Despite the pandemic threatening to get in the way, eight partner representatives from the FORCE project partners, CGIC, AESP, INFSS Bamako, Sikasso and Mopti, EFIAS Sikasso, ESK Koutiala and ESM_AGK Mopti, visited the Netherlands from Mali.
The aim of the visit was to learn how different education institutions and organisations in the Netherlands work on sexual and reproductive health (SRH). During the week-long visit, the partners had the chance to learn about the Dutch higher educational system, and to take a closer look at how the health system works for refugees and displaced people’s needs in terms of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country. They were also able to gain insights from health professional training schools, and to visit organizations that work to improve access to health for refugees. KIT and CINOP also organised a one-day workshop on advocacy and communication.
Two educational institutions, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Amsterdam), which offers education at bachelor’s level, and the ROC Mondriaan (The Hague), which offers education below bachelors level, kindly hosted the group and showed them around their facilities. The visits included a short presentation on what the schools offer to future health professionals in terms of theoretical education and a visit around the campus to show how they teach students practical skills. Furthermore, ROC Mondrian presented new projects from their innovation centre.
Alongside this, the group visited the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) (The Hague), a quality assurance agency that monitors the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders. The group was also invited to visit the offices of Médecins du Monde, an organization that offers medical help to vulnerable groups in the Netherlands and whose mission is universal health rights.
The next stop was a visit to Nuffic in The Hague, where the discussion centred around the FORCE project’s progress made in the past year despite the COVID-19 pandemic and around future opportunities for collaboration.
The trip was very successful and gave all the participants food for thought for the future of the project. As Dramane Dao, director of CGIC, explained: “We have learned a lot through exchanges and training that will improve not only practices but also our respective organizations.”