In recent weeks, I have been thinking a lot about our organization's vision: “A democratic world characterized by solidarity and equality where alcohol and other drugs do not impede people's welfare, freedom and security” and what that really means and how we can get closer to that vision step by step. This in connection with several major changes in Swedish politics and Swedish aid.
A key word is solidarity. Both for us as the IOGT-NTO Movement, the entire movement and for our politicians. How do we go from merely talking about solidarity to something even more important, how do we act in solidarity?
Focus on the aid's purpose
A few weeks ago it became official that Sida's director general, Carin Jämtin, will not have his appointment extended but will end in May this year. In an article in the newspaper Omvärlden, Anna Stenvinkel, Secretary General of ForumCiv (the framework organization at Sida to which we belong) is quoted:
Now that the future of Swedish aid hangs in the air, we sincerely hope that the government remembers the purpose of the aid: to make a difference for people living in poverty and oppression, not to promote Swedish interests.
This reminded me once again of the word solidarity. Swedish aid is not for Swedish interests, it is not for Swedish aid organisations. It is for children, women and men who find themselves in poverty, in oppressed societies and situations. It is for them that we do what we do as the IOGT-NTO Movement. It is for them that we work to minimize the harmful effects of alcohol.
Walk the talk
Solidarity is a beautiful word but also an uncomfortable word. That requires action. I can't just talk about it, I need to "walk the talk" Show what I say by actively doing it myself. Something that several of us in the movement do by choosing not to drink alcohol. To show in solidarity what damages alcohol causes.
How do we show solidarity both in our everyday lives but also as a movement in Sweden and around the world? How does Sweden as a welfare state show solidarity? Several rhetorical questions that I think about these weeks.
What makes me think of you? You are welcome to write and tell; firstname.lastname@example.org