The RORG-network (in Norwegian: RORG-Samarbeidet) is a group of Norwegian NGOs doing Development Education (DE) in Norway. RORG is an acronym for the Norwegian word rammeavtaleorganisasjon (RammeavtaleORGanisasjon), which refers to an organisation with a framework agreement (rammeavtale) for multi-year funding for DE by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
The RORG-network was established in the early 1990ies at the joint initiative of both Norad and RORGs, which managed to develop agreements towards some levels of cooperation. Following agreement between Norad and the RORGs two part-time coordinators were employed in 1991, substituted from February 1992 with one full-time coordinator. The RORG-coordinator was entrusted with the task of coordinating activities and stimulating capacity-building within the RORGs, as well as facilitating communication between NORAD and the RORGs.
The main areas of co-operation within the RORG-network was:
- lobbying through political processes for increased funding and the strengthening of DE in Norway,
- pushing issues of common concern related to the NORAD administration of the framework agreements and
- stimulating debate on DE issues and to exchange information between the RORGs.
The RORG-network played an active role in promoting and renewing DE in Norway in the 1990ies, with a shift of focus from promoting and increasing development assistance to critical debate and engagement on broader North-South issues, stressing the importance of southern perspectives and North-South dialogue in DE.
The RORGs represent a wide diversity of Norwegian civil society, ranging from adult education associations of political parties, broad social movements like national women's´ and youth networks, as well as the church of Norway, the national confederation of trade unions and others, to internationally oriented organisations engaged in development aid, linking and twinning and international solidarity.
In 1999 the informal RORG-network was formalised with its own statutes/constitution, outlining its aims, procedures for membership and governing structures - promoting more and better DE in Norway.
In recent years around 50 NGOs have benefited from the framework agreements with Norad, of which most have been members of the RORG-network. In 2010 these RORGs received a total of NOK 35 million in Norad-funding for DE.
The extent of the DE work done by and in members organisation vary in the sense that some organisations are only doing DE in terms of annual campaigns and/or research work and research products, others have a department with dedicated staff to do DE in the organisations, for others the DE function is either a part time position of one person or part of other responsibilities in the relevant organisation. Other difference in terms of target groups, ideological and political differences, organisational cultures etc. both enrich and complicate the composition of the organisation and the work being done.
The means for doing DE include research publications, magazines, pamphlets, posters, policy interventions, public meetings, courses in formal and informal education, public awareness campaigns, exposure trips to the South, exchange programmes between Norway and persons/organisations from the South also visits by persons from the South to Norway etc. The topics and foci of activities and products differ from organisation to organisation and 'as needs may determine'.
The RORG-network runs one of the most comprehensive web-sites in Norway focussing on key and current North-South- and development issues. The site included a news service synthesizing debates, reports and developments quoting views and perspectives from developement actors, governemental and non-governmental, in the North and South. Below you will find links to some samples translated to english:
- East Europe Marching Ahead – wants more cooperation with the West and the South, rorg.no 19.09.08
- Development Policies – more than handing out aid billions!, rorg.no 15.09.08
- Aid Effectiveness = Development?, rorg.no 01.09.08
Norwegian Government policy on DE
(Extracts from the Report of the government-appointed Commission on North-South issues and Development Assistance (NOU 1995:5 Norsk sør-politikk for en verden i endring)
Norway is a co-responsible actor in a global society where poverty, unjust distribution, polution and the use of resources are challenges for a common responsability. A development that will ensure welfare and human dignity for all will increasingly have to be managed within global democratic structures.
Information and awareness-raising is important to induce changes, but also to create acceptance of such changes. The information work shall contribute to providing broad layers of the norwegian sociaty with knowledge of and insights into the global challanges facing us. The following up of the recommendations of the commission for Norways North/South policy depends on the positive support and understanding of public opinion. We have to acknowledge that we are in a process of global change that will require critical engagement and a search for new insights and new solutions. Information and awareness raising thus have to be understodd in a broader perspective aiming at stimulating active popular participation in these processes of change. It has to be a main goal for information and awareness raising to prepare a political will within broad layers of the population for the consequenses required by global sustainable development. Such a development will i.a. require a change to sustainbale production and consumption patterns, and changes in the unjust distribution of resources and wealth in the world. In such a process of change it is clear that there are both common and competing interests. If attitudes are negative, the danger will increase for changes being enforced through crisis, force and war.
Aims of Norad financial support for DE
(extract from Norad guidelines, approved by MFA in 2001)
The aim of the framework agreement arrangement is to enable a variety of Norwegian NGOs to carry out broad-based Development Education and awareness raising in Norway on north-south and development issues of current interest and importance.
The funding arrangement should furthermore stimulate:
- critical engagement and debate on current north/south and development issues,
- cooperation with the South and ensuring that perspectives and views from the South are drawn into DE,
- cooperation among Norwegian NGOs and other Norwegian actors,
- development of competence within the organisations, on DE as well as on north/south and development issues.
The arrangement is not intended to support information activities primarily aimed at promotion, fund-raising, marketing and project information.