Kristine Ramm heads the Norway Chapter. To date, it has 34 members and it receives in-kind support from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Norway chapter facilitates the relationship with IAWRT's current primary funder, Fokus.
The chapter has previously managed two film advocacy projects, "The Half Widows" and the "Anti-Trafficking ." Today, the chapter focuses on holding at least two public meetings a year, drawing on IAWRT experiences and resources, and on recruitment. It also applied for and arranged the funding for the 2018 IAWRT Long Documentary in 2017.
IAWRT Norway Chapter Head Kristine Ramm reports on 2017 as a challenging year, which was marked by the growing realization of new challenges for IAWRT Norway’s role as the connection between IAWRT International and our main funder, Fokus (Forum for women and development NGO).
In a presentation to the 2017 Biennial in The Philippines (pic left with Violet Gonda, IAWRT President) Kristine outlined the continuing risk for the financial future of IAWRT. This is an edited version of her presentation.
Fokus, with their back funder, Norad, has been funding the organisation since 1997 – for 20 years now. Norad deals with aid programs, and is directly under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So IAWRT has been funded by Norwegian foreign aid money for 20 years.
Due to a change in the Norad policies, since 2015, Fokus has been requiring that a growing percentage of funding comes from our own contributions. IAWRT had been the only organisation under the umbrella of Fokus, not required to meet this rule of ‘own share’. Organisations were required to raise 5%percent of the funding received from Fokus in 2016 , 7% in 2017, and 10% from 2018 and onwards.
In the process of handing in the financial and narrative reports for 2016, we realized that meeting this requirement was much harder than we had thought it would be. At the same time, we had a handover of positions at the Norway board after elections – we lost some good experience and gained some new strong forces. Most of us are quite busy full-time working journalists, teachers in journalism and researchers – and we really did not see the full weight of the responsibility and the heavy demands.
Very soon we realized that our own contribution for 2016, that was to be 5 % on an increasing ladder, had not been covered in the right way. After weeks of hard work, with the help of Fokus, who wishes us well, we settled on the funding we had received in 2016 that could count as ‘own contributions’.
So 2016 was saved. Phew, but we were already 4 months into 2017 and were not covered at all for this year! But: We had been told that Fokus had some remaining resources from a Telethon run in 2005 that they had to spend -so we could apply for a part of this for 2017. And we did. Of course we did. In April. The answer was to come in June. June!
So we had to alert the board and make up a shadow- budget. You know, as head of the Norwegian chapter I get to be co-opted to the board, meaning I attend the meetings and can speak, but not vote.
In my very first meeting with the honourable ladies at the international board I had to put it to them that maybe we did not have the money we had budgeted for, and already had started to spend, because we were not covered as we should have been in ‘own share’.
So the IAWRT Treasurer, Violet, put up a shadow budget. And we pushed as much of the activities as we could towards the end of the year – not to spend money we didn’t have. That is why all the screening activities happened in summer and fall – the scholarships were handed out in the fall – It was not a good situation. I even suggested to drop the 2017 Biennial! These were hard times, ladies!!!!!
The Norwegian board also sent in an application to an organisation you are going to hear more about: An independent funding organisation called FRITT ORD - in English FREE Word, or Free Speech. They fund just that – free speech, in writing, in seminars and in films. They know about us from former in-kind collaborations. We had a meeting with the management in May, and found that they, or rather their director, took an interest in our film-production. So, we applied for funding of our next IAWRT long documentary.
And we applied for funding for another of IAWRT’s great projects – the Gender Mainstreaming Project.
This was in May. The 11th of May. And the International Board was eager to proceed with planning of activities – and the 2017 Biennial. As we sat there in this meeting – I suddenly realized FRITT ORD’s next application deadline was the 12th of May. At noon. Applications would be answered in June. June. So this is why the application for the next IAWRT long documentary was written the night between the 11th and the 12th of May 2017 – By a Norway board member Kristin Skare Orgeret – after having assisted her son in his exams the morning of the 12th of May. And the communication between her and myself and Gunilla the then IAWRT International President when deadline at noon approached was… exiting – yes, but we are never going to do this again. !!!
I was in the editing room, deadline for delivery approaching very fast – Kristin on the phone asking me to edit her wording – me phoning Gunilla for backup – Gunilla was such a good sport. It was all quite crazy! But this was not a good and democratic process! We will not do this again.!!!
But Kristin is a good application writer – and we got the funding in June, and we finished the contract for the new executive producer of the next long documentary.
It was a steep learning curve for the new Norwegian board – and I thank the international board for bearing with us patiently, supportively and wisely. What did Ananya (a former international board member say? “This is a wake-up call, we must come out of our comfort zone.” We (the Norway Chapter) were holding IAWRT’s fate in our hands – and we still are, unfortunately. We made it this time -but IAWRT’s funding model is too vulnerable.
Far too vulnerable.
As of November 2017, we are in the same situation once again. As we applied for a new contract with Fokus for 2018 – as we did in August- they required a guarantee for the ‘own share’ for 2018. A guarantee we could not give. We had the best intentions for writing new applications for further funding, but some of the potential funders did not accept applications before December. And we could not guarantee the results of applications not yet written. But Fokus has kept an open window for us until March – and we thank them!
So we have until March 2018 to come up with 60.000 kroner (about 7,500 USD) to cover 2018 – and until August to come up with another 150 thousand (about 19,000 USD) if we are going to apply for another contract with Fokus for 2019.
This is a heavy load on Norwegian shoulders, and as I said – the organisation is far too vulnerable. We are 7 people on the Norwegian board. We are 30 members. No, we need to unite all IAWRT members, all forces to “save the Queen”.
The Norwegian chapter’s role as connection between the sole main funder of IAWRT and the international organisation is at stake. Some of our long serving members, such as Gundel Krauss Dahl, who got us into Fokus funding some 20 year ago, might be disturbed by this. Personally, I don’t mind, maybe IAWRT is moving into a new era, and maybe that is healthy.
Kristin Skare Orgeret