New SIB investigates: does work make us healthier?
We already know that having a job makes us happier. But does it also make us healthier? The new Social Impact Bond (SIB) is currently investigating this very question. This seventh SIB will see the Rendiz social enterprise, the municipality of Venlo and the Rabobank Foundation guide people who are currently severely distanced from the labor market towards paid work. The Institute for Positive Health is tracking whether employment positively affects the participants’ health.
‘There can be many reasons why people are unable to find a job and have to depend on welfare,’ says Vivian Kersten, co-founder of Rendiz. ‘And not working for an extended period of time can eat away at your self-esteem. We help people to regain their self-esteem. We do this through one-on-one coaching and by providing temporary employment at one of our own sites. If things go as planned, the participant will move on to a paid job with a regular employer after a while. This yields gains on all sides: happy participants and fewer people dependent on state benefits.’
Our motto at Rendiz is that everyone deserves a chance to be happy. And people are happier when they have a job than when they’re lounging around at home doing nothing. That is why this social enterprise from Limburg took the initiative to launch a Social Impact Bond in conjunction with the municipality of Venlo and the Rabobank Foundation. ‘By joining forces we are able to guide a much larger group of job seekers towards new employment. And thanks to the generosity of the Rabobank Foundation, we now have the resources to keep the project going for two whole years.’
‘What makes this SIB so very unique is that we are going to measure whether or not having a job positively affects one’s personal health,’ says Nynke Struik, Program Manager at the Rabobank Foundation. ‘To this end we are working with the Institute for Positive Health. They are training the Rendiz coaches to enable them to actively counsel the participants while investigating the positive health aspects. Because of this health aspect, I cooperate with my colleague Marleen Jansen, Sector Specialist Healthcare in the Business Department for this SIB. We expect to find that people who make a meaningful contribution to society will, in the long term, feel much better about themselves, both physically and mentally. This connection between work and health in a broad sense makes this SIB a unique project in the Netherlands.
All parties involved are expecting this collaboration to yield highly positive results. For the participants, who will feel their self-esteem grow and – hopefully – find a paid job. But for the municipality of Venlo as well. The municipality will see a decrease in the number of people dependent on its welfare assistance, and the local government will gain crucial insights into this group and into what assistance they benefit most from. The Rabobank Foundation is primarily interested in the social impact. Nynke: ‘This project will give renewed strength to vulnerable people, it will increase their self-reliance, and it will help them grow. This is what we call a perfect example of “Growing a better world together”.’