Diversion is an agency for social innovation. We develop concrete solutions for complex social issues. With our programs we help organizations in the public and private sector to respond to the continuous changes in society and thus increase their social impact. We also pioneer with our own initiatives that contribute to a better future.
We invest in social leadership with our network of peer educators. With them we collect knowledge in the classroom, in the schoolyard and in living rooms: the places where not everyone can see inside. In this way we expose important trends, identify new issues at an early stage and put them on the agenda.
We believe in an open society in which everyone can participate. The freedom to decide one’s own life, access to the labor market and health care seem like achievements, but they do not apply to everyone. In addition, the world is changing at lightning speed. If not everyone can take advantage of the opportunities that transitions bring, the free society will come under further pressure. Making people and organizations resilient and agile is therefore the core of social innovation for us.
We do not see social change as a linear process, directly from A to B, but as a development that proceeds via detours and side paths. Hence the name Diversity. Because there are no easy answers to the big issues we face, confrontation and critical dialogue are needed, precisely where resistance is greatest and values clash. We create new connections between people, institutions and companies, in order to jointly arrive at sustainable solutions. This creates resilience, even where visions differ.
At Diversion, social and commercial goals are equally important. This ensures that we remain innovative and that we can continue to invest in solutions that we believe in ourselves.
Young people connect clashing worldviews
- In 30 weeks, Diversion trains a diverse group of 165 young people from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht to become the connectors of tomorrow.
- We help the participants in this social leadership program to get the best out of themselves with a range of training courses and master classes. We challenge them to explore and change new environments. In high school classes, the new connectors talk about their personal experiences with discrimination and exclusion and break open the difficult conversation. Then they will work on a pressing question about this theme at a social organization in their city. They use the experiences they gain to tackle exclusion and polarization and to connect people and world views.
Breaking taboos about cultural, religious and sexual diversity
- In the Netherlands, the most diverse cultures, religions and orientations live side by side. Despite this diversity, prejudices between different groups persist. Lack of understanding for each other’s different lifestyles causes tensions in society and also provokes strong reactions among young people in the classroom. As long as taboo subjects are not discussed, misunderstanding can lead to discrimination and bullying.
- In the award-winning lesson program Equal=Equal? Jewish, Islamic and gay peer educators make taboos open for discussion in primary and secondary education. They share their personal story and hold up a mirror to students when it comes to religious, cultural and sexual diversity. In the second lesson, the peer educators reveal their own background. Were the prejudices that students had correct? In Equal=Equal? teach young people to think critically and to substantiate their opinion with arguments about subjects that can provoke strong reactions. Discrimination is thus made open to discussion and taboos are broken.