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Solidarity in practice NORWEGIAN PEOPLE’S AID RESULT REPORT 2009

SOLIDARITY IN PRACTICE We support people so that they may defend themselves and promote their own interests. Our work is based on equal cooperation with partners. Charity gives the donor control over the recipient whereas solidarity involves respecting partners’ integrity and their right to set their own conditions.


Activity accounts as of 31.12.09 ACQUISITION OF FUNDS

- Never before has Norwegian People’s Aid had such a large income as this year and never have we used more money in promoting solidarity in practice. EXPENSES BY ACTIVITY AREA

Income from membership Public donors Others Total donors Gaming and lotteries Donors Total collected funds

Mine clearance 237 mill. Emergency aid and 97 mill. health work Long-term development 258 mill. Asylum and integration 97 mill. Members’ organisation 16 mill.


(figures in whole thousands)

Activities which fulfil NPA objectives Refugee asylum centres and other operations units Sale of advertising space in APPELL Activities which create income Product sales Total accrued funds from operational activities Net finance posts Other income


TOTAL ACQUIRED FUNDS Africa Asia Middle East Europe Latin America Global projects Norway

351 mill. 68mill. 124 mill. 72 mill. 40 mill. 11 mill. 219 mill.


94 kroner goes towards work to promote democracy and a just distribution of power and resources, the clearance of land-mines and cluster munitions, asylum and integration work and rescue services. 6 kroner we use 4 kroner to obtain new funding and 2 kroner on administration.

of the remaining

• Norwegian People’s Aid works in close collaboration with accountants and an audit committee in relation to the use of funds and fund flow within our own organisation and in that of our partners. • Norwegian People’s Aid has a well-established sound system of internal notification and a clear, robust anti-corruption policy (read more on page 36).

The Accounts, Audit and Auditor’s Report for 2009 may be downloaded as a PDF from

30 553 55 170 85 722 90 222 840 3 502 94 564 -419 13 822 939


Gaming and lotteries Donors Product sales Other expenses Total costs to acquirement of funds Mine clearance Reconstruction, food and emergency relief Long-term development Hospital operations and other health work Attitude-changing and anti-racist activities Refugee reception centres & other operations units Members’ organisation Information work in Norway Project follow-up at Head Office VAT payments Sum kostnader til formålet Administrasjon


1 185 621 773 20 102 641 874


11 590 11 813 1 511 5 444 30 358 237 309 96 735 258 030 16 255 8 799 88 573 16 158 8 027 25 164 -1 692 753 357 20 303 804 018


Allocation of activity results Transferred to/from Equity with externally imposed restrictions Transferred to/from Equity with self-imposed restrictions Transferred to/from other Equity TOTAL ALLOCATION

15 397 1 325 2 199 18 921

Contents Norwegian People’s Aid has organised its operations within four activity areas: Rescue services, asylum and integration, development work and humanitarian mine clearance. In this report you can read about some of what we have worked to achieve, both nationally and internationally.




young people between 13 and 30 are members of Norwegian People’s Aid. RESCUE SERVICES




authorised crews are on stand-by in their local communities, making sure that Norwegian society can feel safer. ASYLUM AND INTEGRATION



children avoided having to remove their underwear when Norwegian People’s Aid put a stop to the Directorate of Immigration’s age-test examination. UTVIKLING



farming families’ 5-year battle for water contributed to the High-Plains Indians’ work for rightful distribution of natural resources in 2009. MINEARBEID



million Zambians can celebrate after their country is declared mine free.



Werner Anderson/Cox

Norwegian People’s Aid in Norway Tromsø



Maria Høiden (21), Tromsø Health and Rescue Services Trained ambulance service worker in Tromsø “The reason I joined NPA is the challenges. You’re a volunteer of course and you provide help and make yourself useful in a different way from what I do at work. I also get more courses, get to help with searches, and improve myself too.” NORDLAND



students met up for the student gathering in Trondheim

Marie Ackermann (18), NPA Youth Malm Student in further education “I’m concerned about helping and about the conflict in Gaza. I’ve got involved with Norwegian People’s Aid because they’re international”

Malm Trondheim


Several thousand

Sandnes inhabitants were vaccinated against swine flu with the help and support of Norwegian People’s Aid Sandnes




teams given first aid during this year’s Norway Cup HEDMARK






youths enjoyed a fantastic summer camp at Utøya



asylum-seekers got to ask direct questions of top politicians concerning Norwegian asylum policy at the Asylum Grill event


Seeks change in power relations – People are poor because someone wants them to be, says Secretary-General to Norwegian People’s Aid, Petter Eide. He thinks that development aid must contribute to a fairer distribution of resources. Kristine Lindberg

– Poverty endures because someone wants it that way, usually those sitting in positions of power. It’s a conscious policy – poverty is created by people and maintained by people, says Petter Eide. – The authorities in every country have the responsibility for ensuring access to services and promoting good development for all. If we, as an international organisation, go in and do the job for them, it also removes the pressure on heads-of-state to do it themselves. Our role is to contribute to fairer development in the long term rather than to deliver social services to poor countries, he explains. Most people connect us with classic aid work and emergency relief, but what you’re saying here doesn’t support such an idea? – No, and it’s high time we came to a clearer specification of what NPA’s role is, answers Eide promptly. Norwegian People’s Aid has a political approach to its work. I am convinced that a better division of resources is the key to fairer development. There has been too little focus on this in development aid. We also have to look at power and who influences political decisions. The power relations have to be changed. I am willing to assert that this way of thinking is what will give results in the long term. Can you give us an example of this work functioning in practice? - Yes, among other things we have had an important share in the political change in Bolivia. We have long

been collaborating with the social movements of indigenous peoples and farmers and have contributed to their building up a political capacity. These movements have made a strong contribution to a lasting change of power. For the first time in history a president has been elected who has redistribution of resources as one of his primary objectives. That’s how we think about aid, says Eide with enthusiasm. But Norwegian People’s Aid clears mines and cluster munitions from very many countries around the world. Isn’t that delivering a service? – Yes, that’s right. Norwegian People’s Aid is not an emergency relief organisation but we do undertake humanitarian work to do with mine- and cluster-munitions clearance. In this we have a slightly different perspective from that of long-term development work. But here too political change is the key issue. If we hadn’t achieved binding agreements which ban the production and spreading of mines and cluster munitions, we could go on clearing them for all eternity. All NPA activity is linked by a number of overriding, fundamental values concerning solidarity and human dignity, deeply rooted in the organisation’s 70-year history and its connection with the labour movement.

Sissel M. Rasmussen




Secretary-General to Norwegian People’s Aid, Petter Eide.

“Our role is to contribute to fairer development in the long term rather than to deliver social services to poor countries.”

Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

YOUTH Norwegian People’s Aid Youth is involved in activities within rescue services and international solidarity. There are over 2000 members aged between 13 and 30 in Norwegian People’s Aid Youth. 9

In 2009, 4400 turned out for the youth campaign Involve Yourself and 200 participated in the student gathering in Trondheim. 30 young people from Norwegian People’s Aid refugee reception centres were involved in NPA Youth activities.

Norwegian People’s Aid + Solidarity in Practice = True tex t

Solveig Igesund, Leader for Norwegian People’s Aid Youth



hen the bombs fell on Gaza in January 2009, it awakened enormous engagement in the members of Norwegian People’s Aid Youth. By participating in demonstrations and petitions, we showed our solidarity with the Palestinian people. This engagement continued in the 1st of May campaign with a Gaza film evening, appeals and street collections. Then, at NPA Youth’s first ever student gathering, we got to meet Suha from the West Bank, take part in a debate about reconstruction after the war and learn to give public speeches about Gaza. The year was also affected by the autumn election in which asylumseekers were presented as criminal fortune-hunters and as a problem to Norwegian society. NPA Youth demonstrated against the government’s severe asylum policy; we wrote reader’s letters and arranged a human library. At this year’s summer camp, young people from NPA refugee reception centres took part in the traditional cup competition, health and rescue training, barbecuing and lots of fun. Our antiracist work has also been bolstered by an enthusiastic new group in Fredrikstad who, along with other NPA Youth activists, commemorated hiv/aids day by handing out condoms and raising consciousness about the issue. NPA Youth leaves a year behind it full of enthusiastic voluntary activity and looks forward to new challenges. Our health and rescue group will continue to show solidarity and care for tired or lightly-injured participants at the annual Norway Cup and we

will all stand side by side with victims of discrimination and repression both in Norway and elsewhere in the world. Through a strengthening of our political profile, we will become natural partners for left-wing youth organisations and in 2010 we intend to get even more young people to demonstrate Solidarity in Practice through Norwegian People’s Aid!

“NPA Youth demonstrated against the government’s severe asylum policy; we wrote reader’s letters and arranged a human library.”

Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

First student gathering ever An array of top-ranking researchers and aid workers inspired participants at NPA’s first student gathering in Trondheim. tex t

Mari Storvold Holan

I engasjert: – Vi sitter bare her og prater. Men hva kan vi gjøre, spurte ei jente under Gazadebatten.

t is quiet in the corridors of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim one Friday morning. But the relaxed morning atmosphere soon dissipates when Norwegian People’s Aid Youth take over the refectory area and kick off a large panel debate. Whose responsibility is it to bring life back to Gaza? People say to me that everything’s quiet in Gaza. That’s the real tragedy – there’s actually nothing happening, says an engaged Kirsten Beck-Olsen, NPA’s

resident representative in the area. – GO TO GAZA

More than 200 participated in the gathering in Trondheim in the autumn of 2009. The students discussed Gaza and asylum policy. – What can we do, as students, as people, when the situation is such a stalemate? We’re just sitting here talking. But what can we do, the panel is asked by one girl from the floor. – To begin with you should learn from the mistakes of our generation, then you should go down there, see what’s happening with your own eyes and force those in power to hold Israel accountable, encourages Norwegian People’s Aid Chairman Finn Erik Thoresen to applause from the floor and corroborating nods from the rest of the panel. RELEVANT DEBATES

Whilst the Gaza and asylum debates were open to all NTNU students, the lecture about life in the aid sector was reserved for members of Norwegian People’s Aid Youth. Thea Westby (21), taking development studies in Bergen, was to be found among the participants throughout. – The debates during the student gathering are very relevant to what I’m studying. The media image creates a very negative picture of Africa but here we’re meeting people who confirm that it isn’t true, she says. Iselinn Pauli Martinsen (21), who is taking the sane course in Bergen, agrees: – Here I get to learn things for free and to meet people who have been working with exactly what I want to do, she says. Youth




Norwegian People’s Aid have 60 local health and rescue groups and 2000 authorised volunteers on stand-by. Volunteer crews are deployed for avalanche accidents, search and rescue and for tasks relating to patients in remote areas. They also assist with first aid at sports events and concerts. In 2009 crews were deployed a total of 122 times on such work. During the Norway Cup, football players from 1400 teams received first aid from Norwegian People’s Aid volunteers.

The challenges of being a volunteer Both Norwegians and tourists are encouraged to use the great outdoors. Then they must also be saved when things go wrong. tex t


Sissel Fantoft

– we have the wind behind us and there’s no-one who doesn’t think we do an important job, but there’s still a lot of party speeches. When the national budget is announced, the politicians aren’t quite as generous, says Health and Rescue Services leader in Norwegian People’s Aid, Jon Halvorsen. - Our grants have been doubled from six to twelve million kroner during the last period but we’d ideally like the figure to come up towards 50 million, he continues. TOO FAR FROM OSLO

Health and Rescue Services leader in Norwegian People’s Aid, Jon Halvorsen.

Over the last few years there’s been a ten per cent increase in incidents and we have to take action two or three times every week.

- National debate has a lot to do with fear of a muslim youth carrying out a terrorist act but what we know will happen is that someone will go missing in the mountains. Local resources are absolutely crucial: We can’t send people out from Oslo to Tromsø if there’s an avalanche; they’ll all be dead before help arrives, says Halvorsen. PAID TIME OFF

Another challenge is working together with the other groups involved in the rescue field. - Since our operations exist on a voluntary basis, we do our exercises in the evenings. All the others operate during the day so we must manage to find a way whereby we can carry out joint exercises. We ask our employers, both public and private to give our members paid time off, without being noted as absent, whenever someone is to be saved during the day. Such things are part and parcel of understanding what we are doing, says Halvorsen. ALWAYS PREPARED

Stian Edvardsen is leader of the ambulance service in Tromsø and an active member of Norwegian People’s Aid. He always has his stand-by pack with him. - In the public sector, fortunately, it’s accepted that one can leave work if called out for a rescue operation during working hours. Here in Tromsø we maintain a high level of preparedness during the winter and we are ready and able to spend 24 hours in the field if necessary at all times, says Edvardsen.

Rescue services


Elmer Laahne


Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


authorised crews are on stand-by in their local communities, making sure that Norwegian society can feel safer authorised.


Rescue services

Flu on the field 16

Where in previous years we bandaged legs and patched grazes, this year our focus during the Norway Cup was to get parents and players to wash their hands. It saved the cup. tex t

Øystein Sassebo Bryhni


hen 4H had to abandon their summer camp owing to an outbreak of swine flu, the media turned its spotlight on the world’s largest football tournament. Fortunately Norwegian People’s Aid Health and Rescue Service was well prepared and already in contact with the chief medical officer for protection against infectious illnesses. - 14 days before the cup we wrote to all the teams giving advice from the health authorities about what to do in the event of an outbreak, recalls Monica Lervik, leader for the field hospital. - We also bought in large amounts of disinfectant and encouraged Norway Cup to do the same. - The last thing we did was to set up a separate isolation room in the field hospital with its own equipment. GOOD COLLABORATION

The Norway Cup management are impressed by the way in which Norwegian People’s Aid handled the situation. - Everything went off without a problem thanks to the collaboration between us as the arrangers, Norwegian People’s Aid and hired medical personnel. We all had the same approach and we are very satisfied as to how things were handled, says Terje Lund, Deputy Chairman on the Norway Cup board. - When you see how the field hospital is run, it is easy to be amazed that

the whole thing is based on voluntary work. There is high professionalism at all levels. THE EKEBERG TROLL

At the end of the tournament, Norway Cup presented the Ekeberg Troll to Norwegian People’s Aid in appreciation of its efforts. 37 years’ experience meant that normal service was maintained despite the fact that the management had its hands full with the swine flu. - You might have thought our own people could have panicked, but when the first cases occurred we held an information meeting and they just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it. Noone went home to avoid getting infected, says Monica, who left the daily running of the field hospital in the capable hands of her two seconds-in-command. - Subsequently I’ve thought how well the ordinary service functioned. Our crews had a very good understanding of the situation. Everything ran smoothly and if it hadn’t been for the swine flu, I probably could have sat with my feet up on the table, says service leader Frode Hansen. The health and rescue service perhaps thought they would get a wellearned breather after the cup was over? Not a chance. They immediately moved into pandemic preparedness mode across the whole country.

Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


Service leader Frode Hansen assures TV2 viewers that everything is under control on the Ekeberg playing fields. photo: Tine Solberg Johansen


teams were given first aid the Norway Cup 2009.

Rescue services



Norwegian People’s Aid is the only humanitarian organisation in Norway to run refugee reception centres. Through the media, coursing and information work, cooperation with the labour movement and broad-based engagement from our own members, we reach out to many different target groups with initiatives for integration and against racism. At the end of 2009, Norwegian People’s Aid was running 11 refugee reception centres. We had undertaken 13 Women Can courses, 25 Human Libraries, 15 courses for guardians and 15 Diversity and Dialogue courses.

Asylum-seeker for loan – Jeg tenker ikke så mye positivt om dem, sa Ingrid Røskard (16), helse og sosial elev ved Romsdal videregående skole i Molde, om asylsøkere før hun møtte en levende asylsøkerbok på Menneskebiblioteket. tex t


Tine Solberg Johansen

– there's a refugee reception centre right beside where I live and there’s been such a lot of trouble with it. They’re always stealing bicycles and stuff, she told us. Ingrid and the rest of her class visited the Norwegian People’s Aid Human Library when its bus-tour called in at the high school in Molde. For the Human Library Bus, one of NPA’s tools for combating prejudice, this was just one of seven stops on its 2009 Norway tour. LARGE SELECTION OF BOOKS

On the available to loan list in the Town of Roses was an asylum seeker, a person with HIV, a Somali, a disabled person, an Iraqi Kurd and a woman who had undergone gender-confirming surgery. Ingrid’s class was divided up into smaller groups, which borrowed one book each. The students were allowed to ask whatever they wanted as long as they returned the ‘book’ in the same condition as when it was lent out. – Why did you really come to Norway, asked Ingrid’s classmate, Greta Thiru (16) of the Somali book, Fuad Adam (27). – I came because we do not have peace in Somalia, he replied. There has been war there since I was seven years old. Now I’m 27.

– Do you have any brothers or sisters then, asked Tove. – I had a brother but he’s not alive any more. He’s dead too. – That’s very sad, said Tove. What do you think about articles in the papers and on TV about asylum-seekers stealing and raping and stuff, she asked.

came here. In Somalia we talk with everyone if we know them or not. Here you only talk to people you know, he said.

“In Somalia we talk with everyone if we know them or not. Here you only talk to people you know.”


– There are asylum-seekers who do not do good things. Just like there are criminal Norwegians. But there are good asylum-seekers too. Most are really nice, he said with a smile. – So what’s your impression of Norwegians, asked another of Ingrid’s classmates. – You’re nice but very asocial. I’d only ever met social people before I


– Do you still have contact with your family in Somalia, followed up Tove – No, said the Somali book. He took a short pause. – They are dead now. They died in the war. Asylum & Integration

prejudice: Elise Jørstad ( from right), Ingrid Røskard and Greta Thiru asked the Somali book about what it’s like to be an asylumseeker in Norway.


Werner Anderson/Cox


Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


Norwegian immigrant women are better prepared to speak up at parents’ meetings having taken part in Women Can courses.


Asylum & Integration

The watchdog wins Asylum-seeking children can keep their underwear on during the Directorate of Immigration’s age test. Norwegian People’s Aid had a legal evaluation undertaken that shows that the examinations are in breach of both Norwegian and international law. 22

tex t

Tine Solberg Johansen


n September the news broke that the Directorate of Immigration (DI) wanted to determine the age of asylum-seekers by carrying out so called intimate examinations of their genitalia. - Norwegian People’s Aid got wind of the plans in September last year through our work for guardians for single asylum-seeking children, recalls Anne Cathrine Seland, head of the National Department in Norwegian People’s Aid. - Our instinctive reaction was that this had to be in breach of human rights. For this reason we engaged Mette Larsen from the law firm Stabell and Co and got DI to put their initiative on hold until a legal evaluation had been made. ILLEGAL

In January, the lawyers’ crystal clear verdict arrived. - Our conclusion was that the examination is an encroachment on one’s private life, and for such an encroachment to take place, consent has to be given. Since the result of an asylum case can be affected by refusal to take such an examination, it must be considered as force and is therefore a violation of one’s private life, explains lawyer Mette Yvonne Larsen. The evaluation also gained attention outside Norway. - First I got a telephone call from the secretary to the UN High Commission for Refugees who had heard about the age examination. They reacted im-

mediately and requested a meeting. We met in the early morning of the 21st January, the same day Norway was to appear at a hearing of the UN Children’s Rights Committee. After having heard about the legal evaluation, they said they wanted to take the matter up with the Norwegian authorities, says Larsen. During the hearing of the UN Children’s Rights Committee, Larsen made sure that all representatives were given a copy of the legal evaluation of the age examination. - I was able to lay the conclusion of the legal evaluation right on the table in front of each member of the UN Children’s Rights Committee. Since it was the first thing they saw when they sat down, they began looking and reading, and it became part of the hearing. Lysbakken was asked to assure the committee that the examination would not be introduced. He replied “We need to take a closer look at this”. The report following the hearing in Geneva criticises intimate examinations as “invasive, culturally insensitive” and “unreliable”. At the same time the committee asked the Norwegian authorities to ensure that age examination take place in a scientific manner which takes every step to avoid the risk of infringing the child’s physical integrity. POLITICALLY DEAD

The Department of Justice has deemed it necessary to underline that no such intimate examinations are undertaken Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

today. Officially, the legal basis for intimate examinations and how they affect human rights is being considered. The Norwegian People’s Aid report is to be taken into consideration. As far as Norwegian People’s Aid understands it, however, the Department of Justice has shelved the idea of intimate examinations for good. The whole issue has become politically embarrassing and the government desires that it receive no further attention. Secretary General to Norwegian People’s Aid, Petter Eide, believes that the authorities will think twice in future before suggesting initiatives without previously investigating the legal and human rights aspects. - We have made it very clear that we are a watchdog that will not accept the Norwegian authorities introducing initiatives into asylum affairs without checking out the legal and human rights issues , says Eide.


children avoided having to remove their underwear when Norwegian People’s Aid put a stop to the Directorate of Immigration’s age-test examination.


avoided taking clinical test:

Examination of the genitalia of asylum-seeking children as part of the age test has been stopped and in all probability will never be introduced. Library photo: Werner Andersen/Cox.

Asylum & Integration

Norwegian People’s Aid internationally


Bosnia H


farmers’ cooperatives in rural Honduras have received deeds to the land they cultivate. Cuba Honduras Guatemala El Salvador

Asma Qweimani, female mine clearance operative, Jordan “I will never forget how awful the first few days in the minefield were. But after a lot of hard work, many challenges, evening shifts, burning deserts and loneliness, we managed it. Now we are women who insist on being allowed to show what we can do in a society that thinks women are weak.”

Nicaragua Guinea-Bissau

Colombia Ecuador



women and men completed the indigenous peoples education EIFIN Colombia where the rights of indigenous peoples and women form part of the syllabus. Chile

Development Mine action Development and mine action






dogs graduated from the mine-dog centre in Sarajevo and will contribute to making the world safer from mines






Tajikistan Iraq

Lebanon Jordan

Laos Burma Vietnam




Ethiopia Uganda Rwanda Tanzania


9,7 million

people in Rwanda are safer after the country was declared mine-free.


Zimbabwe Zambia



40 000

South African young people have influenced their own future. The organisation for development and cooperation in southern Africa base their youth work on the opinions the young people have expressed.


families in Cambodia have received acceptable compensation after having been forcefully moved from their homes.



Norwegian People’s Aid cooperates with organisations of farmers, indigenous peoples, women, youth, human rights activists and volunteers in over 30 different countries. Our partners work towards democracy, human rights and the rightful distribution of power and resources in their respective countries. At the same time Norwegian People’s Aid works with political lobbying in Norway. In 2009, work undertaken by Norwegian People’s Aid led to the Norwegian Pension Fund’s withdrawal from Elbits Systems, who run a surveillance system on the Israeli wall on the West Bank.

A life saved – Jestina Mukoko The fear remains in freedom-fighter Jestina Mukoko. But she’s alive. She continues to work for human rights in Zimbabwe after Norwegian People’s Aid helped to bring about her release from her kidnappers. tex t


Tine Solberg Johansen


ingle mother Jestina Mukoko leads one of Norwegian People’s Aid’s partner organisations – one which documents breaches of human rights. On the 3rd December 2008 she was taken from her home by security forces. Like-minded organisations in Zimbabwe, supported by Norwegian People’s Aid worked tirelessly to find her and to make the authorities accountable. The state eventually admitted that she was in their custody, accused of sabotage and terrorist activity. Liberation organisations countered, claimed the accusations were fabricated.

and at the other human rights organisations in Zimbabwe, but the fact that civil society prevailed over the government in her case shows that things can happen and that the work for democracy and human rights must go on.

”I emerge from this experience not as a bitter person but as a better person.“


After enormous pressure, Jestina was finally released in spring this year. In September the charges against her were dropped in a judgment from the High Court against her treatment at the hands of the state. - I emerge from this experience not as a bitter person but as a better person. Better in the sense that I can now understand what other activists in Zimbabwe have been through, said Jestina to the media after her release. - I am so relieved that the charges against me have been dropped. I think this victory was solely made possible by the support from the international community, other journalists, colleagues in civil society and human rights campaigners, she added. CONTINUING WORK

Fear still remains in Jestina’s office Development

free: Jestina Mukoko says she is not bitter about her abduction. She is happy she now understands what other human rights campaigners have been through. photo: Martin Schutt/EPA/Scanpix


Werner Anderson/Cox


Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


farming families’ 5-year battle for water contributed to the High-Plains Indians’ work for rightful distribution of natural resources in 2009.



Fight for water in the Andes In the village of San Pablo Urco on the high plains of Ecuador, the local population have a long tradition of fighting for their rights to natural resources. Now mining and tourism threaten the fragile ecosystem and the population’s access to water. tex t


Helle Berggrav-Hansen


public meeting for small farmers has been called at the meeting house in San Pablo Urco in the Ecuadorian Andes. Those present are all members of COINOA, the local farmers’ organisation, and one of the partner organisations of Norwegian People’s Aid. The sun is shining outside, but inside it is dark. Between 40 and 50 women and men fill the benches. A woman with long black hair, a pink skirt, a seagreen shawl and thick stockings stands in the doorway. Her hat waves with peacock feathers. Curious children peer into the room through her legs. Flies buzz. Today’s meeting is about the challenges to do with land and water in connection with the new law on mining. GAINED ACCESS TO LAND

The land around here was previously controlled by the priesthood, the armed forces and other authorities, but as early as the 1940s and 50s the indigenous population, small farmers, began to organise themselves to secure their rights to the land. In the land reforms of the 1960s and 70s, the land was redistributed to previous tenants and land-workers. They were then organised in cooperatives but these were gradually dissolved as the government prioritised larger actors who were producing goods for the export market. CORRUPTION

– So then we began to organise ourselves to get roads, electricity and water, recalls Cesar Pilataxi, one of the traditional leaders of the village and one of the founders of the local farmers’

organisation. Pilataxi takes a break from the meeting to tell us about the local population’s battle before and now. The farmers in the area have always had access to the water that runs down from the Andes but when the large flower plantations bought up large areas of land they began channelling it off. – There was a lot of corruption; those who paid the most got the water. We nearly had no water at all! Cesar is eager in his gesticulations, his hair tied in a long ponytail beneath his green velvet hat.

manent snow. The particular grass which grows there holds back the water and filters it before it runs further. But because of poor administration and over-use, the Páramo is beginning to dry out. For this reason the area must be protected and managed very carefully. – We often use meetings to raise consciousness about how to take care of our water, says Cesar. – It is important that the local communities assume a collective responsibility.


The water is threatened from several sides. The Páramo has become an attractive area for the tourist industry, mining companies have found gold and silver in the mountains, and several multinational companies are interested in bottling the water to sell to people in the cities. There are also plans to channel the water down to the new airport outside the capital, Quito. According to Ecuador’s constitution, water cannot be privatised. Grass-root organisations in Ecuador are now fighting for this to be reflected in legislation. They want to make sure that local communities together will be able to protect and administer the water resources. – My dream is that we have enough water for our villages in the future. We are all together on this and it is the water that has brought us together. Cesar’s gaze falls on the green hills in the background: the way up to the Páramo and the Andes, the source of the water itself.

They voluntarily made irrigation channels, organised the use of water and fought for rightful distribution. They were constantly in conflict with the authorities and the large flower plantations but they gradually gained support from more organisations, even the smaller flower plantations. In the end, they won through. – Now everyone gets water in a fair says, says Cesar, nodding seriously. NEW BATTLES

But even though the farmers’ organisation and it allies managed to obtain rightful distribution, water is still a challenge for the farmers in San Pablo Urco. - We have much less water now than before. Ten years ago the water pressure was three times higher. Cesar illustrates the shrinking amounts with his hands. The supply of water from the Andes is a part of a fragile ecosystem known as Páramo, the high mountain area between the tree line and the perNorwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


fought: Indigenous people of the Cotopaxi province took to the streets and demonstrated for water rights in the new constitution. It brought results. photo: Cristina Santacruz





Norwegian People’s Aid is one of the world’s largest actors within humanitarian work against mines and explosives. The organisation undertakes explosives clearance, training of mine dogs and political lobbying. In 2009 we contributed to the establishment of a new international standard for declaring an area safe from explosives. This means that explosives-clearance workers need no longer comb each area where they suspect undetonated bombs and mines may be found. Rather they can free up land on the basis of thorough mapping. This means a better use of resources and that more people may use the land in their local areas more quickly.

– How mine-clearance work changed me – This was my last day, I won’t be coming back tomorrow, thought mine-clearance worker Asma Qweimani time after time while clearing her first minefield. Now she has been clearing mines for over a year and is jubilant about both mine-free access roads and an improved self-image. 33 tex t

Per Nergaard


n the 12th October 2008, a group of women in Jordan began a task which then seemed impossible to complete. Asma Qweimani, one of those ten women, talks about their achievement: – Our first day of training: Everyone said it was impossible and no-one believed that women could do it. Even when we had begun our training, and then completed it, there were many who said it was just an experiment. CRIED

”I will never forget how awful the first days in the mines were.“

And then we began work in our first minefield, Sabha 7. I remember it like it was yesterday. I cried and felt it was the most difficult day of my entire life. Our team-leader saw me crying. I can still remember what he said: – Asma, he said, you have to be patient. This is just your first day; everything will be fine. I don’t want to see defeat in your face. I know you can do this. At the end of each of the first working days we felt we had failed when we looked at our productivity. We thought it was so low and you can’t imagine how disappointed we were. Every single day on the way back on the bus there was someone who said: – That was my last day, I won’t be coming back tomorrow. But we all came back next day and every day until we reached field Akhaider 4. CAN MANAGE ANYTHING

I will never forget how awful the first few days in the minefield were. I’ll never forget the tears we felt. Minefield Mine Action

brave: Asma Qweimani cried a lot during her first few days as a mine-clearance worker but after more than a year in the field she feels that the job has made her tougher and more capable of tackling the challenges in her own life.

Akhaider 4 was our next job and it felt like impossibility itself. But today, after a lot of hard work, many challenges, evening shifts, burning deserts, loneliness and the feeling of being totally isolated you get when you’re working in the back line and the only thing you can see is another female clearer working on the access path, we made Akhaider possible. We did it! And we managed it! And we can do much more! We female mine-clearance workers can do lots of things, not just clear mines, but also take on other challenges and problems that women meet in their lives. Now we are women who insist on being allowed to show what we can do in a society that thinks women are weak. To become a mine-clearance worker wasn’t easy, it was very tough, but because it was tough it made me tough enough to tackle mu own life and my own challenges myself.


million Zambians can celebrate after their country is declared mine free.


Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009


Werner Anderson/Cox


Mine Action

Clearing deadly remains from a forgotten war – Watch out for bombies, warns Tia Vongmaksm (34) his three children ever day when they leave for school. Bombies are the nickname for cluster munitions and explosives in Laos. During the Vietnam War 270 million cluster bombs were released into the country. Nearly 80 million still lie undetonated on the ground. 36

tex t

Tine Solberg Johansen


ia is a Norwegian People’s Aid mine clearance worker in Saravan Province, Laos. The province is one of the most hard-hit areas in the country from American bombing during the Vietnam War. It is also one of the poorest areas in Laos. Norwegian People’s Aid has 49 mine clearance workers in action in Saravan. BOMBING AROUND THE CLOCK

Tia is just too young to have experienced the USA bombing of Laos, but in the same way as he tells his children to watch out for bombies today, his parents were always telling him what it was like to live in a country which was bombed on average every eight minutes, 24 hours a day for nine years. The bombing of Laos is often talked about as the forgotten war. Whilst most people know about the war in which North Vietnam tried to take South Vietnam under communist rule, few have any insight as to how the neighbouring country, Laos, was affected by the conflict. Ho Chi Minh, the road used to move both supplies and troops from North to South Vietnam, crosses large parts of East Laos. Naturally it became a strategic target for American bombing in efforts to stop the North Vietnamese. American bombers dropped more bombs over Laos from 1964 to 1973 than were dropped during the entire Second World War. At the end of the war, almost 40 per cent of agricultural land in Laos was unsafe owing to undetonated bombs.


- I work for Norwegian People’s Aid because I have a dream about saving the lives of the villagers, says Tia. He is ready for work. Wearing a beige T-shirt carrying both the flag of Laos and the Norwegian People’s Aid logo, he finds his clearance partner and goes out into the field. They work in pairs: One moves forward with the metal detector and the other carefully digs with a spade wherever the detector gives a signal. - Before I got this job I was working at a school in my village, but I’ve also worked out in the rice fields and I know how difficult it is when there are bombies lying in the fields and in the thick scrub that one often has to remove to grow rice. That’s why I wanted to do this job; I know how important it is, says Tia. - Of course I was afraid when I was working in the rice fields, but I had no choice, he goes on. Despite the fact that just under half of the agricultural area in Laos is infested with undetonated bombs, four out of five people in the country live from agriculture. - I saw someone from my village killed by a bomb when cutting scrub to grow rice, but I needed food so I couldn’t let it stop me working in the rice fields, says Tia. FREEING LAND FOR FARMERS

In the areas Tia has searched stands rows of red sticks, at roughly 5-metre intervals. They indicate cluster muniNorwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

making the country safe: Tia Vongmaksm is making the world’s most bomb-infested country safer. photo: Marianne Hagelund

tions finds that have not yet been removed. When they have been detonated or cleared, the red sticks are replaced with white ones. When the whole area has been cleared, the land is ‘freed’. This means that it is declared safe and that farmers can go to work again. Then Tia and his mine clearance colleagues can move on to another area, search for more explosives and, in due course, declare yet another area safe. Clearing explosives is hard work, but the clearance workers themselves, the authorities and humanitarian organisations such as Norwegian People’s Aid work towards the common goal of making the country safer. Tia hopes that one day he will not have to deliver the “watch out for bombies” speech at breakfast.


After the Vietnam War, 80 million cluster bombs still lay undetonated on the ground in Laos. Norwegian People’s Aid mine clearance workers remove the remains from a forgotten war. photo: Werner Andersen/Cox

Mine Action


Corruption – a hindrance to development 38


here is widespread agreement that corruption is one of the most important hindrances to development in many countries. In 2009, Norwegian People’s Aid worked is about 40 countries. Many of these countries are highly ranked on the list of the most corrupt countries in the world. For people who live there, it creates considerable problems in their everyday lives. In some places, corruption has become part of the system; in others, part of the culture. The explanation is often the same. Great poverty, low wage levels and many having difficulties making ends meet. Where money is in circulation, some see the chance of making themselves richer or of ‘top-

“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” ping’ up a low wage with bribes. The problems are worst for those lowest on the ladder. For us who work in many countries with widespread corruption, this is a reality we have to relate to. We recognise the problems but do not accept them. That’s why Norwegian People’s Aid has zero tolerance of all forms of corruption. Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

OUR FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION Corruption or corrupt behaviour can take many forms: demanding bribes; demanding private kick-backs for contracts entered into on behalf of an employer; removing documents to conceal breaches of routines, threatening colleagues to behave corruptly; favouring a relative over someone better qualified; failure to report corrupt behaviour; entering agreements without contracts or carrying out double book-keeping.

“Norwegian People’s Aid has zero tolerance of all forms of corruption” In 2008 Norwegian people’s Aid passed its own guidelines for anti-corruption work. And in 2009 notification routines were established, meaning that the head office in Oslo now has a system for receiving and handling notification about undesirable incidents and situations wherever they might occur in the organisation. Over the last year our work with internal control has been further strengthened with more operatives and the establishment of a central purchasing function. Employees who discover or may reasonably suspect corrupt behaviour linked to our work are obliged to report it. Norwegian People’s Aid takes all such notifications seriously and we make sure that ‘whistle-blowers’ can act without having to fear negative consequences to their job situation or to their private lives. Norwegian People’s Aid recommends that all our partners establish guidelines and procedures within their own organisations. We carry out evaluations of our partners’ administrative and control routines and clearly communicate our zero tolerance policy to our partners. At the same time we recognise that many of our partners lack the necessary capacity or training to deal with these challenges. Where we discover this to be the case, we either build in such training into our collaboration or offer our partner external support.

INCIDENTS IN 2009 In 2009 Norwegian People’s Aid investigated two concrete examples of suspected corruption or corrupt behaviour.

Sudan Norwegian People’s Aid has its largest country programme in Sudan. This requires sound administrative routines and systems and organisation which can ensure control of the use of funds. In 2008, our internal review revealed problems in the administrative and support functions to the programme. The necessary guidelines and procedures were in place but were not being sufficiently complied with. The internal review was unable to prove corruption as such but the lack of respect for routines and procedures made the organisation more vulnerable to corrupt practice and we found that a tightening of the purchasing and administrative routines was necessary. The organisation of the financial and support functions was also strengthened. A new internal review was conducted in 2009. Much had improved but the new review discovered that non-compliance with the guidelines for tendering and the entry of contracts still existed in parts of the emergency relief programme. Our regional office in Nairobi was the place largely involved in purchasing and tendering procedures. To ensure that no documentation was lost, the office was therefore closed temporarily and all documentation relating to the programme examined by an external auditor. Again no corruption could be proven but the control revealed clear breaches of our internal guidelines for tendering and the entry of contracts. One of the measure taken to ensure better control was to transfer an even greater part of the purchasing and logistics functions to our repre-

sentative office in Juba, South Sudan. These functions were previously divided between our departmental offices in Nairobi and Kampala, making the control aspect too broad and making it difficult to follow up and check that our procedures were being followed. The internal review and the subsequent restructuring have also resulted in postrelated consequences for the two individuals in management positions who failed to ensure that routines and guidelines were complied with. Burma During 2009, lapses in the administrative routines of one of our partners were discovered. The internal investigation showed that parts of our support were not being used in keeping with the contracted obligations. The lapses were followed up with the local partner and Norwegian People’s Aid demanded that the lacking documentation be provided. Further payments to the organisation are currently under evaluation and routines for transfer and control have been tightened. To ensure that our partners are aware of our anti-corruption policy and to strengthen their own control routines, an anti-corruption seminar for all our partners in Burma was arranged in 2010. Training was also given in sound accounting and purchasing routines. Other Some of our other local representative offices have also dealt with a variety of less serious incidents of breach of, or failure to follow, guidelines at the local level. Investigations were also begun in 2009 into one of our programmes in Africa. So far no corruption or corrupt behaviour as been discovered in other programmes.

“Norwegian People’s Aid undertakes to follow up, investigate and take legal action in cases where corruption has been discovered”



People’s Aid on the right track The desire for change and new impulses is greater than ever in Norwegian People’s Aid – It is exciting to lead an organisation with so many committed, skilled people in the voluntary force, says Chairman Finn Erik Thoresen. 40


Kristine Lindberg


eople who want to support an organisation are often committed and have a wish to contribute voluntarily, but not necessarily through membership in an organisation in the traditional sense. The tendency today, particularly among younger people, is a desire to get involved through action and not through passive supportive membership or traditional honorary capacities. We wish this trend welcome but it means thinking anew about what we offer our current and future members, says Finn Erik.


And that’s exactly what Norwegian People’s Aid is doing. In 2009, the organisational committee kicked off a broad debate. The goal is to promote activity and to slim down bureaucracy in Norwegian People’s Aid. The committee put a critical spotlight on how Norwegian People’s Aid functions today and the proposals for change have been brave. Engagement in all the various parts of the organisation has been enormous and I applaud the committee for having driven straight at the heart of our challenges and for putting forward important proposals both large and small, says Finn Erik. In the middle of the four-year governing period, a national conference is held in Norwegian People’s Aid. During the conference in 2009, the board was happy to be able to conclude that Norwegian People’s Aid is on the right course towards a more modern, effective members’ organisation.


One of the most exciting things that has happened in the organisation in recent years is the establishment of student groups under Norwegian people’s Aid, says Finn Erik. In 2009 the first student festival was arranged in Trondheim; it was a great success with healthy attendance and engaged NPA members and students. Norwegian People’s Aid has a lot to offer on a national basis for those who want to get involved with voluntary work. - The rescue service is constantly attracting new members, but we also have areas such as international solidarity where we see more students becoming involved. Not least, we have the ‘People’s Friend’ project that I find particularly inspiring. That’s aimed at the integration of refugees and asylumseekers in local communities round the country, sys Finn Erik Thoresen. - At the outset we see unfortunately that in many places a certain scepticism exists in the local population to do with the setting up of reception centres and the arrival of asylum-seekers. The People’s Friend project is a bridgebuilding project between the reception centres and the local milieu, where the exchange of information and natural meeting places between the local population and asylum-seekers are arranged. We still have a long way to go and can do more to involve local chapters in the centres. There’s a great potential here, not least for all the families with small children and young people that sit alone Norwegian People’s Aid Results 2009

Norwegian People’s Aid Chairman Finn Erik Thoresen

at the reception centres. There’s nothing to be gained by these groups being isolated and that’s why the People’s Friend project is so important, says Finn Erik. NEW ENTHUSIASM

- As Chairman, I’m lucky enough to get to travel a lot in Norway, meeting our volunteers. My impression is that there’s a new enthusiasm and vibrancy in the organisation and for me that’s really rewarding. Many of the chapters are excellent organisers, promoting new recruitment and arranging collaboration between their own local chapters and others. This shows that People’s Aid is on the right track!

70 years’ engagement for solidarity in practice


orwegian people’s Aid is the labour movement’s humanitarian organisation for solidarity. We support people in their struggle for more influence over their own lives and the development of their society. Solidarity in practice is our vision. Norwegian People’s Aid is an organisation governed by its members. Many of the organisation’s 12,000 or so members do voluntary work in their local communities. First Aid, rescue and disaster preparedness are important parts of their efforts. Members can also get involved with international solidarity work and local anti-racism initiatives through

1939 The LO secretariat approves the foundation of Norwegian people’s Aid. Aid to Spain and Worker’s Health Corps formed the basis of the new organisation. 1940 Health and rescue services mobilised across the country following the outbreak of war. 1946 Health stations and company health services established across the country 1948 Millimek A/S, a company for disabled workers opens at Løren in Oslo. 1960 The peak year for “Housewife holidays”. Over 6000 women and children participate in holiday activities under NPA. 1962 Norwegian People’s Aid sets up action committees, firstly against drowning accidents, then against accidents in the home. 1963 Norway’s first nursing home for epileptics opens at Kure Gård. 1972 NPA Oslo runs a field hospital and health stand-by service at Norway Cup. 1975 The labour movement collects 7 million kroner for reconstruction in Vietnam, which NPA distributes.


Norwegian People’s Aid. Internationally, Norwegian People’s Aid is engaged in over 30 countries. We work in partnership with local organisations and authorities to ensure a solid local commitment to our projects. Norwegian People’s Aid is one of the world’s foremost organisations within humanitarian mine clearance and a board member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). The organisation was founded by LO in 1939 and celebrated 70 years in 2009. Below is a selection of milestones from the Norwegian people’s Aid story.

1988 1986


1982 1981



The first asylum reception centre opens at Klemetsrud, Oslo. Collaboration established with the humanitarian arm of the SPLM liberation movement in South Sudan. “Human Worth”, NRK’s TV collection brings in just under 70 million kroner for Norwegian People’s Aid. NPA engages on the Palestinians’ behalf during the war in Lebanon. Norwegian People’s Aid mobilises to relieve the food crisis in Poland: “Poland doesn’t need sympathy – Poland needs food”. International work strengthened by agreement between LO and Norad. Determined that work shall cover: disaster work, emergency aid and cooperation with liberation movements. International engagement begins in earnest. Portugal, Chile and the liberation movements in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia are the first important tasks.

Arbeiderbevegelsens arkiv

41 international commitment: Aid for Spain made the basis for the foundation of Norwegian People’s Aid in 1939. On the 1st of May 1948 many people walked under the parole “The Franco dictatorship must be overthrown”. Freedom for the Spanish people”.

1991 1992 1996 1997

1998 2004 2008


Norwegian people’s Aid starts setting up and running volunteer exchanges in Norway. A separate mine group is established within the international division. “Joint action against racism” established in collaboration with LO. NPA actively participates in political work that culminates in an international ban on landmines. Jody Williams and the Mine Campaign, of which NPA is a member, receives the Nobel peace Prize. Guardian programme for asylum-seeking children begins. Mine-dog centre in Sarajevo established. NPA central to the international campaign leading to the agreement for a ban on cluster munitions, signed in Oslo on 3rd December. Work divided into two core areas: “Protection of life and health” and “Rightful distribution of power and resources”.


Johnny Delet, Askøy 30 YEARS' MEMBERSHIP

Arthur Bekkenes, Askøy Knut Haugen Oslo Kjersti E.R.Jenssen, Oslo


Coop EL & IT Fagforbundet Fellesforbundet Forbundet for Ledelse og Teknikk Gjensidigestiftelsen Government of Japan (Embassy of Japan in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) Handel & Kontor Helse- og rehabilitering Industri Energi IMDI LO NORAD Norsk Arbeidsmannsforbund Norsk Fengsel- og Friomsorgsforbund Norsk Nærings- og Nytelsesmiddelarbeiderforbund Norsk Tjenestemannslag

Postkom Statoil The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs The European Commission The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining The German Federal Foreign Office The International Trust Fund for Demining and Victim Assistance The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs Transportarbeiderforbundet UD UDI UNDP UNOPS Utenriksdepartementet US Department of State


Published by Norwegian People’s Aid 2010 Editor: Kristine Lindberg The Annual Report is also published in Norwegian Design and layout: Heydays Printed by: Aktietrykkeriet AS Print run: 9000 Cover photograph: Werner Anderson/Cox English translation supplied by: Neil Howard

RETURN ADRESS Norsk Folkehjelp Postboks 8844 Youngstorget 0028 Oslo



Norwegian immigrant women are better prepared to speak up at parents’ meetings having taken part in Women Can courses.


authorised crews are on stand-by in their local communities, making sure that Norwegian society can feel safer.


farming families’ 5-year battle for water contributed to the High-Plains Indians’ work for rightful distributionof natural resources in 2009.


million Zambians can celebrate after their country is declared mine free.


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