Past Maastricht Event: VOL 26

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Biogasdoneright: a tool for improving living conditions

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Biogas is an ancient fuel (it is first described in documents of the Assyrian empire) that holds great premises for the development of rural areas, since it produces a clean fuel (the biogas), but also produces a high quality fertilizer (the digestate) that not only improves the soil fertility, but can turn farmland under degradation into a productive land.

In the last decade Italian farmers slipped in a serious crisis and in order to come out of the crisis they discovered that a well managed biogas plant could help them in boosting their productivity and regaining competitiveness, thus they named their way to the biogas as #biogasdoneright.

Prompted by these facts (easiness of biogas technology to be implemented even in low tech, rural areas) and prompted by the fact that improving soil fertility will lead to better yield in agriculture, Fabrizio Sibilla has thought to export the biogasdoneright in a small village in Senegal, to improve the villagers' quality of life.

In collaboration with the Diouma school (organized by Evelyne Kleikers and Michela Padovani) and the Italian Biogas Council (CIB), a rural plant for the production of Biogas at the school will be established. The hardware needed will be assembled with local, low cost materials and the expertise will be provided by the CIB, that will send their personnel for the organization of the biogas plant and also will assist the local farmers in reaching an “ecological agricultural intensification” from their field. Local authorities agreed to give 8 ha if land surrounding the village for the start of this test project.

The CIB personnel will install two crops (Opuntia, the well known cactus fig and Italian sainfoin, a nitrogen fixing plant that is an excellent forage and resistant to droughts) in these 8 ha and teach the local farmers how to farm them. The biogas plant will be located at the school but will also serve the local community, especially in form of common kitchens were the village women will be able to meet while cooking and use a clean fuel (poor stoove wood combustion is the highest death case for children under 5 years in developing countries).

The aim of the project is that, once the village farmers will understand the potential hidden in the biogasdoneright, then they will spread the word to the neighbouring villages and teach them what they have learnt, in order to leverage the effect that foreign help can do to improve the quality of locals.

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From rugby to social empowerment in Romania

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Lucian Mircescu is actively involved in development matters in Romania. A few years ago, he launched the Rugby Club Aurora Baicoi Foundation, which he is using now as a social development platform.

Last year he organised the club's first summer school, where he spent one week with children from 8-14, teaching them maths and English with Duolingo and the Khan Academy.

It's a project that is gaining more and more attention. His story can be one of social empowerment and community participation in the context of the Romanian migration taking place after the country gained European Union membership.

Some of the children in the club simply grow up without any parents, who are working abroad. The children are rarely encouraged to focus on their education and to pursue careers that require studying - which only repeats an eventual poverty cycle. 

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Y we educate

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

In her presentation 'Y we educate', Catalina Goanta shares some of her "teeny tiny" observations gathered during five years of teaching and tries to give flesh to the question of how exactly one needs teach "Millenials", e.g. current students. She integrates references to gamified learning and technology (especially virtual reality), and touches upon the fact that the landscape of skills these students will need in the future is in constant change, and education cannot afford to disregard that. Catalina Goanta shares some of her "teeny tiny" observations gathered during five years of teaching and tries to give flesh to the question of how exactly one needs teach "Millenials", e.g. current students. She integrates references to gamified learning and technology (especially virtual reality), and touches upon the fact that the landscape of skills these students will need in the future is in constant change, and education cannot afford to disregard that. 

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Misconceptions about Bangladesh

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

From his experience of traveling and living in abroad, Amit Biswas sheds light on the unspoken beauty and contribution of Bangladesh to the world. He shares his own experience and contrasts it with the misperceptions and misconceptions about Bangladesh in the western countries. He highlights the facts which western media hardly talks about.

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The impossibility of branding a city like Maastricht

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Jean Bruynzeels feels very inspired by the enormous growth of the diversity in the streets of Maastricht in the last decades. His native city, for him, represents the globalising world in one small spot on the globe, not only virtual/digital, but surely also in real life. Explaining this in the PechaKucha format in a language that was hardly spoken in this region when he was young proves this fact.

Desultory, casual, cursory, random, unmethodical, unsystematic, maybe chaotic, inconsistent, irregular, sporadic, are the words that come to mind when Jean thinks about his native city and this, he finds, is exactly the charm of it.

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Open a whole new world by exploring and maximising your talents

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Brian Megens is the living proof that you can achieve a lot more than you've ever thought you could as long as you set your mind to it. He shows this through his personal experience.

When he was 15 years old, he weighed 91 kg and had an unhealthy diet. He played darts and was no.17 in the world (under 18). He decided to stop and start to loose weight. He did this by doing kickboxing, running, going to the gym but especially by keeping a healthy diet. He went to 72 kg and fought two kickbox matches in the ring. When he turned 18 he followed his true passion in sports, cycling. He bought a bike and started racing. Within two years he earned a semi-professional contract and had a body weight of 63 kg. In 2012 he signed for the Rabobank Continental Cycling Team, the under 23 squad of the professional Rabobank team. Everything looked really good at the start of the year and he had a good chance of getting full-professional. However, he suffered injuries and the team stopped due to bad publicity of the sport due to doping. Brian decided that the chances of getting full professional were slim and he took up a new challenge, university studies. He is now a second year bachelor European Studies and Social Media Reporter/Photographer at Maastricht University. In Maastricht he discovered his new passion, photography. This is Brian's story in a nutshell. He doesn't consider himself an extremely talented person, but he is determined and willing to get the best out of himself. His philosophy is: if you really want something and are prepared to fight for it, you can achieve more than you ever could imagine.

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Building a School for Young Women in Senegal

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Evelyne Kleikers and Michela Padovani are concerned about the lack of participation of girls in education in Senegal. Many girls, out of necessity, have to leave school before they have completed their education, aged just 12 or 13 years old. They have no possibilities to continue their (secondary) education. The most valid reasons being:-

•Their standard of Education is too low - many fail to pass the entrance examination or secondary school
•Lack of finance to pay school fees
•Need to  contribute to the family income

Therefore, many girls are being sent by their parents to the capital Dakar, to work as a housekeeper. These young girls are often exposed to the many dangers of big cities, frequently exposed to violence and often resulting in undesirable pregnancy.

Through the Diouma Senegal Foundation, Michela and Evelyne want to help in finding solutions:

Diouma Senegal Foundation has built an education centre in Thiadiaye, 100 km south-east  from Dakar. The centre has been built on a 400 m2 plot of land donated by the mayor of Thiadiaye.

This education centre gives children from 13 years onward, (especially girls) a chance to learn a profession to become dressmakers, cooks or hairdressers within 1-3 years, depending on the level of entry and the level the students wish to achieve.

In addition to subjects such as needlework and sewing, pattern cutting, cooking, serving, batik painting and hairstyling, other lessons are also included, such as mathematics, ICT and English. On top of this, the young women are also taught “life skills”, with topics such as self-awareness, empathy, relationship skills, sexual education and communication.

Every year around 40-45 girls can start the course (15 students per direction).

After finishing the education, the girls will obtain a school certificate or state diploma, depending on the entrance level of the students. This will open opportunities for employment and financial independence.

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Longboarding: It's All Downhill from Here

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Skateboarding has become a massively commercialised sport. Wich completely contradicts the rebellious nature and roots of this pass time. These past few years we have seen an uprise of the longboarding movement. This new group has remarkably different values and ideas than the classic streetskater. But, in the end they still practise the same sport. Can these differences progress the sport as a whole? 

It’s All Downhill from Here

In this presentation, Jaime Langeweg tries to answer the question: why do I skate? Jaime explains what it means to have flow in one’s life. The act of fluid style and movement in skateboarding translates very well to other aspects of life. For example, having flow in your writing, drawing and even studying can massively improve your productivity.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

Nadine Boesten tells the inspiring story about how epileptic seizures caused by stress influenced her life in both a negative and positive manner. This is her journey of how to turn despair into hope; 'how to turn lemons into lemonade.' 

"Presentation of the Day" on May 5, 2015.

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Hidden Rules of Interaction

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

What does it mean to work with different cultures? How can you deal with the (hidden) rules of interaction? Wouter Visser shares some of the interesting 'cultural' meetings he experienced during his travels.

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A Brief History of Polyptych Art

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

In this presentation, Said ten Brinke explains the use of multi-panel works of art from early Renaissance to Andy Warhol. He then presents a series of self created photo-polyptychs.

"Presentation of the Day" on May 13, 2015.

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Creating a European Television Network

@ VOL 26 ON APR 09, 2015

The idea behind CampusEurope originated from a local student TV in Maastricht (BreakingMaas). During the process of making BreakingMaas a sustainable project, the group of students started to discover other Student TVs around the Netherlands. It was with this discovery that they had the idea to try and create a network of student TVs that would produce a European student television show.

One of the questions they asked themselves is: why do we feel the need for a European student television show? They could have pursued media projects through their local student TV, which would have allowed them to produce local reports in better quality and with less work.

However in a more connected Europe where one sees governments in dispute with each other, and where news is limited to national perspectives, the students felt the urge to produce content which would allow them to understand multiple perspectives on a European issue.

This is where the project is of great significance; CampusEurope give students from all over Europe a stage to voice their opinions on a political, social and economic subject, which in the end affects all Europeans, no matter how far they live from each other. That’s why they believe that CampusEurope provides the essential platform to exchange opinions and find a common ground in an interconnected world.

Evelyne Kleikers
Founder Diouma Senegal Foundation
Said de Brinke
in Maastricht
Nadine Boesten
Student, Maastricht University in Maastricht
Wouter Visser
Senior Consultant & Academic Associate, AMI Consultancy in Maastricht
Gert Poppe
Consultant, trainer and coach, CuinQ in Maastricht
Amit Biswas
Sales Controller I Marketing & Branding Strategist I Professional Blogger, Koninklijke Nedschroef Holding B.V. in Eindhoven
Fabrizio Sibilla
Italain Biogas Council & Freelancer in Aachen
Jean Bruijnzeels
Account manager International Institutes, City of Maastricht in Maastricht
Brian Megens
Student, Photographer, Social Media Reporter, self employed, Maastricht University in Maastricht
Catalina Goanta
Creative everythinger (aka PhD candidate in law), Maastricht University in Maastricht
Lucian Mircescu
Club Manager, Aurora Baicoi Rugby Club in Baicoi
Jaime Langeweg
Multimedia Student in Maastricht
Diouma Foundation
in Maastricht
Said ten Brinke
Artist/Photographer, teacher in Maastricht