We're spreading stories & learning

For three months, we lived with 16 of the 16,000 Dutch women who leave abusive relationships each year. We captured their stories and experiences with services, and together, co-developed 20 ideas. Ideas for new kinds of housing, neighborhood connections, and peer-to-peer supports. We're now using the stories & the ideas as teaching materials. To help stretch organizations' thinking and practice. Want to learn with us?

Slide

Back in November 2013, we started by questioning the question.

Our initial research question was: How do we enable women to stand on their own two feet. But is standing on your own two feet a sufficient goal? We wondered whether standing-up is the same as moving forwards. Was it about independence or something more like interdependence? We convened our Starter Project Partners - KennislandFederatie Opvang, and Moviera - and reframed the challenge.

Slide

We spent lots of time with women and professionals. To feel their every day realities.

We brought around lunches and dinners. Watched daytime TV. Went grocery shopping. Stood in line at the Foodbank. Sung at church. All to try and understand the gaps between what women & professionals say, want, and do. 

Slide

We opened-up conversations about what's a good outcome, for whom?

Is it good enough that 19-year old Stefanie spends 4 hours a week re-living her past abuse. With her social worker, her psychologist, her creative therapist, and her domestic violence support group. But has no friends. “It’s so irritating to always talk about the past. I want to live the future.”

Slide

We've come up with 20 ideas to close the gaps.

These are concrete ideas for utilizing women’s natural resources: their time, their skills, and their know-how. Ideas to: re-orient existing shelter services and reshape social worker roles; revise housing allocation policies and connect neighbours; spark new informal supports within and between families; and change the data & commissioning processes that keep the system stuck. Now it's time to build organizations' capacity to generate & test ideas. 

ArticleDownload the Apeldoorn project report

by Sarah, June 27, 2014

We've created a portfolio with the stories and ideas that emerged from spending time with 16 women in a domestic violence shelter. Read some of our insights, and get in touch to explore how to use this material as part of professional development and service redesign. Read on

  • tags:
  • report
  • domestic violence
  • The Netherlands
  • methodology

ArticleWatch the Apeldoorn project film!

by Jonas, April 16, 2014

Meet some of the women from our Apeldoorn Starter project in this short video (Nederlands ondertiteld). Read on

  • tags:
  • apeldoorn
  • Netherlands
  • domestic violence

ArticleDisconnects & ideas pinned-up on our tent inside Apeldoorn city hall

by Jonas, March 14, 2014

What can you do with a second-hand tent, 2 persian rugs, a blender, a house plant, a projector, and 21 ideas for change? Read on

ArticleApeldoorn Brief

by Sarah , September 18, 2013

Read more about where this Starter Project with the Federatie Opvang and Kennisland comes from. What was the initial question? What has been our process? Read on

  • tags:
  • women
  • apeldoorn
  • vrouwen opvang
  • domestic violence

ArticleWho needs to be changed?

by Sarah , February 21, 2014

"Here, I'm just a person that needs to be changed." Stefanie is one of 19 women we've had the privilege of meeting in Apeldoorn. Monday, we read all of their stories. Identified the disconnects. And generated ideas. See more of our analysis process. Read on

  • tags:
  • outcomes
  • methodology
  • domestic violence
  • analysis

StorySalima's Unsatisfied Life

by Sarah , February 20, 2014

"I thought I was going to Europe to lead a satisfied life." Instead, Salima ended up at a domestic violence shelter. In Apeldoorn, a city she'd never heard of. Whilst shelters are designed to protect women from risk, how might they also help women to re-engage in community and build bridging relationships? Read on

  • tags:
  • domestic violence
  • apeldoorn
  • Netherlands

ArticleFeminist redesign?

by Joanne Cave , February 20, 2014

What does it mean to make policy that is woman and family-centred and trauma-informed? What about relations of power and control, particularly for women in precarious circumstances? Read on

  • tags:
  • methodology
  • feminism

ArticleThat's Interesting! Why? Reflections from a Social Worker

by Carita Oosterbroek , March 8, 2014

Carita is the social worker on our Apeldoorn Starter Project team! Here she shares her reflections. In Dutch. What was it like to eat McDonald's late at night? To share something about her own family with women? To re-think the role of social workers? Read on

  • tags:
  • domestic violence
  • team
  • apeldoorn
  • social work

ArticleSparking debates

by Yani, February 19, 2014

We tested hunch #7 using an Analysis Wall. Did we manage to spark some debates? Read on

  • tags:
  • apeldoorn
  • women
  • domestic violence
  • hunches
  • analysis

ArticleBeing Uncomfortable

by Sarah, December 23, 2013

We shared what was rubbing uncomfortably with our past experiences, and our current values. What’s absolutely good or bad, right or wrong? Tension is totally normal for our kind of work. What is hard is naming the tension in a straight-up way. Read on

  • tags:
  • women
  • apeldoorn
  • vrouwen opvang

ArticleGetting Back Up

by Sarah, December 9, 2013

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”Nelson Mandela’s words were never just words. They were living truths. What better way to celebrate his life than to keep getting back up, and trying again? Read on

  • tags:
  • apeldoorn
  • metrics
  • domestic violence
  • ethnography
  • recruitment

ArticleStarter #1, Revision #18

by Sarah, November 10, 2013

In our first starter project in the Netherlands, we ask ourselves: Is a job a good outcome? When you’re starting over after an abusive relationship? Or is it self-sufficiency and independence? Or something more like interdependence? Read on

  • tags:
  • women
  • apeldoorn
  • vrouwen opvang
 

Q & A Got questions?

Where is the Apeldoorn project now?

We're now spreading the stories and the ideas that came from our fieldwork. We believe this is powerful material that can help organizations rethink how they work with women. Our hope is that by shifting the thinking of organizations, we can start to build a case for prototyping. 

What ideas came from the work?

Here's a taster of 4 of 20 of the ideas published in our report.

Safe Shelters - a new air b&b inspired platform to connect women to families across Holland willing to 'host' them for anywhere from a weekend to the medium-term. 

Hire Your Social Worker - a new way for women to control who helps them.

Time Tasters - short experiences with big & small businesses to build women's natural networks.

Story Collectors - a new way for municipals to collet outcome data and hire women.

Who was on the project team?

Sarah Schulman, Muryani Kasdani, Thijs van Exel (Kennisland), and Carita Oosterbroek (Moviera) with movie-making help from Jonas Piet.

How did the Apeldoorn project come about?

The Federatie Opvang (Holland's Federation of Shelters) initially got in touch with Kennisland. They wanted to commission some research on women & employment. We introduced them to ethnographic field work and to idea generation - as Social Research & Development, arguing that without the development part, the research risked just sitting on the shelf. InWithForward also invested some of our own resources to collect the in-depth stories of women. 

How can I find out more?

We'd love to chat more about the project, and how to take it forward.

You can get in touch with Sarah, or with Jonas. Jonas handily speaks Dutch.