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Benjamin Cucchi
How these under-30 girls are teaching diversity and inclusion with their podcast
Jun 08, 2023
8 Minutes

According to Yasmine Ouirhrane and Jana Degrott, co-founders of We Belong, Diversity and Inclusion is a topic that matters to all – and that’s why they work every day to bring the culture of D&I to as many people as possible. Here’s the solution they’ve found: a podcast.


Non-formal education is here to stay

Education also has non-formal expressions, which in some cases can also be more impactful than their more formal counterparts. Modern media, and in particular podcasts, are perfect examples of such non-formal educational tools that are increasingly being used to spread ideas, concepts and stories. And, with We Belong, Yasmine and Jana managed to actualize this learning potential and educate the general public on a topic as important as it is complex, like Diversity and Inclusion.

“If you are in a public space where you feel that you’re different - whether it is for your gender, your disability, your age, your race, any type of diversity, visible or invisible - you should be able to be respected and accepted. To value who you are, as you are, and feel that you belong there. That’s Diversity & Inclusion”.
Yasmine Ouirhrane
From the podcast to corporate workshops: We Belong’s educational toolbox

So, what exactly is We Belong? First off, it’s a podcast on Diversity & Inclusion with an interview format and inspiring guests: people who broke stereotypes and succeeded in spite of many difficulties. Around these stories they built a community and a network of professionals offering D&I services addressed to companies and organizations. Here’s how Yasmine and Jana used these non-formal educational tools to spread D&I’s culture.

What is We Belong, in a nutshell
A podcast on Diversity & Inclusion:

made up of interviews with guests with an inspiring story and underrepresented backgrounds.

A community:

where people from different backgrounds can feel they belong, get support and access opportunities for growth.

A training program:

to increase companies’ awareness around D&I and help them create more inclusive workplaces.

We Belong origin story: moving from a representational gap

How did it all start? From a desire for redemption in contrast to hatred online to facing hostility in political spaces, the reasons behind We Belong’s foundation are actually deeply related to both Jana’s and Yasmine’s personal stories and the D&I situation in Europe.

"In Europe we have been romanticizing too much this slogan “united in diversity”, but we’ve never built tools, for example in institutions or in companies, to understand what it means. There’s so much work to be done, but someone has to start and we felt that we had to start. When we launched the initiative we said: “We’re gonna spread the word everywhere”, and we’re currently doing this, not only in European Institutions but also in private companies”.
Jana Degrott
“We create change by sharing stories”: some examples

Storytelling is an essential educational tool. Both hearing and telling stories can spread ideas, stimulate creativity and imagination, as well as promote critical thinking, emotional intelligence and context awareness. All the more when the stories told are also inclusive.

“Stories are our primary tools of learning and teaching, the repositories of our lore and legends. They bring order into our confusing world. Think about how many times a day you use stories to pass along data, insights, memories or common-sense advice.”
Edward Miller

Representation matters and inspires. And it’s exactly through this logic that the We Belong podcast simultaneously reaches three goals: amplifying voices that usually struggle to be heard, inspiring others through example, and spreading the culture of Diversity & Inclusion. 

What are the stories that had the greatest impact on the community? There’s certainly that of Nadia Nadim, a professional footballer whose tale can be resumed as follows: chase your passions, in spite of any stigma and difficulty.

Finally, you can’t miss three other beautiful stories that passed through We Belong microphones.
Élizabeth Moreno

Former Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities in France. How does a businesswoman originally from the Republic of Cabo Verde enter politics? Her story is almost dream-like!


A Dominican-Italian trilingual popstar who experienced migration and separation from her mother at the age of four.

Sarah Mardini

A Syrian refugee, humanitarian activist, and swimmer. Her story has also become popular thanks to the Netflix film The Swimmers.

Building momentum for change: how you can do your part and make a difference

We Belong’s podcast always begins in the same way, with a powerful message of encouragement. Yasmine and Jana wanted to start with the same question: how can we take action to create a more inclusive world? It all comes down to our daily attitude.

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The first non-boring newsletter dedicated to Education

Non-formal Education is here to stay: We Belong's story shows us how educational tools like podcasts and workshops can help us share a new culture of diversity and inclusion through real-word stories.