved in social projects in botswana. She established a school bookstore and supported a tailoring cooperative. "I got the fabrics, made the cuts. Eight women have sewn and sold the textiles in small stores. It was a great job." Since then, the desire to contribute to the development of the hospitality industry in your field has stayed with you. Not all initiatives have been crowned with success. In northern namibia, for example, an attempt to establish a hotel management school with the support of the government failed. In jamaica it went better. "We were able to organize training rooms."

"I always work in an international team", says hanne dittmar. "Working language is english." She quickly learned that the goals she was striving for often could not be achieved according to western patterns of learning and living. "I always have to adjust quickly and consistently to the country and its people, to local conditions and mentalities. With a project goal, I must first and foremost keep an eye on what is feasible." It's hard "when the locals turn their ears deaf". Their expectations of support from western professionals are sometimes illusory. "In china, people seem to be surprised that we don't drive up in a mercedes."

Traveling to the field is usually very tiring. Long flights in wooden classes, hanging around airports for hours, kamikaze cab drivers, dust, traffic jams, noise and heat all wear on the nerves. "I actually want to go to the moon and never do such a job again." She also has to write a detailed report on her work after each project. Dittmar likes to relax at local cultural events and occasionally enjoys tourist excursions.

Between job and family
How do her numerous projects fit in with family life?? "I keep the balance between job and family. My heart always swells when I come home." Hanne dittmar keeps in touch with family by video phone from faraway lands. The three sons have long since grown up. One of them was taught german, math and HSK at home in botswana, the youngest in northern namibia. To their amazement, he introduced himself to his class at jack steinberger high school with just a few words: "i've just come from africa."

Husband fritz knows from his own experience how important his wife's work is in many countries. He takes the weeks-long absence of his wife rather calmly philosophically. "What is important is not where you are, but what you do where you are, as they say in africa."

International cooperation

Objectives the german society for international cooperation (giz), gmbh with headquarters in bonn and eschborn, is financed by federal funds. It offers development services, consulting, setting up and requesting project contractors, providing equipment and materials, preparing studies and expert reports.

Education work the GIZ is also active in international education work. Of the approximately 17,000 employees in 130 countries, 60 percent are local workers. You apply for projects and locations if you have the right qualifications. The development of gastronomic and tourist infrastructures is gaining in importance.

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