On September 1st I finally started working “full-time” for IOGT International. All throughout the summer I couldn’t wait for this period to start, for all the challenges to come and for all the cooperations with people like Sven-Olov, Kristina, Esbjörn, Rolf and many others (you’ll meet them here in this blogg, as I’ll share my experiences with them).
But of course, I am writing full-time in quotation marks because I am employed for 75%, not hundred. So, what I mean with full-time is that I have now full focus on the work with and for IOGT International. After two years working for Active – sobriety, friendship and peace, I have now moved on to IOGT.
I couldn’t wait as the summer days got shorter and shorter and the temperatures decreased gradually. Autumn is here now and I feel home in my tasks with IOGT International. I feel very much home having the world as arena for my work and for our mission. I enjoy and I am looking forward to go beyond borders, to challenge my own limits and to push them farther bit by bit, experience by experience.
I started out by going to Brussels, for a one-day-trip to talk about alcohol marketing and how different NGOs can and should cooperate to fight for a ban of alcohol marketing. Later that same week I went to Gothenburg, from one coast to the other, to meet members of IOGT.
Meeting members is always the most exhilarating part of my work. I always come back home from those meetings more inspired, more energised, more hopeful and more knowledgeable. It is fascinating to me, to meet heart-driven people who dedicate so much of their time, their energy and their skills to our mission. It is fabulous to see the work our members are doing, no matter whether it is conducted in Gothenburg or in Bytom, Poland, or in Arusha, Tanzania. Meeting people who work on grass-root level makes me realise that we actually do make a difference and that our work matters. And here in this realisation, I find so much inspiration and motivation.
This time I talked at a weekend-workshop of NSF members about global alcohol policy: what are the facts, how does the situation look like around the world and how does Sweden compare to that. This was what the participants were interested in exploring together with me. We discussed the four harms alcohol causes: democratic, social, medical, economic and we looked into the role of Big Alcohol in exacerbating those harms. And most importantly we discussed our experiences and views on those issues.
I got to hear that some feel excluded usually because they choose to live free from alcohol, but their friends do use alcohol and there’s really not much to do other than using alcohol.
I will soon upload my presentation, so that you can see what I took up and get an impression of what we discussed.
And the same weekend, just one day before the trip to Gothenburg I spend the day at a great seminar about Gapminder technology and how to use it to talk about alcohol harm in a fact-based way. You can read a bit more about this in my previous blogg entry.
Of course, part of my job is also to be updated about the independent evidence concerning the different harms alcohol causes (democratic, medical, economic, social harms). I really enjoy this part of the my work, too, because often it means that I am challenging myself to understand new connections, think outside the box and often even to train my mind to understand different ways of thinking. I did all that attending seminars organised by the International Institute of the IOGT-NTO movement, featuring Ananilea Nkya and Charles Parry. Among other things I learned more about and got recent data about the connection of alcohol and communicable diseases (HIV/ Aids) and NCDs (Non-communicable diseases).
The recent week featured an amazing meeting with the advisor, and the spokesperson of a President from a big country. They wanted to get to know from us (Esbjörn, Sara and myself) some in-depth information and know-how on concrete alcohol policy measures. It was a great meeting because we discussed a couple of issues and built up our partnership.
For me it was very exciting because the issue to discuss, was one that I didn’t know much about on beforehand. So, within two days, I needed to do a lot of research, reading and preparing materials, like a hand-out and a presentation. Those are the challenges I talked about earlier, that make me push the limits of my knowledge a bit more.
I’ve had fantastic first weeks and the last two weeks stand for this symbolically. I love my job!