Local Goal Getter Marjon Heutmekers: nature as a mirror for sustainability

Local Goal Getter Marjon Heutmekers: nature as a mirror for sustainability

This week we are giving the floor to Marjon Heutmekers, the woman behind the local initiative “Olijfgroen.com”. Her personality can be summed up as decisive and creative, inspiring and optimistic. Nature is the primary source of inspiration for all her activities. In order to protect and make Mother Earth more sustainable, Marjon emphasizes the importance of the underlying motivation to lead people to behavioural change. Therefore, with each concept she tries to trigger us to take action for the benefit of the environment and the world in which we live.

Sustainability from nature

Marjon attended training in “Facility Management” and then broadened her horizons through the Erasmus program of “Corporate Social Responsibility”. During our conversation, she introduced us to the concept of “bio-mimicry”. That is the art and science that studies strategies from nature and uses them as inspiration to solve problems in our human society. She works as an independent consultant in the field of sustainability at local municipalities and companies.

Boumkracht

It is not the lack of money or technology that stands in the way of sustainable development. That’s all there. What we need are superpowers like “trust, guts, cooperation and love”. From the idea that trees have superpowers, the concept of “boumkracht” arose. Marjon sells posters and cards on her website in exchange for planting a tree. The content and layout of these posters are unique. Each poster contains a poetic message about those superpowers, illustrated in the Limburg language by the trees themselves. In this original way, our Local Goal Getter makes a clear statement that she is carrying out this initiative with and for the local community. Since trees benefit our health, make the communities more sustainable and improve life on land, she actively contributes to achieving three significant Sustainable Development Goals (#3, #11, #15).

Moreover, Marjon is aware that the results of her actions will be even more meaningful when she collaborates with local partners. For example, for this project, she works together with “Trees for All”, the Utrecht organization that plants trees for individuals and companies, in the Netherlands and abroad. (SDG#17). In the same context, Marjon will develop a poster by the next Christmas period as an alternative to the traditional cutting of numerous Christmas trees. She is currently working on the children’s version of “boumkracht” which she will offer online as well. Beautiful as the gift of birth. With this, a new human life will be directly linked to new life in nature.

Wool concept

Marjon tries to make people think about system errors. We often do things because that’s how they go, not because it is smart or logical. She wants to break this habit. For example, the usage of wool. Because wool has no financial value, hundreds of kilos are burned every year, while wool has so much potential to be used for various purposes. Given the large sheep population in South Limburg, she sees an opportunity to work more sustainably with wool. She wants to increase this awareness with the wool concept. In doing so, she will make a concrete contribution to promoting responsible consumption and production (SDG # 12).

Ceramics concept

The following concept will try to contribute to good health and well-being. (SDG#3). She sees the loss of interpersonal contact in her own environment. She links the all-dominating career hunt to the fact that money in itself has become an end instead of a means to a pleasant life. That “rat race” is being sharpened by the ubiquitous smartphones. She sees that a great deal of attention and time is being devoted to these electronic tools instead of valuable interactive human contact. She has lifted the veil by saying that with ceramics she will directly strive to reduce the overuse of smartphones and support a related social cause. Our interest has already been aroused. How different and calmer the world would look if people succeeded in gradually shifting their attention from a tool to a person.

Princess Carnival

Lastly, our Local Goal Getter and her husband have become the princely couple Carnival. Marjon attaches great importance to the values ​​of carnival and she cherishes the principle of the liberating effect of carnival clothing. At the same time, she took the opportunity to discuss the theme of sustainability during the carnival. For example, they are looking at making party clothing more sustainable (SDG#12).

Sustainability for everyone

The enormous diversity of her initiatives show that Marjon is all-around with her heart in the right place. She succeeds in an accessible and original way to make our disruptive world a little more liveable. Through her actions, she wants to demonstrate that sustainability should not be difficult, but that actively working on sustainability can even lead to a happier life as an individual.

Text: Anna Hermans

Photos: Séverine Louf

Editing and Design: Jennifer Timmermans, Linda Vecvagare & Lars Wingerath


Local Goal Getter Bo Croonen - in harmony with the neighbourhood

Bo Croonen

Local Goal Getter Bo Croonen - in harmony with the neighbourhood

Anyone who links the term “society” with the promotion of socializing will be pleasantly surprised when reading this article. This week we spoke with the Local Goal Getter Bo Croonen. She is the president of the student association Amphitryon of the Hotel Management School Maastricht. Together with the board and the members, she has raised the concept of society to a higher level. In her position, Bo seamlessly translates academic knowledge on hospitality into practice, thereby realizing many SDGs with the entire team.

An association for everyone

Bo tells that from the start Amphitryon prides itself for being a mixed association, for both men and women, unlike many other student associations. Everyone from the Hotel School is welcome in this society, without distinction. For example, they are currently working on the first LGBTQ+ event to confirm their commitment to gender equality (SDG#5). This event revolves around gender neutrality and they strive for a major impact on this much-discussed but still fragile matter.

Striving for sustainability

The association has a “sustainable committee” that strives to make the operational side of the association as sustainable as possible. For example, they have replaced the use of disposable cups with reusable cups. In addition, they’ve made a plan for creating a vegetable garden as a local source of ingredients for cooking. Another initiative called upon all students to reduce the central heating boiler from 80 to 60 degrees. In addition to the cost savings that it entails, this action has a beneficial effect on the environment as well. With a waste disposal campaign, they also help ensure a clean and pleasant neighbourhood. On top of that, they have scheduled a clothing swap action as soon as the circumstances allow this again. Based on a webinar, the participants will be introduced to many aspects that go wrong in the field of sustainability in the sector of the clothing industry. Participants will also have the opportunity to exchange their own items of clothing or donate them to charity. All these actions are clearly part of the strive for sustainable communities (SDG#11) and sustainable consumption and production (SDG#12). And the donation of clothing meets the target of reducing poverty (SDG#1).

In addition to this operational side of sustainability, Bo and her team, in collaboration with an architect, are elaborating plans for the construction of a new energy-neutral building in which the club will be housed in the foreseeable future. This initiative will be a major step towards affordable and sustainable energy (SDG#7).

Bo Croonen

Completion to quality education Hotelschool

The student association also has an education committee. If a student needs tutoring, this can be arranged through this department. Likewise, the help of this group can be invoked when looking for an internship or a workplace. In addition, master classes are given wherein former members share their know-how about the application process or drafting a curriculum vitae. Based on these initiatives, the high-quality education of the Hotelschool is further strengthened by the collaboration between first-year students, older students and the alumni (SDG#4).

The international committee stands up for the integration of international students. A Dutch student is linked to an international student via the ‘buddy system’. For example, thanks to the efforts of the Dutch students these foreign students can be introduced to fellow students or fun and useful spots in order to feel at home more easily and quickly. The aim is clearly to reduce inequality (SDG#10).

Commitment to charities

Amphitryon’s PR committee is mainly concerned with organizing events for charities. For example, they have organized a sponsor run to raise money for combatting and treating Lyme disease. In addition, a walk was organized for a weekend school in which more than 500 euros were collected. The cancer fund has also benefited from donations from the association. Amphitryon will soon organize another funding for the cancer fund through the 555 challenge: run 5 kilometres, donate 5 euros and nominate 5 people to do the same. The burnt down fisherman’s house in the neighbourhood received a nice contribution tool after a collection campaign. Furthermore, Amphitryon recently contributed to the Voedselbank. The students took roots in front of the Jumbo supermarkets in Maastricht and collected 75 crates of food and bread to donate to this charity. Through this initiative, Amphitryon has actively contributed to poverty alleviation (SDG#1). Every year they organize a day for the activity centre “de Kanjel” where they take in tow the disabled people of this organization. That way they can relieve the health care providers.

Bo Croonen

Through strict sanction regulations, Amphitryon strives to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, in and around the society. Bo recognizes the need to ensure that everything proceeds as harmoniously as possible with the neighbourhood, whereby respect for the needs of each party are central. At the end of a party, for example, she ensures that students take up posts at various places in the residential area to give the partygoers a rest if necessary. She also regularly engages into direct talks with the neighbourhood to inquire about the experiences and concerns of the local residents. Based on an open dialogue, there is an active strive for a peaceful community (SDG#16)

Partnerships

As a student association, Bo also stresses the importance of building partnerships to achieve goals (SDG#17). In addition to the partnership with the neighbours and sponsors, the collaboration with the Hotelschool and the campus is vital too. She states that since the school, campus and Amphitryon are all located together, it feels a bit like living on an island, apart from the city. This makes it very important to tackle every issue inside and outside as fast as possible, to promote harmony. For example, the sports committee has forged many partnerships with all kinds of Maastricht sports organizations, such as the football and hockey club, the tennis club and the golf course. The chairman thus emphasizes the importance of the physical and social well-being of the students, which has become even more acute in these times of corona (SDG#3). The partnership with the neighbourhood is, for example, shown by their annually recurring contribution to the organization of the Christmas market.

Bo Croonen SDGs

Bigger picture

Based on the above, Bo proves how her generation is ready to make the world a better place through numerous initiatives that go far beyond the original field of action of student associations. Through her commitment, she tries to convince her environment and the wider world to always keep the ‘bigger picture’ in mind. In doing so, she wants to make everyone more aware of looking beyond their own personal interests. She emphasizes that serving the interests of your fellow human beings ultimately makes you a happier person.

Iact4Maastricht Bo Croonen

Text: Jennifer Timmermans & Anna Hermans

Photos: Séverine Louf

Editing and Design: Linda Vecvagare & Lars Wingerath


Local Goal Getter Chris Meys committed to Limmel

Local Goal Getter Chris Meys from neighborhood network Limmel

This week’s Local Goal Getter is Chris Meys. For the past five and a half years, Chris has held the position of chairman of the Limmel neighborhood network as a volunteer. Together with the neighborhood, Chris fights to make Limmel a sustainable exemplary quarter for the Netherlands.

Limmel is located northeast of Maastricht, barely eight minutes by bike from the station and half an hour’s walk from the market. In the interview with Anouk Willems we already saw a piece of sustainable innovation in the neighborhood – the IKC De Geluksvogel. In addition, a fully energy-neutral shopping center and forty-two newly-built homes are currently under construction. And the renovated roofs of the rental homes on the Balijeweg were the first homes in South Limburg with complete solar panel roofs. 

The Hotel Management School is also located in Limmel, which recently delivered an energy-neutral new campus. Behind the Hotelschool there is a new, beautiful park which is publicly accessible. Chateau Bethlehem and Jerusalem are two beautiful historic sites with a unique appearance in this Maastricht residential area. In addition, there are several tourist routes through Limmel, such as the Via Belgica that goes from Boulogne sur Mer via Maastricht through Meerssen and Valkenburg to Cologne.

Wasteland

However, the charm of Limmel is overshadowed by a vacant old industrial area right next to the Maas. The factories have been demolished, except for the chimney of the old zinc-white factory that has been preserved as a monument. Due to past industrial activity, the soil has been polluted and therefore this area of urban land lays empty except for a few older houses along the Borgharenweg. The area is surrounded by fences with two large banners: The first is from Naga Solar, a company that builds solar parks worldwide – the owner of the area. The second banner is from the Limmel neighborhood network with their message: “Of course líving in Limmel at the Maas!”

Neighborhood network

Chris Meys’ story is testimony to the fact that he has a vital role in the future of this area. On behalf of the neighborhood network, Chris and his fellow board members are committed to transforming the site into a beautiful, sustainable and diverse residential area where the citizen is central. He explains that an expansion of Limmel is certainly necessary: only twenty-five percent of the neighborhood consists of owner-occupied homes, one in three of which are student houses. Therefore, there is a great shortage of senior and starter homes as well as owner-occupied apartments. When the district is expanded, it will mean more residents and thus more children for the school and customers for the future shops. In this way, the level of facilities can be maintained. Because of Chris’s job at the municipality of Roermond as coordinator of historic preservation and archeology, he has access to expertise that he can put to good use in this plan.

Future plan for and by the neighborhood 

One of Chris’s success factors is that he attaches great importance to the participation of all parties involved in the realization of his ideas. (SDG # 17) The neighborhood network is made up of various cooperation partners, ranging from the school management of De Geluksvogel to the management of the hotel school and the members of the student association Amphitryon, from the local small entrepreneurs to the owners of the site and the entire citizen population. All parties were invited to brainstorm together about the basic needs of the new neighborhood plan. This brainstorming session showed that there was unanimous agreement that the development of this wasteland could really make a difference for the entire neighborhood.

Sustainable goals

Chris explains that numerous Sustainable Development Goals have been integrated in the drawing up of the plan. For example, it was important that the busy road Willem Alexanderweg, where every 24 hours 15,000 vehicles are passing including 750 trucks, would be diverted. This will promote clean air and reduce noise pollution. A nice extra will be a pleasant foot and bicycle connection from Limmel to the city centre. All of this will benefit general health and well-being (SDG#3). Because of the diversion, there will also be a direct connection to the Maas. In turn, an open view on this beautiful river will increase the attractiveness of the neighbourhood. This would attract a more diverse population group and thereby reduce inequalities (SDG#10). For example, young families with children who can firstly increase and secondly diversify the school population of the local school would be attracted to the area. (SDG#4). Finally, Chris points out that the plan is to equip the roofs of the houses with solar panels, as shown on the banner, in order to achieve the goal of affordable and sustainable energy. (SDG#7).

Elaboration of the future plan

All these desiderata and objectives of the neighbourhood network were elaborated in a plan that the neighbourhood network submitted to the municipality of Maastricht. After intensive consultation, the latter has taken the step to hire an external urban planner to further develop this plan. The area will be roughly divided into 3 parts, Chris explains. In the first part near the Noorderbrug, a green parking building is planned, which also functions as a sound barrier. A residential area with, among other things, houses with gardens will be the central zone and also immediately meets the growing demand for housing. In the third part, space is provided for houses near the monumental chimney on the Maas and some economic activity in the lightest form. 

Wish

This entire initiative of the redevelopment of Limmel is a wonderful example of how citizens can take matters into their own hands. With the support of knowledgeable people and the driving force of volunteers such as Chris, you realise a nice connection between citizens, companies and the city in a sustainable context. The great wish of our Local Goal Getter is that the new beautiful residential area at this beautiful location will be ready in five years. That would be an amazing result of his many years of commitment.

Chris Meys is happy to recommend Bo Croonen as our next Local Goal Getter. Bo is chairman of the student association of the Hotelschool called Amphitryon, the oldest and largest student association in Maastricht. Amphitryon is committed to social causes.

Iact4Maastricht_Chris Meys

Text: Jennifer Timmermans & Anna Hermans

Photos: Séverine Louf

Editing and Design: Linda Vecvagare & Lars Wingerath


Local Goal Getter Anouk Willems from IKC de Geluksvogel

Willems

Local Goal Getter Anouk Willems from IKC de Geluksvogel

This week we’re putting a spotlight on the Local Goal Getter Anouk Willems from IKC de Geluksvogel. In 2009, Anouk became a teacher at primary school het Spoor, with a location in Nazareth and in Limmel. From being a teacher, she moved on to management and eventually became the director. Anouk’s main motivation are the children: In what way can we give them good education?

In January 2017, the locations of het Spoor merged into a newly built eco-school, IKC de Geluksvogel. The building makes it clear that education in de Geluksvogel is not limited by walls. There is a nature schoolyard where children can play. When you walk into the building, the light catches your eye. The studios have window facades that lets you bathe in light. The studios are not furnished like traditional classrooms, but have flexible furniture. For example, the tables are arranged in semicircles. In the middle of the ground floor you will find a square with all kinds of toys, meant for education. There is also the possibility to teach on the green roof.

Innovative concept

“De Geluksvogel is of course the best school in Maastricht and surroundings! It is an integral child center, so a primary school and childcare, but also works with various partners such as Maastricht Sport, speech therapy, occupational therapists and a social worker. De Geluksvogel leads the way with our innovative concept. Instead of being tied to a classroom, the groups change from ateliers and school subject specialists.” So, in each atelier a different school subject is taught at the level of the classes. Class 1 and 2  use the central square, and class 3 and 4 cross together. For example, one group goes to the mathematics atelier and the other to geography. At the 2nd floor, there is an interaction between class 5 up to and including 8.

In addition to the main subjects, there are creative subjects as well, such as music and movement. De Geluksvogel uses the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), an English curriculum that has been adjusted to the Dutch education system. In that way, the school works with themes in which almost all subjects plus the eco-school part are involved (SDG#4). This is done through collaborations with, for example, CNME.

Geluksvogel kind centrum

Beautiful but challenging

However, with this way of teaching comes a challenge. “The children are from Nazareth and Limmel. These are neighbourhoods with a low socioeconomic status, which means that children receive less support and stimulation from home. We try to fill this gap with our education, that is why we offer a wide range of subjects. We want to provide enough creative subjects, but the children have a lot of trouble with the main subjects. That makes it difficult.”

Collaboration for the children

Because the children of de Geluksvogel come from neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status, the team is trying to work on SDG#10, reducing inequalities, and SDG#1, no poverty. One way on how they do this is through collaboration with directors of Mosa Lira schools with similar populations. Periodic meetings are held to discuss subsidy options. “It is not a certainty that every child comes to school with a lunch box or has a winter coat,” said Anouk. In addition, de Geluksvogel works with a social worker that looks beyond educational problems. “Maybe the problem has something to do with the mother. In that case, we look for a way to help the mother, in order to help the child in education. “

This proves that de Geluksvogel pays a lot of attention to the health and well-being of the children (SDG#3). “And of course also to the well-being of my staff! Especially during Corona it is important to keep everyone going.”

 

Together with the neighbourhood 

Besides this, de Geluksvogel works closely with the neighbourhood (SDG#17). One of their network partners is Radar. They have a day activity centre where the children go regularly, or the children from Radar come to visit de Geluksvogel. “In this way, the children of de Geluksvogel learn that physically or mentally disabled people are not strange.” In the context of the eco-school that encourages children to think and act sustainably, there was also a collaboration with the Hotelschool on the subject of hygiene. Another theme was waste separation, which is reflected in the beautifully painted waste bins (SDG#13).

SDGs Focus

Saying goodbye 

This school year, Anouk will transfer to child center Wolder and will hand over de Geluksvogel to her successor. “My goal is to transfer my ‘child’ de Geluksvogel in good hands. What I would like to pass on to my successor is one of our core values: preserve the courage. Okay is not good enough, go further! I want to be convinced that my successor will embrace and develop de Geluksvogel. “

What will be Anouk’s next challenge at child center Wolder? “The results are good. But I want to get more out of the children. I want to look for their other talents!”

Our next Local Goal Getter will be Chris Meijs. He is the chairman of the Limmel neighbourhood council, as a volunteer. Anouk Willems suggested him because together with the neighbourhood council, he made a whole environmental vision with the Geluksvogel as a starting point for sustainability.

Willems

Local Goal Getter: Anouk Viegen from CNME

Local Goal Getter: Anouk Viegen from CNME

As part of our Local Goal Getters campaign, SDG House Maastricht highlights local heroes that contribute to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The first Local Goal Getter who we have invited to share her passion with us is Anouk Viegen. Anouk is the director at the Center for Nature and Environmental Education (CNME) in Maastricht since a year and a half and fulfills this position with pleasure.

How did you start doing what you do? 

I started to work at the CNME because of my own midlife crisis. I had worked for nineteen years at the local Rabobank. I started thinking about my future career, about what I wanted to do. Sustainability and diversity are themes that drove this. Then, there was a vacancy at CNME for a director with a green heart and a business approach. I thought, this is my chance! 

What drives you?

What drives me is that I believe in a better collaboration between business people, the government and green organisations. We should bring these three parties together in order to move towards a sustainable world. 

Besides this, I had never thought about the possibility to make nature your job. Nature was always something private. As a child, I would go on walks with my granddad, he would point out flowers with his cane and I would have to name them. Experiences like that stay with you. And to be able now to have a position where I can contribute to nature and education is a real gift. 

Please tell us more about CNME! 

CNME is divided into three sectors. 

The first one is education. It consists from the vegetable garden at schools to the lessons about air pollution, plastic waste, energy, but also about the Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of this is to involve children in their own world and to give them a perspective on what they can do. Of course, the education is also for citizens. On a municipal basis, we provide information to the public, for example through our nature gardens where educational activities take place. Or through our coaches who provide information to citizens at home about an energy-efficient home. 

The second sector, participation, means that together with the citizens, we are making the city more green. For example, if people feel the need for a small garden or a nature play area in the park, the consultant of CNME will, together with the citizens, examine what’s possible. 

The last thing we do is ecological management. The municipality manages the green places, so basically they weed all parks. But places where you find trees, plants and animals are managed by CNME. For example, the mowing process requires a different approach. An example of our ecological management is the Hoge Fronten. The wall lizard lives there, which means we make sure that access to the area is restricted in certain seasons.

What SDGs are you working towards? How are you doing that?

We are working on SDG#4 Quality Education. That is to say, we are making education more sustainable. We are working to make schools more sustainable, from board and management to the building, and from the curriculum to teachers. 

We are also working on SDG#7 Affordable and Clean Energy. We do this through our energy coaches who provide information and advice.

We are making the city more green, mainly through social cohesion. For example, we do this with our nature gardens where twenty-five to thirty volunteers help out. This contributes to a Sustainable City and Community, SDG#11. 

The SDG#12 Responsible Consumption and Production is also applicable to CNME because we co-designed Jong Leren Eten. With this project, children will plant greenery and through this, will be made aware of where food comes from – if it is produced in a fair way, for example. 

We also participate in SDG#13, Climate Action. But I must add that we are not activists. For example we do not participate in a climate march on behalf of CNME. We try to not point fingers, but rather to give tips when you want to eat differently. We help you on your way, but we don’t judge. CNME tries to connect people with nature, in a gentle way.

SDG

What are the biggest challenges you encounter?

I think the biggest challenge is that our entire system is actually incorrect. The whole economic system is based on more, more, more. Everything must yield money or, if you have money, it needs to be multiplied. The whole system should be focused on the well-being of humans. But that is such a big change, it is the biggest challenge for me. 

For #PickItUp from CNME, we have hundreds of people who clean up waste in and around Maastricht. I am very proud and very happy with it. Nevertheless, it is a drop in the ocean if we continue to consume, continue to produce plastic. I think it is a genius proposal to produce products with a lifetime warranty. If we oblige all producers to make such products, they will automatically produce products that are less likely to malfunction. At the moment, we have a system in which every producer makes his product in such a way that it breaks after five years so that we have to buy a new product. That’s what I mean by system change. There should be more ideas like that! 

How do you deal with these challenges from CNME? 

CNME is a small player in this. We try to give people tips, so we would clean up with them and then say: “hey, do you realise that…”. We mainly contribute by telling the story. 

What is something everyone could do in their daily routine to inspire change?

Actually something very simple: go hiking, but with respect for nature. I really like what is happening now during Covid-19, the reevaluation of the green environment. I think if you start to see how beautiful that can be, you will do other stuff too. You will no longer throw away plastic in nature. So, go for a walk and see the beauty around you!

If you were granted one wish, what would it be?

My wish is that we transfer everything with love and respect to future generations. People are busy with the here and now and very much with themselves. I would like everyone to be concerned about what we are going to give to future generations. When everyone feels like that just a little bit, it will be fine.

In the context of International Women’s Day: what is your view on the female contribution to sustainability?

My answer is diversity. I don’t necessarily want to argue about men or women, but I believe in the power of diversity. You have to have different talents so that you can achieve things together. I do think that female leadership gives an impulse in a world dominated by men. Not necessarily because they are women, but because they are different people. 

Look at nature, which thrives because of biodiversity, because everyone is different and everyone has their part in the whole. In that sense it would be great if we started to appreciate each other’s qualities, whether you are male or female, or of whatever origin.

Which local hero do you find inspiring and why?

My hero is Anouk Willems. She is director of the IKC de Geluksvogel, which is an eco-school. Anouk is truly an example of being a director that adopts a philosophy and implements it completely.


SDG House Network launches a new national SDG Traineeship

SDG House Network launches a new national SDG Traineeship

SDG House Network and TheRockGroup (TRG) are jointly starting a new national SDG Traineeship program to introduce 500 young people to sustainable and social entrepreneurship. The young people will be trained to become true SDG professionals. The program offers young people a unique opportunity to develop themselves and improve their career prospects in a growing sector of companies committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The traineeship will take place with more than a hundred clients: companies, start-ups and municipalities.

The first tranche of this SDG Traineeship starts on March 1, 2021, the deadline for the first tranche is at the end of January 2021. The subsequent tranche of the SDG Traineeship will start in September 2021.

COVID-19, the climate protests, anti-racism protests and other public campaigns show that young people are ready to make an impact; the SDG Traineeship introduces the power of change of this new generation to companies, organizations and governments.

Interested? Click here for more information.


Happy International Human Rights Day

🎉 Happy #InternationalHumanRightsDay!

On December 10th of 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot hope to drive sustainable development.

Celebrate this evening by joining Shelter City - For Human Rights Defenders events 👇

📆 19:30 join Shelter City Nijmegen’s online café and learn and talk about Human and LGBTIQ rights with Shelter city guest Nataliia, a journalist and defender of LGBTIQ rights in Russia.

📝 Register here

📆 19:30 Peace Brigades International – The Netherlands & Shelter City Utrecht are hosting a documentary night that will showcase the inspiring story of Victor Hugo Moreno Mina, a Colombian social leader of Afro-Colombian communities in the North of Cauca. Since a young age he is defending black people’s ethnic and territorial rights.

📺 Join here: Facebook Event

💡 Food for thought: Human Rights and the SDGs are “two sides of the same coin” (UNDP, 2019) – check out “The Human Rights Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals” developed by the Danish Institute of Human Rights, which illustrates various linkages between HR and the SDGs.

📚 Want to learn more? Read more Here or Here


Josselin - Congolese Human Rights Defender @ Studium Generale

👏 We are very happy to have received some powerful and meaningful insights from Josselin, human rights defender from the DRC and guest of our Shelter City Maastricht the programme, during his Studium Generale, Maastricht University lecture.

At the end of November, the war criminal Ntabo Taberi Alias ​​Sheka was sentenced to life imprisonment, partly with help of Josselin. The respective public trial had started in Goma, province of North Kivu, DRC back in November 2018. Ultimately, Sheka was declared guilty in regards to various charges including several war atrocities such as rape, child recruitment, murder, sexual slavery and more. Although the sentence will not undo his acts of cruelty, it does nourish hope for a more just and safe future. As Josselin put it:

“This trial gives a strong signal to all the other warlords who continue to violate massively human rights in eastern DRC that one day they will answer for their despicable acts. It also gives us the courage to move forward in the fight against ordinary and international crimes by supporting the victims”.

Congratulations on this victory to Josselin and his organisation Blessed Aid!


SDG House network launch

We’re proud to be part of the SDG House Network, a collaboration between 10 Dutch “SDG houses” 🏠!
🌏 By joining the network, we will connect citizens, social organizations, government institutions and businesses and empower local change-makers working towards achieving the #SustainableDevelopmentGoals.


CNME wins GDO Innovation Prize 2020 with SDG-project

Using visual art to make children known and involved with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. With this project, CNME has managed to connect the students of ten primary schools, culture and a far from easy subject: the world goals, jury. “Thinking about how to tell your story in images, translating with an image what you think (with a group) means the world goal. An eye-opener for many adults in this way, chapeau! ”

The 250 students in grade 8 who took the lesson "17 goals" (on the SDGs) last year (in grade 7) received a follow-up lesson this year. This time it was about mapping one's own actions in relation to the SDGs and CNME worked together with organizers and photographers of the Maastricht Photo Festival.

Exhibition for residents
The photos taken by the students were exhibited corona proof on the Tapijn site of the University in Maastricht. In this way, the SDGs also became more widely known among the residents of Maastricht. The banners with the photos will be used at various occasions and meetings to make education in Maastricht and the region more sustainable.

Lasting impact
“The innovation and inspiration lies in the collaboration with new parties”, says CNME director Anouk Viegen, who happily accepted the prize on behalf of project leader John Steijns. Nathalie Ummels of Mondiaal Maastricht was also happy with the prize and the project. “The photos and reactions were moving. This experience has a lasting impact on the children. ”

Read more