Who is ECHO’s target group?

ECHO is aware of the changing social context and the challenges involved in defining the target group. When ECHO was established in 1994, it was easy to recognize the target group with the term “immigrant”, using the CBS definition based on first-generation migrants. Twenty years later, that term appears no longer tenable. Not only because of the fact that students are now second-generation migrants but mainly because of a growing social awareness that “immigrants” questioned the Dutch citizenship of students with a non-Western background.

ECHO has always opted for an approach that empowers students, without denying the challenges they experience based on their non-Western cultural identity and background. Those challenges are based on a system in which “white” or “western” is the norm. ECHO’s programs target students who are perceived as deviating from that standard, either by the way they identify themselves or by the way society perceives them, and how to deal with them constructively.

In 2020 this target group is also diverse. From students who were born and raised in the Netherlands, but who are proud of their non-Western roots and strengthen society from that awareness to students who have recently come to the Netherlands and who have made a special contribution to Dutch society from their cultural baggage. In practice, this means students who identify as:

  • Dutch students with a non-western background *;
  • Students with a refugee background;
  • International students who identify as part of a marginalized community in their own context

ECHO welcomes all of these students, knowing that they have a common experience of overcoming challenges based on exclusion. With this, ECHO wants to accommodate the diversity of experiences that the ECHO Ambassador Network has. Would you like to draw the students’ attention to the opportunities that ECHO offers, but are you unsure whether your students belong to the target group? Feel free to contact us for more information.

* For the definition of “non-Western”, ECHO bases itself on the CBS framework: “Person with a migration background from one of the countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia (excluding Indonesia and Japan) or Turkey.” Because Statistics Netherlands bases its definition on a socio-economic perspective and ECHO’s work is based on a societal perspective in the Dutch context, ECHO chooses to include Indonesia and Japan in a “non-Western” framework.

Picture: ECHO Award 2020 by Ebru Aydin