What Örebro’s NFGL Local Network has learned from planning events

NFGL Local Network Örebro shares their successes and challenges when planning activities.

What Örebro's NFGL Local Network has learned from planning events
Photo: NFGL members at a planned event

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.  

Our successes

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. 

Our challenges

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. 



Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.