NGO photography


As a freelance photo journalist in East Africa, I’ve photographed several NGO projects. This is a selection of commissioned pictures.



1. Former Dutch minister Neelie Kroes and Nice Leng’ete visit an Alternative Rite of Passage with the Masai Community of Olentoko, Kenya.


2. A series of portraits, highlighting the importance of Africa’s Community Health Workers in order to achieve universal health care coverage.


3. Dutch writer Saskia Noort visits the Masai of Kilindi, Tanzania, to attend a ceremony to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

1. Neelie Kroes visits the Masai community of Olentoko in Kenya

Commissioned by: Amref Health Africa

Candle Light Ceremony Maasai Kenya by Joost Bastmeijer

In many Maasai communities, female circumcision or ‘female genital mutilation’ (FGM) is a common ritual practice, associated with the transition from a girlhood to adulthood and marriage. ‘The cut’ kills many girls, who can be as young as eight years old when they undergo the ceremonial ritual. Former Dutch minister and Uber Board Advisor Neelie Kroes visited this ‘Alternative Rite of Passage’ together with Nice Leng’ete, who is from Masai origin herself and one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of the world. I was there to capture their attendance.

School visit with Neelie Kroes in Kenya by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG
Classroom by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG
Neelie Kroes with Maasai girls by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG
Blessings from chiefs and elders by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG
Nice Leng'ete and Neelie by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG
Sunset and Mount Suswa by Joost Bastmeijer.JPG

On the eve of an alternative rite of passage (with the festivities, but without the circumcision), I attended a beauty pageant organized to empower the young girls of Maasai tribes surrounding Olentoko, a region in Kenya. I asked the girls, filled with self-confidence after their ‘catwalk’ run outside the school building, if I could photograph them in a class room that was used for anti FGM classes earlier that day. The beauty pageant was organized in order to show Maasai girls that they are indeed beautiful, to let them feel appreciated and celebrated by their community. After the beauty pageant, a candle light ceremony was concluded by prayers and blessings from the Maasai elders, completing the first day of ceremonies.

2. A portrait series featuring Community Health Workers

Commissioned by: Amref Health Africa


When Amref Health Africa heard they would be able to exhibit 40 pictures during the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, they asked me to shoot 40 portraits all over the African continent. During the event, which is organized by the World Health Organization, Amref pleaded for the payment of Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are playing a vital role in the development of primary health care in African countries like Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.


The forty portraits I shot for Amref Health Africa, all show Community Health Workers from four different African countries. I’ve recorded their stories, which are audible at the exhibition for the duration of the conference in Kazachstan.

If you’d like to hear what the Community Health Workers have to say to the ministers who attend the WHO conference, you can check out the dedicated ‘Dear Minister’ website, which boasts my photographs and audio recordings.

3. Saskia Noort visits Alternative Rite of Passage in Tanzania to end FGM

Commissioned by: Amref Health Africa

Julia Schellekens and Saskia Noort in Kilindi Tanzania.JPG
Masai lady.JPG

When Dutch writer Saskia Noort isn’t working on her new novel, she’s working as one of the ambassadors of Amref Flying Doctors, the Dutch branch of Amref Health Africa. Noort attended an ‘Alternative Rite of Passage’ in Kilindi, Tanzania, during which Masai girls make the transition from a girl to womanhood. During her trip to Tanzania, Noort also visited a local Amref clinic and talked to Community Health Workers. Some of the photographs of Saskia Noort’s trip to Tanzania were shown in this NPO Radio 1 video segment and were used by De Nieuws BV and NPO online.

Masai Girl Kilindi.JPG
Masai Moran in Kilindi Tanzania.JPG
Maasai meisje in Kilindi.JPG
Moran man in Tanzania.JPG
A masai girl shows her Amref ARP certificate.JPG
Masai elders dancing.JPG
Morans and masai girls in Kilindi Tanzania.JPG
Masai boy and his grandfather.JPG
Vrouw in Tanzania.JPG
Community Health Worker in Tanzania.JPG
Masai girls line up for lunch.JPG
Amref Health Africa in Tanzania.JPG
Schrijfster Saskia Noort in Tanzania.JPG
Masai girls clap and sing in ARP.JPG
Masai girls clap and sing in Kilindi, Tanzania.JPG
Masai boy in Tanzania.JPG
Saskia Noort en Julia Schellekens van Sam & Julia.JPG