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Stakeholders perspective 

Stakeholder Àngels Guiteras Mestres:

‘Collaborating with students
is valuable’

Àngels Mestres is co-founder and CEO of the ABD Welfare and Development Association organization based in Barcelona. She submitted a challenge to ECIU University for students to work on. ‘The students provided proof of our projects. As a result, we are awarded subsidies more often.’

Text: Peter Koehorst
Photo: ABD


ABD is an entity that provide public services that, through more than ninety projects, helps more than a hundred thousand people. ‘But what exactly is the added value of our projects? For that question, I asked the help of ECIU University’, says Àngels Guiteras Mestres, who is also an external board member of the consortium. ‘Students visualized the added value of our initiatives very well. In fact, they did so well that ABD is awarded subsidies much more often.’

And that is much needed. In the 1980s, Àngels specialized as a psychologist in the treatment and prevention of drug abuse. Her field of work has expanded over the years to include other, socially disadvantaged groups. ‘Everyone who is at the bottom of the societal ladder or who is at risk of getting there will benefit from our projects’, she says. ‘We offer help not only to drug addicts, but also to children, families, and senior citizens. We run programs for the integration of young migrants or for people with a disability and provide family support. We help them through all kinds of projects so that they continue to fully partake of society.’

‘We use the knowledge and skills of students, which are very valuable to us’

Funding is required for all work. This comes partly from the government, but those require many conditions. ‘By collaborating with universities affiliated with ECIU, we make use of the knowledge and skills of students. With their background, they can conduct research into the results of the projects well. The students held diverse interviews and had on-site visits with La Botiga coordinators and staff as well as with the El Prat City Council, the main responsible. The government considers the final result, the proceeds, important enough to award follow-up subsidies. The students have provided that proof. Very valuable to us.’

As a stakeholder, Àngels will certainly continue to deliver challenges to ECIU University. She emphatically says that all students can register for those, not just those from ‘her’ Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. ‘The social problems are not just in Spain; it is an international challenge that will become much bigger in the future. We face many challenges when you consider the energy rates, the aftermath of corona and the impending recession. By having students investigate whether the projects offered really work, we can offer help much more efficiently.’

Àngels Mestres

Àngels Mestres
Co-founder and CEO of the ABD Association


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