NFGL Local Network Örebro begins their project year with ten members two of whom are currently on their research work in other cities. The network might be a small team, but it is indeed very efficient.
At the beginning of autumn, all networks were asked to submit an action plan to be sponsored by the Swedish Institute. We were all worried about how we were going to plan and carry out our activities with only eight people. We took a realistic approach: we would not get carried away and plan activities we could not implement.
Since we are eight active members, we decided on four major activities. Two of those activities were seminars or workshops, and the other two were field visits. During our planning, we chose not to focus on individual interests simply because we don’t study the same subjects and don’t have the same interests.
Instead, we decided to focus on the challenges our home countries are facing as most of us come from developing countries. We also carefully planned workshops for the autumn semester when we all began the year eager to achieve our goals and planned two field visits in the spring to refresh our minds when writing our thesis.
Photo: Event attendees enjoying ethnic food
The first activity planned and executed was about the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. To allow other students within the university to get to know the Swedish Institute and our respective home countries, all NFGL members were asked to make a presentation on their countries’ positions and challenges.
Our second activity was a seminar on leadership and networking for all our members to learn from.
The third activity is a visit to the Örebro municipality responsible for water and waste management to learn how Sweden is so successful in providing safe drinking water and how they control waste management. Finally, our last activity to be carried out will be a visit to the UN City to understand their missions in developing countries.
We were proud to successfully carry out the two activities in the autumn with 51 people attending. We also notice that cooking ethnic foods seemed to attract a lot of students! Food brings people together, so we encouraged NFGL members to bring a dish from their country which was a success.
We had some issues finding speakers for our leadership and networking activity. This was because we wanted people to volunteer and did not offer compensation because we were not sure if we could. However, we were able to handle this challenge by sharing our need for speakers on all our social media platforms. We were able to get two students with a great deal of expertise, and the day turned out very well.
What we have learned
– Planning activities ahead of schedule works for us because it gives us lots of time to adjust when needed. We contacted offices and people willing to support our network two months before the event to give them time to prepare.
– Meeting regularly is also crucial as it gives people the time to bring their ideas and views to the table for discussion.
– Excellent communication and information sharing help members to be aware of what is going on.
– Being able to get everyone to contribute with their expertise is also vital as it makes members feel valued when they take ownership of a project.
We can proudly say that our network has been successful so far with everyone contributing with their time and expertise to the organisation. This shows us that small teams can also be effective if everyone feels valued.