Universiteit Leiden

nl en

From COA to the Red Cross: students and partners get to know each other

From COA to the police and from the Red Cross to a ministry, in the coming months, students from the Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP) will have the opportunity to work on real solutions for partner organisations. In December partners and students met for the first time. 'It is a great opportunity to really have an impact!'

Before meeting the students, the partners are introduced to each other over a dinner at the Old Observatory. A partner from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate explains that this is already the fourth time she has worked together with the LLP and is excited to meet the students: 'Tonight, I'm going to encourage them to prepare a pitch right away and draw up an agenda for our next meeting. That way, I immediately give them responsibilities, so they can start developing leadership skills.'

There are many other partners present, as 22 organisations are participating as LLP partners this year. The cases students work on vary enormously and can be divided into four themes: Sustainability & Climate, Equality & Inclusion, Healthy Living & Well-being and Peace & Safety. The students tackle completely different challenges with each partner, but they all deliver an advisory report and a so-called 'creative deliverable'. This is a concrete product through which the organisation can bring about change, for example, a course for employees.

First the partner organisations got to know each other.

A change in the real world

A group of students is chatting in a meeting room, while they await the representatives from their partner organisation: the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). The students are excited for what’s coming : 'The best thing would be if our proposal leads to a change in the real world.' As soon as the partners enter, smiles appear on their faces, hands are shaken and names exchanged.

The same phenomenon takes place in many other rooms. Some groups have conversations that centre around getting to know each other. Students surprise the partners with their many undertakings alongside their studies, such as jobs or volunteering. A partner wonders if the students are still able to relax and have fun, to which a student replies that being busy energizes them and that the LLP is therefore a fun challenge. Elsewhere, we see a more practical approach: the partners walk through the assignment while being scrutinized by the many questions students have.

Students interacting with their partner organisation.

Afterwards, students tell us that the conversation with COA went well. 'It's kind of nice to know representatives from the organisations and to have made some basic agreements.' Another adds: 'I am even more enthusiastic after the meeting, because now it feels more real. We have agreed on a few dates for a meeting and we will also visit their location, including a visit to an AZC (asylum seeker centre).'

From student to partner

Max ten Velde was present at the Old Observatory on behalf of the North-Holland North district of the Red Cross. A year ago he was on the other side of the table as an LLP student, this year he was present as a partner. 'I had good experiences with the LLP and at the Red Cross we still had a concrete challenge ahead of us, so that's when I suggested we joined the LLP as a partner!'

'Het is een aanwinst om nieuwe inzichten te krijgen' - Rode Kruis

The Red Cross has set up a programme for entrepreneurs to become 'friends of the Red Cross' through donations. Four students will explore how to attract more of these friends, so that the Red Cross can help more people in need. Ten Velde: 'The team asked useful questions and this motivates me as well. Being stimulated and getting new insights is always an asset. I'm very curious to see what impact they can make.'

Text: Lynn Mans
Photos: Eric van den Bandt

This website uses cookies.