IFWEA affiliate AOF Norway celebrated their 90th Jubilee by asking their member organisations to make a donation to IFWEA, rather than give them gifts. As a result, IFWEA has received a generous donation of NOK 227 500 (R300 000) from AOF Norway!
Gro Svennebye, Deputy Chairman, AOF Norway explains how it happened:
For our 90th anniversary in 2021, AOF wanted to use the opportunity to give attention and support to our international colleagues and sister organisations through IFWEA. IFWEA contributes to global enlightenment and knowledge to provide a better understanding of the importance of union work and the labour movement. IFWEA’s approach to this is “not to concentrate on what is to be done, but on what must be learned, to form what is to be done” – not unlike AOF’s starting point from 1931.
AOF encouraged our member organisations to provide a gift of solidarity in connection with our anniversary, and it is with great gratitude and pride we can present IFWEA with a gift fund of NOK 227 500. AOF’s member organisations are national trade unions as well as other political, social and cultural organisations within the Norwegian labour movement and society at large. AOF aims to develop its partners’ strengths and values, promote gender and cultural equality, further equal opportunities for all to take part in adult education activities and prepare individual members to take an active part in work and society as a whole. AOF also aims to be the leading provider of adult education programs for the world of work in Norway.
The Jubilee was planned to be celebrated 13 December 2021, the day after the actual foundation on 12 December. Due to the pandemic, it was delayed until 23 March 2022. The Jubilee was celebrated with an event with over 200 invited guests for dinner in the Oslo Congress Center. The dinner assembled our employees from the whole country, leaders and representatives from AOF’s partners and the Norwegian trade unions, members of the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament), the leader of LO in Norway (The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions) and the Mayor of Oslo. In her speech, Mayor Marianne Borgen thanked AOFs contribution to lifelong learning for working people over the last 90 years, and for still being relevant and important. As a symbol of this, she also presented AOF Norway with a work of art. The LO leader, Peggy Hessen Følsvik, also emphasised the importance AOF has had and still has for trade unions and for all their members.
Sahra Ryklief, IFWEA General Secretary, responds:
On behalf of the Executive Committee and affiliate organisations of the IFWEA, I wish to express our gratitude to the member organisations, leadership and staff of AOF Norway for keeping the flag of internationalism flying high in the field of worker education. AOF’s decision to request that, on the celebration of their 90th Jubilee, their member organisations make pledges to IFWEA, is very welcome. The total donation amounted to US$23 668, 00. This level of solidarity does not just occur. The education the AOF has and continues to provide is a major contributory factor to the Norwegian approach to internationalism and solidarity.
As worker educators, we build capacity in our movement for those suffering the most under inequality and marginalisation, so that they can make themselves heard and seen formulating their own solutions. We commit our work to encourage, educate and enable their capacity to work in unity, articulate their needs and seek positive solutions to the common difficulties they face. The IFWEA Secretariat devotes its activities towards enhancing our affiliated worker education organisations capacity building resources and methods, for the benefit and use of the grassroots leadership of these workers’ organisations and communities. This generous donation will contribute to us doing this, by seeding a sustainable resource to support IFWEA’s strategic work in the difficult years ahead. We are extremely fortunate that the AOF has been and will continue to be, a leading stakeholder and partner in IFWEA.