Dear friends,

We have entered unexpected times when we are all of a sudden exposed to a completely unforseen situation, in which conditions change rapidly, and our lives have to be re-organized. Without exaggerating, many countries have declared national crises. Different governments are taking measures to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections as much as possible. The order of the day is physical distancing and social solidarity* to give the healthcare systems and the heroic health workforce a fighting chance to save lives and help heal people in this pandemic. These measures mean keeping people further and further from each other. These measures test us and our societies. Our systems are being put to the proof and every persons’ solidarity is to be demonstrated.

These times and this situation made me think about the role our movement plays in the society. We are following many members on social media and see how many of you are discussing the consequences of the drastic changes for your activities and for your constituencies. What happens to all people whose only stable point of the day is the group meeting in the evening where they can finally come, feel some support and experience they belong? What happens to all the children that can’t call the places they live in homes and where family members become a threat? What can our organizations do to help people cope with their vulnerability and loneliness? What can we do to help protect and support our healthcare system and the health workers?

We see more and more quarantine orders being implemented and the requests for self-isolation and physical distancing are urgent. For the privileged ones, this situation can be even enjoyable for a few days until we have cleaned our apartments, re-planted our flowers and caught up with all Netflix series. What to do then? In the end we are social beings and need to hang out with each other, create meaning together, learn together. For the less privileged and more vulnerable ones among us, physical distancing, isolation and a society on hibernation is not an opportunity but a threat and source of deep anxiety.

There are a number of solutions to many of the issues that have emerged now and that I’ve touched upon above. But this is important: I do not have all the answers. In this situation, more than ever, we need solidarity and we need to rely on each other. I know that many of you are thinking about affected people, families and communities and contemplating coping solutions. We need that. Solidarity means compassion, empathy, and the dedication to making a difference for people, communities – especially the more vulnerable ones – and societies at large and solidarity is part of our DNA as movement.

That is why we would like Movendi International to open space and provide the platform for the potential that is among our members and contribute with our part to ease the current situation.

From this week forward, we are committing to the following solutions:

Support for virtual meetings

If you would like to organize online meetings for your members and you do not have any good electronic platform for that purpose, feel invited to let us know and we will make our virtual meeting platform freely available for you.

For instance, we have managed our most recent Extraordinary World Congress through this platform. Therefore, we believe it can work very well for other kinds of meetings you, our members, would like to organize and facilitate.

We are of course ready to assist you and introduce you to the system.

Please feel free to express your interest by sending an email to our administration officer Aleksandra:

  • aleksandra.ruminska [at] movendi.ngo with the subject line “We would like to use your zoom platform”.

Interactive online gatherings

In addition, we will be also happy to share with our members access to Mentimeter – an online poll/presentation tool that would allow you to facilitate more interactive virtual meetings.

Please feel free to express your interest by sending an email to our administration officer Aleksandra:

  • aleksandra.ruminska [at] movendi.ngo with the subject line “We would like to use Mentimeter for our online meetings”.

More content and online discussions from Movendi

We will intensify the production of more content and the hosting of our own virtual meetings.

As you know, every month, we hold a webinar. That will continue. And in addition to that, we are now opening for weekly virtual gatherings on a number of topics, for our members to join:

  1. Talk about alcohol policy worldwide. Discussions about the latest (weekly) alcohol policy updates from around the world with Maik on Fridays at noon (UTC), starting this week. Join here!
  2. Hang out with Kristina. Sober Inspiration talks with Kristina on Saturdays at noon (UTC). Join here!
  3. Wellbeing Wednesday. Join our virtual conversation to talk about mental and physical health and wellbeing, sharing tips and discussing various podcasts and articles (the list of inspiring podcasts and articles will be made available) at noon (UTC). Join here!
  4. Study circle about Big Alcohol. Online study circle starting with reading and discussing the book “Heineken in Africa”. We will share the book with you if you do not have it and cannot afford to buy it. This study circle commences Tuesday next week with a simple kick-off meeting at noon UTC. Sign up here!

These are virtual meetings that serve to create community, come together and provide space to discuss, share and get into depth of a number of different topics.

We will of course continue with and step up further our work with content productions, sharing lots of stories and updates through our Worldwide Alcohol Policy Newsletters that provides carefully curated alcohol policy news, science digest, members highlight, big alcohol watch and opinions of our members. Here is the latest one.

Feel free to check out our awesome blog portal with lots of interesting articles, our alcohol policy newsfeed for daily updates, our members highlights, and our science hub for the latest studies and scientific advancements in the fields of alcohol harm and policy.

Spotlight on you!

We want to listen to you, give you space for sharing your good practices or questions and bring together others who can benefit from or contribute to your reflections and thoughts, solutions and habits.

Should we start a physical activity challenge for Movendi members? How to remain positive? What are the things you focus on? All these and more questions are circulating and YOU might have an inspiring answer that helps others.

Share your questions, ideas, and inputs here!

We will follow up with concrete online sessions.

Support for maintaining sobriety

For some of our members, group meetings and the connection to other sober people are crucial for their recovery and maintaining their sobriety. It is about attending recovery meetings, group therapy, exercise classes, or other cultural and recreative activities.

And we know that people might feel anxious and worried about coping strategies in times of physical distancing, self-isolation and a hibernating society. Therefore, Movendi will also dedicate resources to sharing sober inspiration for healthy ways that affected people can stay connected and maintain their recovery if spending more time at home and more time alone and this time of drastic unpredictability feels difficult to deal with.

Warm greetings, stay safe and let’s make sure to support each other,

Kristina

Get to the complete toolkit to deal with physical distancing and self-isolation during the pandemic

Physical Distancing Coping Kit

*Note:

Reframing our collective experience during the coronavirus pandemic

It is important to use accurate terms and concepts, especially for collective experiences. Therefore, we have heeded the advice of our members to reframe our collective experience during the coronavirus pandemic and the hibernation of society, including quarantine.

The media, decision-makers and other opinion leaders have mis-named (and likely misinterpreted) what is taking place now. As a matter of fact, we are NOT practicing social distancing. Rather, we are all practicing physical distancing with social solidarity.

We ARE together in this. We need compassion for one another. We support each other and back up our neighbors, friends, colleagues wherever they may be.

The definition os social distance is:

Social distance refers to the extent to which people experience a sense of familiarity (nearness and intimacy) or unfamiliarity (farness and difference) between themselves and people belonging to different social, ethnic, occupational, and religious groups from their own. Social distance is not a static cognitive attribute of acceptance. People can shift and change their sense of affinity or dissonance with particular groups across different contexts.

Source: Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology