A better world starts in your own village
Pi Peters - Risk specialist Insurances Large corporates
"When I talk to young people about their contribution to village life, they want change but don't always know how. You talk a lot but don't do anything, I'm told. Young people are very proud of their village, although some of them leave and go to live and work elsewhere, but there are still those who stay in the village. I want to be there for them. Together with these young people, I want to see how we can improve our village Maasbree and give it more legitimacy to exist.
We are talking to Pi Peters, Risk Specialist Insurance Large Business. Not exactly the job you think of when you hear him talk full of passion about “his Maasbree”, the village where he was born and still lives and works at Rabobank. “During my workdays I talk to a lot of local entrepreneurs. I also meet them at the village meeting or at the weekends at the local football club, where I’m a youth trainer.”
It is these entrepreneurs who are actively involved in the future of Maasbree, a village with 6500 inhabitants near Venlo. In collaboration with Bureau Negen, the Dorpslab started in 2019, an initiative to contribute as a cooperative bank to social life and welfare in the village’s own working area. The strength of Dorpslab lies in the fact that everyone in the village feels involved. Pi: ” Clubs, local associations, the elderly and young people are the important conversationpartners for Dorpslab. Together we want to make sure that villages and village centres are bustling with activity again and those people feel heard again”.
Together with Dorpslab, Rabobank searches for the ambitions and dreams of the village. Subsequently, these ambitions are translated into concrete plans and innovative ideas that contribute to the living environment of the inhabitants.
Pi was easily involved with the initiatives. “I’ve been the bank’s ambassador for years, I often attend events and people come to me when they have questions about Rabobank. So it was a small step to work on the Dorpslab in addition to my work”.
Dorpslab starts as a local initiative in three Limburg municipalities, Maasbree, Wessem and Baexem. Rabobank Peel, Maas and Leudal support the Dorpslab and local bank employees play an important role. Pi: “I think it’s great that a bank that operates nationwide, even worldwide, still has its roots in local society. We have the freedom and opportunity to be meaningful on a smaller scale”. Together with his colleague Freek Peeters, Pi is closely involved in the follow-up projects of Dorpslab: “I think it is a great challenge to get our villagers more involved in the initiatives, I am committed to that”.
According to Pi, the challenges of “his” Maasbree and the other villages fit perfectly in the mission of the bank, “The mission Growing A Better World Together is more than solving the global food problem as a bank. We want to make a substantial contribution to the welfare and prosperity in the Netherlands by helping entrepreneurs to grow sustainably and ensuring that families become financially self-sufficient. These issues also play a role in local village centres. Make it small, so you can make a difference yourself”.
The video below gives an impression of how the Dorpslab is organised in the municipalities.