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Non-violent through the next pandemic

    Tuesday 3 May 2022
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Challenge at the International Week of Health Care & Social Work

During the International Week of Health Care & Social Work, students and lecturers from all over the world came to visit us at Windesheim. All kinds of different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives came together to learn from each other and to move forward together. On Thursday 28 April, 60 students of different nationalities tackled the question "What can we do for vulnerable families during a pandemic?". The Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs)* were an important starting point: how do we treat each other and how do we ensure that everyone has a good life? In small groups, students set to work on this issue. The best solution will be implemented this autumn!

Different views

The students were divided into 8 groups with a mix of all nationalities. This gave striking results and insights! Mieke Veerman, associated with the Living Lab and supervisor of the assignment, says: "We see that students look at a pandemic in different ways. The COVID pandemic in the Netherlands brought students very different experiences than what for example Italian students faced. These different views of students made for an interesting mix!" The problems students found solutions for ranged from domestic violence that slipped under the radar during the pandemic to companies that took advantage of the corona situation.

Design Thinking

The students all worked according to the design-thinking method, a way of thinking that is often used in the Living Lab. In this process, the focus is on working towards the solution and elaborating this in concrete terms. "We teach students that you have to break a problem down into smaller pieces," says Mieke, "they can't solve a pandemic in one go. That's why we start by identifying the problem they want to study." Most students did this with a mind map or a flower map. "It’s important during this phase to call out everything that comes to mind. This may include both problems and solutions: nothing is wrong."

Winning solution

The variety of solutions made it difficult to choose a winner. Yet the jury succeeded: the winning idea is an app that makes it easier to report domestic violence and ask for help. With one push of a button, someone in distress can ask for help and notify the emergency services. In addition, the app contains information about the nearest emergency services that you can turn to. Because during the corona crisis, research showed that victims of domestic violence were having a hard time: a 25 to 111 per cent increase. In short: a valuable app with a great idea!

* Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs): 17 goals that should make the world a better place by 2030. Examples are improved working conditions and CO2 emission reduction.

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