- Mar 25, 2015
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Michelle Dominguez, the RDA’s Great Cloth Diaper Change Event Coordinator, saw something special going on in Belgium and wanted to know more about it. While the majority of GCDC events take place in the US, I encourage you to take a moment to check out our GCDC event map to get an idea of the number of international hosts. You’ll notice that, at a distance, there is such a cluster of pins in Belgium, that you can’t event read this country’s name!
Michelle reached out to José Delameilleure, Belgium GCDC host and owner of the cloth diaper store Klein Spook (which José translates to mean ‘little rascal’) to find out about the magic happening in Belgium…
Michelle: I’m curious to know how you first heard of The Great Cloth Diaper Change?
José: We heard about the first GCDC from one of our Dutch distributors, 'Kaatje Katoen'. But the first one came too early for us, we only started the webshop in May of that year.
Michelle: How common is cloth diapering in general in Belgium? From my vantage point in the US, it seems like cloth is more widely accepted in your country than it is here. Is that true? And if so, why do you think that is?
José: In Belgium, cloth diapering is getting more common than before. In some cities, like Leuven, 10% of babies wear cloth diapers, in our own city, Ghent, it's about 4 percent. The reason it’s more popular in Belguim is that about 40% of cities in Belgium give out subsidies to promote cloth diapering! If you choose cloth and show an invoice to the city council, you can get around 120 dollars as a grant. The city gives out grants to decrease the environmental impact of diapers.
In Belgium, cloth diapering is something we see more often in larger cities with a university or high school. Cloth diapering is typically more common here among the educated middle class, who are conscious about what is happening to our environment. If you go to smaller, rural towns, the percentage of cloth diaper users drops.
Michelle: I know your event is being held in a beautiful historic location this year. Will you tell our readers about it? Will you be holding additional activities throughout the day?
José: Our Antwerp event is in a beautiful 200 year old school! We are keeping it simple. We don't do extra activities, just the diaper change itself.
Michelle: How many attendees are you expecting?
José: We are aiming at 60 in Ghent (last year 55), and around 50 in Antwerp (last year we had 46 participant pairs), as there are more events now in towns not too far from us, we think growth in numbers will be limited. Last year, for all of Belgium we had 285 babies that were changed, and 257 that qualified for the record, so that's quite nice.
Michelle: Are you doing anything particular to reach non-cloth users?
José: In Ghent and Antwerp most participants are our existing clients. I know that at other events they have been able to reach out to families not currently using cloth diapers. At Winona Van Eck’s event in Beerse last year, I think a third of the babies changed were 'non-cloth babies' that tested cloth for the occasion!
Michelle: What do you think has made Belgium so successful with The Great Cloth Diaper Change?
José: All the organizers in Belgium work together! We have a joint press release (sent out by Winona) and my wife made a flyer that has all locations in Belgium on it. And we all distribute it among our clients. So it's great to be working together with our 'competitors' toward our common goal!
We at the Real Diaper Association appreciate José and all of the Belgium GCDC hosts for their inspiring efforts. Simple, successful events with a lot of teamwork prove to be a great way to build success in your community! We thank you and all of our Great Cloth Diaper Change hosts for your efforts to bring simple, reusable diapers to your communities! Best of luck with your events!
Real Diaper Circle Leader
RDA Board of Directors