Tuesday 4 August 2009

The Northern Hub and Frivillighet Norge (Association of NGOs in Norway)

The dinner at the stunning new Norwegian Opera House was fabulous. The Opera House is an architectural masterpiece. The pure lines of the white marble walls and gently curving roof make an impressive statement set against the bay of the Oslo Fiord. Unfortunately it was raining or Brigitte tells me she would have walked me up on the roof (see her in photo above!).

And for lunch I had gone to The Grand Cafe; for no other reason than Ibsen used to lunch there. Apparently he left his office nearby at the stroke of 11am and walked to the Grand Cafe where he sat at his regular table and ate herring. Such anally retentive behaviour goes a long way to explaining the difficulty and gloom of his plays! I ate frugally (though not on herring) as some of the dishes appeared to involve a mortgage application as well.

Today I have been talking through our plans for the Northern Hub for Euclid and the growth of the Norwegian sector. It is always fascinating to contrast and compare notes on the way sectors have developed. The sector here is strongly geared around volunteering and there is only a small amount of public service delivery. We had a long talk about whether that will change with political developments. Already Sweden is moving to more third sector delivery and Denmark has a strong tradition of such delivery.

It is clear too that Norwegians take very seriously their obligation to volunteer, with an impressive 60% of the population actively engaged, as opposed to the UK's 30%. And they tell me to have a career in the sector here you have to be a volunteer yourself to give you credibility!
And there is a very strong youth sector, where the emphasis is on organisations run by the young people ( defined as over 12) themselves. All out of school activity is run by voluntary organisations and so its a strong part of the sector.

I had an interesting meeting with the Head of the Norwegian Association for Adult Learning. We talked about leadership development and third sector learning- he has joined Euclid. And that provides me with a great link to my sister Sara who has just produced yet another book on teacher development, " The Insiders guide for new teachers"! To order it click here

I'm told it's the "bees knees" on this subject!

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