Puk Witte: the role of experts by experience

Building a local and sustainable network of low-literacy experts by experience in 14 places across the country, mostly with municipalities.

Puk Witte

Short Bio

My name is Puk Witte and I work for Sardes, a research & consultancy agency. I have served as the project lead for the Innovative Deployment of Experts by Experience in Low-Literacy in Municipalities project for the ABC Foundation since 2019. ABC is a volunteer organisation run by, and for, (former) low-literates. ABC promotes the interests of, provides information to and organises meetings between language ambassadors.


This is my first contribution to EPALE: I’m a greenhorn! But an enthusiastic one, let me tell you! EPALE is a tremendous medium for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and news. I expect to spend more time here to find and share information and inspiration. Very much looking forward to ‘seeing’ you soon!

My Story

In recent years, the demand for experts by experience in low-literacy (or language ambassadors) has grown considerably and organisations of many different shapes and sizes are putting them to use. In order to meet the growing demand for these language ambassadors while also responding to the new decentralised approach to education, the ABC Foundation launched its project on Innovative Deployment of Experts by Experience in Low-Literacy in Municipalities. With this project, it strives to build a local and sustainable network of low-literacy experts by experience in 14 places across the country, mostly with municipalities.

Experts by experience are invaluable for recruiting participants for courses, raising awareness about low-literacy among professionals, and helping to asses communications and their comprehensibility for the target audience, as well as for making policy.

We therefore hope that more municipalities and organisations will set up a network of low-literacy experts. This is, of course, a very involved process. Fortunately, civil servants or policy officers can now head to for more information on how to launch such a network for their own municipality or organisation. The website is full of resources for policy advisors, coordinators and communication officers about recruiting, guiding and deploying experts by experience. It explains how to set up a test panel to improve communications and addresses important topics such as low-literacy and clear language in a nutshell. Based on what you want to know or learn, you can pick and mix various parts of the website. Some may be looking to find out more about communications, while others may be more interested in deploying experts by experience or the role that municipalities can play. The Policy Tool also contains in-depth information on key themes, practical examples, references to literature, useful tools and websites, and very practical tips. Be sure to take a look for yourself! The ABC Policy Tool is made possible in part by the Dutch government’s Tel mee met Taal and Direct Duidelijk programmes. Spread the Message!

The Policy Tool is part of a set of materials which aim to professionalise the deployment of low-literacy experts by experience that have been updated and expanded throughout the project. For more information, head to ABC's website.

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