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Cooperation in the region: implementing the cooperative covenant

Macella Hanekamp - Marketing- & Communications Advisor at Rabobank Noord- and Oost-Achterhoek

How do we retain young people for the region? How do we support our entrepreneurs? Under the headings 'The lucky region of Achterhoek' and 'Twente to the top' these regions were already working hard on the future before the Cooperative Covenant. It has confirmed that the right direction has been chosen and offers handles for a practical follow-up in the region. How? Macella Hanekamp, Marketing & Communications Advisor at Rabobank Noord- en Oost-Achterhoek, explains how she and her team translate the abstract covenant into a local approach.

Noaberschap 2.0: an active community

“’Noaberschap’ is what makes the Achterhoek and Twente unique. People really pay attention to their neighbors and loved ones. We want to broaden that. We call this Noaberschap 2.0, active involvement with each other and with the community.”

Training vest with noaber

“Look at the local soccer club, for example. We used to sponsor tracksuits for the youth team or place a sign along the field. Now we enter into a dialogue with the club. What are they doing, and where can the bank really add value? How can we support the soccer club and the community around it?”

It's nice to see how a simple question leads to completely different conversations.
Macella Hanekamp - Marketing & Communications Advisor

“This soccer club turned out to be aiming to become the most sustainable club in the Netherlands, and sustainability is high on our agenda. Our regional agenda focuses on five cooperative themes that we, as Rabobank, want to contribute to: Financially Healthy Living, Banking4Food, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Business and Energy Transition. Discussions with entrepreneurs and the municipality showed that they, too, are fully committed to sustainability. Together we are making a plan. It’s nice to see how a simple question leads to completely different conversations and real cooperation in the region. By looking ahead together, by involving the entire community.”

Engaging in conversation: that’s what it’s all about

“Even before we started working on the Cooperative Covenant, we organized regional dialogues, together with the Dialogue Expertise Center. The covenant was a logical extension for this region. The previous dialogues were small-scale meetings with people from the region.”

Want to know more about the Cooperative Covenant? On this website you will find everything this future plan for the Netherlands.

“In addition to keeping the dialogues at the Cooperative Covenant completely digital, it also has a much broader scope. We used the Broad Wellbeing Indicator as a starting point. This indicator determines the well-being of society on the basis of 11 topics, such as safety, housing or social relations. What remains the same is the dialogue. Starting the conversation. Whether that’s online or in real life, that’s what it’s really about.”

“The strength of the covenant is that by looking much wider you get a good picture of what is going on in the region. At the same time, it gives space to think about solutions together with entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. What are the themes you want to work on? Where can you deploy Rabobank’s strength?”

Retaining young people for the region

In the regional report of the Twente-An Achterhoek Co-operative, we read that the quality of life in the region is under pressure. Many young people are leaving the region because of limited job opportunities and a shortage of housing (‘Samen werken aan brede welvaart in Twente en de Achterhoek – Uitkomsten van de regiodialoog’).

“That livability is related to what our young people do, we saw both in our earlier sessions and in the dialogues for the covenant. It is important that we identify this with each other. Now the focus is on what we can do about it. Practical and local. As a bank we are looking for the right balance between investing and sharing knowledge. We contribute to all kinds of initiatives to make the region more attractive to young people.”

Macella Hanekamp outside

“The Achterhoek, for example, is very modest. We have companies here that are real world players, but most of the young people don’t know that. They leave for the Randstad or Eindhoven for their studies and stay there. One project we support is the Talent Garden, where students and local companies are matched. A good job in the region makes the choice to live here easier. In addition, we are thinking about other forms of housing. How young people can buy a house together to share the costs. And what form of financing would go with it. This is how you retain young people and help entrepreneurs to grow.”

The dialogue continues

“We continue to engage in conversation in the region. We are translating the conclusions of the covenant into a local approach. How can we use each other’s knowledge and skills to strengthen the region together? After all, we cannot single-handedly make the Achterhoek the region of happiness, or take Twente to the top. But when we bring people together, the best plans are born.”