An Instagram Photo and Video Essay
by Heather Mansfield
For many years I’ve wanted to visit The Hague, Netherlands. 🇳🇱 Known as the International City of Peace and Justice, there are more than 160 NGOs in Den Haag working to make the world a better place. I was in the Netherlands for the International Fundraising Congress (on behalf of OnGood.ngo) and without a scheduled agenda and only the hope of meeting some NGOs staff, I took the train down from Amsterdam and wandered the streets with a smartphone in hand and an international data plan.
The first nonprofit spotted on my #HagueDayTrip was the Mauritshuis – home to some of the best Dutch paintings from the Golden Age. Masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, and The Goldfinch by Fabritius are on permanent display. 🎨
Next, I stumbled across the Dutch office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and though they were not expecting me, they were very welcoming and a pleasure to spend time with. All quite busy working on behalf of the world’s animals, the IFAW staff took the time to take a group photo. Dank je wel! 🐧
What a friendly, welcoming #NGO – the Dutch office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (@IFAW) – an organization working for the conservation of wild animals worldwide. At total of 13 staff – and two dogs – they come to work everyday on mission to make the world a better place for animals – and humans. They didn’t know I was coming, but were a pleasure to briefly work with and learn from. #HagueDayTrip
Rianne Haaijema, Project Coordinator for IFAW’s Blijf van mijn Dier Program, shared how the organization finds temporary homes for the pets of domestic abuse victims. Often women will not leave an abuser because they do not want to leave their pets behind or the abuser uses the pet for blackmail, so IFAW fosters the pets until the woman is secure in a new home and a new life free from abuse. 🐶
After IFAW, I wandered down the Javastraat to the world famous Peace Palace which is home to the International Court of Justice. The Peace Palace is always closed on Mondays, so I could only catch a glimpse through its gates. ☮ + ⚖
The IFAW is located just down the #Javastraat from the Peace Palace ☮ in the #Hague which is home to the the International Court of Justice ⚖, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Peace Palace Library 📚, and the #CarnegieFoundation. It was founded on August 28, 1913 by and an international group of jurists, politicians and pacifists. Learn more at: vredespaleis.nl #HagueDayTrip
Upon the recommendation of the IFAW, I then went in search of World Animal Protection. Again unannounced, I rang the buzzer and met Julie Middelkoop, Head of the organization’s Wildlife – Not Entertainers Campaign. She was quite thrilled – as were many of you – about TripAdvisor’s announcement to no longer sell tickets to wildlife attractions, such as elephant rides, swimming with dolphins, and tiger selfies! 🐘 🐬 🐅
Julie Middelkoop of World Animal Protection (@worldanimalprotectionnl) speaks about the recent #BreakingNews that TripAdvisor will no longer sell tickets to wildlife attractions that can be cruel, such as elephant rides, swimming with dolphins, and tiger selfies. #HagueDayTrip #NotEntertainers CC: @world_animal_protection
World Animal Protection had gigantic photos of animals throughout their office. This one of donkeys caught my eye. I have a soft spot for donkeys after seeing so many of them on a recent trip to Morocco. In Fes there is an amazing and very well known NGO called American Fondouk which provides free vet care for donkeys – a critical mission in a city where donkeys outnumber cars and poor farmers most often cannot afford vet services. 🇲🇦
As I was leaving @worldanimalprotectionnl, I saw this giant photo of donkeys on their wall. Made me think of American Foundouk (americanfondouk.org) in #Fes, Morocco which offers free vet care to donkeys – a very important mission in a city where donkeys outnumber cars and poor farmers most often cannot afford vet services. #HagueDayTrip
It was closing time in The Hague and I was too late to the Oxfam Novib office to meet anyone, but a poster in the window reminds us all to remember Afghanistan – one of the poorest countries in the world due to decades of conflict and disasters. 🇦🇫
Finally, a photo of myself taken by a very nice coffee barista on my way back to the train station. I rarely post photos of myself as it feels vain to do so (that’s the Gen Xer in me), but Rianne and Julie were both nervous to do the Instagram interviews, so I figured I’d better practice what I preach. 📷
Last photo of my #HagueDayTrip and it’s of me. Like the #NGO staff that I met and interviewed today, I am also uncomfortable putting my photo online. As @nonprofitorgs no problem… as Heather Mansfield, nerve-racking! But today was about experimentation… and I must sign off now before my battery hits 0%!