To feel that you belong

The more we can be our self, the more we can bring to the table. The “feeling we belong” comes from inclusion, and inclusion is a beacon and symbol for our possibilities. A hot topic is social inclusion, which is about improving the terms of participation in society for people who are disadvantaged. Many large entities such as the United Nations and the World Bank have dedicated visions and missions to the various aspects of social inclusion.

The United Nations states that inclusion is a core aspiration of the 2030 Agenda. They also say that conceptual and analytical work on what constitutes inclusion, as well as efforts to improve data availability, are needed. It’s still a work in progress. They describe social inclusion as: “the process of improving the terms of participation in society for people who are disadvantaged on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status, through enhanced opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights”. They also say that with inclusion comes exclusion. Which they define as a state in which individuals are unable to participate fully in economic, social, political and cultural life, as well as the process leading to and sustaining such a state.

According to the World Bank social inclusion can be defined “The process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society” or more precisely “The process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society”. The World Bank also states that social inclusion and exclusion is part of the important EU concepts, and in particular of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth,

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If you would want to visualise this, it might look something like this:

A combination of ability, opportunity and dignity, of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity. Leading to understanding different perspectives and engaging everyone. Make everyone feel that they belong, and when we feel that we belong, we can be our self. Like I said at the beginning of this blog: the more we can be our self, the more we can bring to the table. Which in the end is a win-win situation for everyone. But it can also mean change, and change is scary and difficult for most of us. Therefore its great that large entities such as the United Nations and the World Bank give a stage and a face to inclusion, embracing everyone’s possibilities. Making the world a bit more inclusive day after day. Although the Netherlands is already a pretty inclusive place in comparison to other counties, there is still a lot to win here as well. Join me in the discussion on this topic online.