One in four Dutch households wrestles with excessive debt. And one in eight children grow up in poverty, with all of its attendant consequences. “Poverty affects everything”, says Jaqueline Beekman. “People lose sleep over it, have the feeling of being in a hopeless situation, and suffer from a lack of self-confidence. Eventually, it causes them to drop out of society altogether. And it can happen to anyone, even seemingly normal and successful families.”
“Dialogue is essential; if we don’t think about comprehensive solutions to debt together, then we’ll just be playing whack-a-mole”
Jacqueline Beekman is one of the founders and driving forces behind Moedige Dialoog, the project through which Sociaal Werk Nederland, Rabobank and Rabo Foundation take on the problems of poverty and debt. Moedige Dialoog does so via public-private partnerships in which social organizations, businesses, and governments look for solutions together. Beekman: “Dialogue is essential; if we don’t think about comprehensive solutions to debt together, then we’ll just be playing whack-a-mole. Finding structural solutions requires a different mindset. The business community looks at dilemmas differently than the government or social work organizations, for example. That’s why I believe in ‘total society impact’: companies that bring about social changes. Together we can find a way and help people get up and get moving, so that they can find work and gain self-confidence.”
Every public-private network that participates in Moedige Dialoog draws up an ambition agenda. That could be to support the working poor, or encouraging financial self-reliance among young people. The network then forms work groups to solve the problem and to enter into a dialogue with stakeholders. “Precisely that combination of brainstorming and action is important in order to give a boost”, explains Beekman. “For example, in Salland we used a company helpdesk to identify people who would normally stay under the radar. And at a national soccer club, people noticed that the membership dues were being paid later and later. Together with an ICT partner, the network developed an app that reminds people to pay their dues in a positive manner. Thanks to the power of the networks, we can make people aware of problems when they’re still in the early stages. And when the problems do occur, we can provide help faster.”
Rabobank isn’t just a co-founder of Moedige Dialoog; local Rabobank affiliates are also active participants in the public-private networks. Beekman: “It’s great how these banks have decided to participate, based on their cooperative philosophy. And it’s great to see how they help to solve the problem of poverty and debt in their regions.”
How Rabo Foundation adds value
Moedige Dialoog receives financing from Rabo Foundation. Beekman: “Rabo Foundation recognizes the importance of financial self-reliance for the Netherlands’ economic vitality. With their support, we were able to set up 10 new public-private networks. Now there are 25 active networks in total. That’s a big step towards achieving our ambition of eventually creating 90 local networks. With the money from Rabo Foundation, we can support the networks in the start-up phase. After that, they’ll be able to support themselves financially.”
Debt and financial worries - they are a growing social problem. We therefore join forces with civil society organizations such as Moedige Dialoog that tackle the debt problem in the Netherlands. Learn more about how we work together to find solutions so that more people can take the first step towards a financially healthier life.