NGOs in Amsterdam: Helping to make the world a better place
The Netherland’s is well-known for being a haven for international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Dutch city of The Hague is a centre for justice and law enforcement, and you will find a number of NGOs have made their home in the city too.
Amsterdam is also a popular city for NGOs, with the city playing host to several bigger organisations (like Greenpeace) as well as a plethora of smaller organisations, fighting and working towards any number of good causes.
NGOs in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a special city. It has come to be known as a world centre for business, commerce and finance, while also being a very liberal city, where people are free to be themselves. This unique juxtaposition represents the very heart of Amsterdam culture, and while a number of international businesses flourish, so too do a great number of international organisations and NGOs, that often find themselves fighting against the big corporations they share a city with.
The number of social causes that are represented by Amsterdam’s non-profit organisations and NGOs is vast. No matter what cause is close to your heart, there is an organisation in Amsterdam that is working towards that cause and trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves. From large international organisations, like Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders, to smaller, more intimate causes like the NCDO, which focuses on sustainable development in the Netherlands, or the Clean Clothes Campaign, which aims to help improve the working conditions and quality of life of workers in the international garment and sportswear industry.
The impact of Dutch NGOs
You only have to look into a couple of Dutch NGOs to find out the impact they have had on the rest of the world. Take the Clean Clothes Campaign for instance; they have been campaigning since 1989 on vital, global issues, such as workers’ safety, corporate responsibility and fair living wages. Through their work, they have made significant achievements that have real-world implications, like compensation for survivors and victims’ families of workplace accidents and disasters (like the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh), as well as promoting workplace safety, and developing facilities meant to improve the working conditions of workers all over the world.
Young & Bold: Making the world a better place
Another NGO that is making positive changes in society is Young & Bold. Young & Bold is an organisation that promotes leadership and, through a network of like-minded individuals, aims to solve prevalent social issues by connecting people so that they can work together to make a real impact on society. We were lucky enough to speak to Ahmed Nour, a Nyenrode MBA alumni who volunteered at the organisation and told us more about Young & Bold and its mission to change the world.
Could you explain a little about yourself and your studies at Nyenrode?
I’m an Egyptian-American, married and father of two kids. I have worked in the financial sector within banks for many years. I took the decision to join Nyenrode Business University when I read one of the articles about L.E.S (Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Stewardship), which, I understand, are the core values of the University. I was curious how a university can have such values and how they reflected on the business environment.
All this was answered when I joined the Full-Time MBA programme and learned that, even as a leader or entrepreneur, who is usually requested to be strict and to generate profit, you can also be responsible and a steward for collective values to contribute positively to the society.
To teach this perspective Nyenrode Business University combines a first-class education with business trips and presentations of responsible leaders, talking about their experience. I have to admit that I feel very lucky about this experience and will implant responsibility in my leadership perspective in the future.
Explain Young & Bold's mission and your role within the organisation
Young & Bold's mission is to unite people within the Young & Bold spirit to make our world a better place to live. As founder Prof. dr. Désirée M. van Gorp explains: "Young & Bold, ultimate goal of creating a digital ecosystem where professionals, students, academics, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and others can build a network with like-minded individuals and work together towards solving social impact issues that they care about: creating a positive bubble.”
I was keen to volunteer in such an organisation with this kind of mission, as well as one that is succeeding with several projects in collaboration with Nyenrode Business University and Movement On The Ground to attract more volunteers - either those who have graduated or are still studying - within different programmes at the university.
The collaboration and exchange of thoughts between the three parties have created a magnificent result to help the society, especially for the residents of the Movement On The Ground camps in Greece, through several projects such as the Mentorship Initiative, in which Nyenrode students volunteer to mentor camp residents and local Greek residents to learn entrepreneurial skills. The Movement Academy is another project that works on empowering camp residents’ integration into the EU job market
All this reflects the goal of Young & Bold: to create a positive bubble by connecting professionals, students, academics, entrepreneurs, NGOs and to build a network of minds that can have a positive impact to solve many of the social issues within our society.
How did your experience at Nyenrode shape your decision to work with an NGO and why should others consider doing the same thing?
My personal experience is that creating a leader can be done with good education and special coaching, but creating a responsible leader - a person who focusses on the business’s growth but at the same time invests effort, time, and resources in helping and contributing the society to achieve a positive effect on his surroundings - takes real life experience, this is mayor take away from my MBA journey with Nyenrode Business University.
I have lived in a very wealthy part of the world, in Dubai, for many years. This environment makes you focus on business leadership only. However, while undertaking my MBA at Nyenrode Business University, I was reminded of my responsibility to society, and this will definitely stay with me for all future roles and will reflect on all my decision as a leader within business or life. At Nyenrode I learned that, as a leader, you can steward a group of interests to benefit society.
As to why others should consider doing the same thing, we have to understand that we are different as humans and we should always try to create a common interest to attract others to doing good. Within a year at Nyenrode Business University, I had learned something very important: if you believe in what you’re doing and you do it from your heart, others will follow your example.
Finally, what made you want to work with an NGO?
There isn't a single reason but I come from a part of the world - the MENA region - where most of the social institutions work under the strict umbrella of the government, which gives volunteers very limited opportunities to work with them.
But here in the Netherlands, the concept is wider, and I have the opportunity to contribute to many initiatives. This does not only benefit the NGOs I volunteer at but also myself in several aspects. I can see that even a minor constructive contribution is recognised and contributes to the growth and development of society. Working in a non-governmental organisation broadens my perspective and has an effect on the way I pursue objectives and make decisions; it has also a positive effect on my life and the way I appreciate many things that I previously took for granted. Interacting with various individuals and organisations has changed the way I see things in general and provides that humbling and affirming life experience.
From a professional standpoint, it expanded my understanding of responsible leadership, instilled in me a desire to help individuals and society, and assisted me in improving my interpersonal relationships.
Join Young & Bold’s fight for a better world
For more information on Young & Bold and its mission, you can visit their website or email them at [email protected].
Prepare for the future with Nyenrode
You can find more information about Nyenrode’s Full-Time MBA on their official website. Alternatively, you can also contact Madeleine Wolters on +31 346 295 992.