Action researchers solve concrete problems while simultaneously learning how the system that produces said problems works, and how it can be improved. This is precisely why it is a crucial part of our work. From finding a place to live to finding internships; individual solutions always lead to widely applicable knowledge.
Our help desk is the foundation of most of what we do. The idea is simple: newcomers can ask questions through various online channels, which are then answered by experts and experienced Dutch people. This way, we not only help those who are looking for answers, but we also gather information on their integration experience. With our community managers’ help, we can also stimulate specific regional use so that we can collect local knowledge. The Welcome App is set to become our most prominent access point to the help desk this coming year.
The data we collect is the foundation of our knowledge and understanding. Our tools gather large amounts of data quickly and safely, allowing sophisticated analyses. With sources as diverse as face-to-face questions from newcomers to data from the Welcome App, we can address issues from language education in a specific region, to newcomers’ access to healthcare throughout the entire Netherlands.
There are, of course, questions so complex for which no one really has ‘the’ answer. Everyone involved, however, does have separate pieces of knowledge, which together may hold the key to systematic change. This is why we love building learning communities: different groups of people learn together with the aim to change organisations, systems and agreements. From digital platforms to smart meetings, we use a range of resources to foster fruitful exchanges.
Our Maker Sessions are hands-on workshops, where we kill two birds with one stone: participants learn from each other and, using their own experience, design answers to urgent questions. Our Maker Sessions serve as a meeting point for newcomers’ and professionals’ perspectives so that our conceived initiatives work well for everyone. They are also effective in stimulating cooperation at the local and regional levels and serve to quickly transform good intentions into concrete actions.
Because we believe integration is society’s responsibility, we build inclusive communities of new and experienced Dutch people, which is a discipline in its own right! Our community managers bring people together from all over the country through a combination of networks, wise usage of offline and online means of communication, and fun practical events. Everything so that they can support each other and, together with us, improve the situation of newcomers.
We support both public sector organisations and companies with the management of their strategy development. Based on our knowledge about integration and inclusion, we believe that everyone should take ownership when it comes to creating change. By involving employees, customers, newcomers and partners, we ensure everyone’s perspective is taken into account.
We aim to operationalise the knowledge we gather about integration in the Netherlands as quickly as possible, which is why we organise a wide range of workshops. Our Academy offers courses on a wide range of topics, such as corporate social responsibility and interview skills for newcomers. Likewise, we also offer courses on communication skills for municipal employees involved in the making of the Civic Integration and Participation Plan.
How can a super diverse community think fairly about–and work through–complex social issues? One of the answers to this question is through the Forum Theater, a theatre technique developed in Brazil. Together with Luc Opdebeeck, who brought the technique to the Netherlands 25 years ago, we find ourselves using it more and more during our events as a means to learn from each other.