Project detailsYoung immigrants in Belgium face significant challenges finding stable jobs. Of all EU member states, Belgium has the second-largest labour participation gap between those born in the country and non-European immigrants. In 2017, Actiris (the Brussels Employment Office) and KOIS set out to bring a solution to this issue through the first-ever Social Impact Bond in continental Europe.
DUO for a JOB: an intergenerational coaching programme
In 2016, the unemployment rate in Belgium for native people was of 6,1% vs. 21,2% for non-EU-28 citizens, according to the SPF (Service Public Fédéral Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale). This issue greatly affects the long-term integration of immigrants and comes at a high social cost.
DUO for a JOB, a Belgian non-profit organisation, aims to tackle this issue. They provide an intergenerational mentorship programme, which pairs young immigrants with Belgian mentors aged 50+ with the goal of finding a job over a period of 6 months. Unique to this approach is the fact that young immigrants receive insights into the Belgian job market from someone with deep knowledge about the country, providing both the mentor and the mentee with valuable intergenerational and intercultural interaction.
In 2013, DUO was looking for funding for its recently launched mentorship programme. Although Actiris, the Brussels Employment Office was interested in the method, DUO did not yet have the results to prove the effectiveness of its approach.
KOIS then proposed a Social Impact Bond (SIB), a solution that was then unprecedented in Continental Europe.
Terms of the bond
Average annual return
Duo for a job: an intergenerational coaching programme
DUO for a JOB, a Belgian non-profit organisation, provides an intergenerational mentorship programme, which pairs young immigrants with Belgian mentors aged 50+ with the aim of finding a job over a period of 6 months. Unique to this approach is the fact that young immigrants receive insights into the Belgian job market from someone with deep knowledge about the country, providing both the mentor and the mentee with valuable intergenerational and intercultural interaction.
In 2013, DUO was looking for funding for its recently launched mentorship programme. Although Actiris, the Brussels Employment Office was interested in the method, DUO did not yet have the results to prove the effectiveness of its approach. KOIS then proposed a Social Impact Bond (SIB), a solution that was then unprecedented in Continental Europe.
The first Belgian Social Impact Bond
The 3-year impact bond involved three parties:
- Actiris (the Brussels Employment Office) as the outcome funder, enabling innovation without risking taxpayer’s money
- DUO for a JOB as the service provider, having the means to build track record for its innovative approach
- Investors helping drive innovation in social services with a potential financial reward.
During the 3 years of sponsoring, the SIB allowed 322 young unemployed immigrants to benefit from DUO’s 6-month mentorship program. Their employment results were compared to a control group composed of 4,000+ job seekers recently registered at Actiris, with the same profile as DUO’s mentees (in terms of gender, age and nationality). Not only that, all investors got their investment back with an average 4% annual return!
After only three years, DUO was able to prove the effectiveness of its intergenerational approach:
DUO’s mentees employment rate was 28% higher than that of the control group.
The SIB gave us the opportunity to overcome our initial funding problem and to build the credentials of our program. It has been a fantastic springboard which enabled us to scale up and extend our impact to other cities, in Belgium and abroad.
Thanks to the SIB, I had the opportunity to support a high-impact project, whose results were both ambitious & measurable, and recoup my investment to help similar projects grow. Sustainable and impactful, this investment made a lot of sense for me.
A few years later…
For DUO, the SIB has been a real springboard for transforming a high-risk idea into a fast-growing social enterprise. From the second year on, the impact measurement system has built project credibility for public and private investors.
Today, DUO’s €3 million budget is funded by more than 50 organisations, ranging from foundations to corporates and public agencies. This includes Actiris, which became a structural partner of DUO.
Moreover, the innovative nature of SIBs as pioneers of public-private partnerships, has generated high visibility for DUO not only to investors, but also to a large pool of mentors. Today, DUO counts 850 active mentors, with a retention rate of 90%.
Finally, the diversified funding structure and the access to a large network of public and private partners have laid strong foundations to support DUO’s growth in Belgium and abroad. Currently present in four cities with 2,000 duos created to date, DUO aims to increase its outreach locally and beyond Belgian borders. With financial support of a foundation, DUO will replicate its successful mentorship model in five European cities facing similar unemployment issues for migrant workers, starting with Paris in 2019.
Impact of the DIB
of the mentees found a job within 12 months, doing 1.28x better than the control group
total savings in € generated via the SIB
An enriching experience which creates bridges between cultures and generations, it is a win-win situation!
I have learned so much. Thanks to DUO, I have regained confidence in myself. I had run out of ideas. I was lost and now I have found myself.
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