About Mesics

Mesics is a foundation according to Dutch law, registered in the Commercial Register of The Hague under nr 27 17 60 42.

Bank Nr. 52 84 76 173
IBAN: NL69ABNA0528476173

At the end of this introduction you will find a short update for 2009. Each country has a detailed update 2009.


The name is the abbreviation of the Latin notion “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano”: a sound mind in a sound body. It was founded in 1998 by Dirk Kam. Dirk is born in 1953, married to Pauline, mother of their three daughters. He is educated at Erasmus University Rotterdam in economics. Since 1983 he is co-owner of companies active in international trade. Before engaging in business, Dirk worked two years as Junior Professional Officer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kinshasa, Zaire/Congo.

The creation of Mesics resulted after three years of close cooperation between Dirk and the late Father Jan Heine. Father Jan dedicated a great part of his life to fight malnutrition in developing countries by promoting small scale tilapia culture. Tilapia is a tropical fish, easy to cultivate, and full of essential nutritional elements, like proteins. Especially pregnant women and young children will benefit greatly by regularly consuming fish/tilapia, thus favouring the good development of their nerves system and brains.

Being over 80 years of age, Father Jan asked Dirk Kam to become his successor. Dirk Kam agreed in 1997, and as a result became president of the Tilapia International Foundation (TIF). Internal problems within the Board of TIF, made Dirk Kam decide to leave TIF, and start Mesics. Father Jan Heine agreed to these steps, and became Patron of Mesics.

Goal of Mesics is to engage in small scale projects which stimulate self-reliance in mental and physical health. Mesics desires to help individuals and small groups to achieve a balance in mind and body, economy and spirituality, in man and nature. It has chosen to focus its operation in five African countries: Ivory Coast, Togo, Bénin, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
These five countries are the five African countries which Dirk Kam has visited together with Father Jan Heine in 1997 and 1998. In agreement with Father Jan, the tilapia-activities in Latin America and Asia have not been followed up by Mesics. TIF and two German Tilapia Foundations try to give the necessary follow-up.

In the five countries, Mesics works exclusively with a local partner. In all countries, except Zimbabwe, these partners have been contacted by Dirk Kam during his travels with Father Jan. These partners are nationals of the respective country and are related to or working for the Catholic Church. Thus Mesics works closely together with the Catholic Church, especially in Ivory Coast, Bénin and Kenya, using its well organized and dedicated network.
Mesics mostly reacts to requirements and priorities formulated by its local partners. Mesics only allows itself to constantly repeat a condition which it considers to be very important: financial self-reliance. Mesics does not want to create dependence on funding by Mesics. On the contrary, again and again, Mesics asks its partners if a project could survive if the next day Mesics would not exist anymore.

Father Jan Heine died in 2000. As a token deep appreciation for his person and his work, Mesics continues to promote small scale tilapia culture. Experience learns, however, that these projects will only succeed, if the operator does not expect any income effects from it, for the simple reason that it does not create income, but (only) consumable fish, rather than economically marketable fish.

The yearly budget of Mesics is ca € 200.000,-. Till 2005, all investments of Mesics in the five African countries have been done in the form of donations, whereby a local contribution, in cash or in kind, has been considered as essential. End of 2005, after careful consultation with its partners, the board has decided to try to finance income generating projects as much as possible on the basis of loans.

One could be tempted to see a repeating tendency in the operation of the farms in Ivory Coast, Togo, Bénin and Zimbawe, whereby the partners continue to define additional investments, considered essential for the future of the farm. It is important to judge clearly if these required additional investments are really essential or if they are rather a justification for attracting more working capital. This procedure would not be in line with the criterion of financial self-reliance.

Mesics finances its investments in projects through donations of private persons, private and public charity funds, and the business community and service clubs.

Mesics does not pay salaries; as a rule all travel expenses are born by the travellers themselves. Thus the only overhead of Mesics consists of some printing costs and annual registration fees, not even 0,5 % of the total revenues. Mesics publishes yearly a financial report, audited by an accountant.
The board consists of Jop van der Wiel (treasurer), Steven de Clercq (secretary) and Dirk Kam (president). Dirk, Jop and Steven are long time friends since university.

Within Mesics functions the Tilapia Commission. Dirk Kam is president, Loes van der Toolen and Jan Bolhuis are members. Both Loes and Jan are long time friends of the late Father Heine.

Purpose of the Tilapia Commission is to care for the tilapia projects within Mesics. A special task is to advise the board of Mesics on the use of a fund of € 140.000,-, legacy of Alida de Vries, late member of the Tilapia Commission and also long time friend of Father Heine.

Daily administration is done by Dirk Kam from his office in Wassenaar, Holland. One day per week he is assisted by Ellen Kroeze, long time friend of his wife Pauline.

In 2003 Mesics organized a meeting of one week in Bénin with all Mesics partners of the five African countries, together with a delegation of Mesics. This possibility for exchange, evaluation and planning was considered useful and inspiring. It was decided to repeat the Conference every three years. Early 2006 Sister Gemma hosted the 2nd Conference in Meru, Kenya. The 3rd Conference took place in 2009 in Bénin.

Update 2009


Five nurses in training from France and three volunteers from The Netherlands respectively worked on the projects in Bénin and Meru.


The expenses were over 350.000 euro. The amount received was 320.000 euro. Both a record in the history of Mesics. The difference was covered from reserves.

Kenya € 303.990,-
Bénin € 30.871,-
Togo € 12.005,-
Congo € 4.348,-
Côte d’Ivoire € 3.153,-
Administrative expenses € 17,-


Organisation: No changes in composition or method of working of the board. The Tilapia Commision has been expanded in January 2010 with the new members Lysbeth Land from Een West (Drenthe) and Barrie Isherwood from Laren (Utrecht). The tasks of the commission have not changed: The promoting of the body of thought of Father Jan Heine, the promoting of tilapia, and helping raising funds for Mesics projects. The board is very happy with the new members of the commission and wishes them the best of luck in their work.

Wassenaar, January 2010