Operation day’s work is the biggest solidarity campaign organized by, with and for young people. The campaign consists of two interconnected parts: the information campaign called “International week(IW)” and the OD day. Normally you would have a whole week on the international week, but at our school it is compressed into one day (two if you add in the work day/OD).
At the end of international week, Norwegian students voluntarily devote a day off their education to work for a day, thereupon donating their salary to the ODW project of the year. This year, ODW’s focus was on the world’s largest oil disaster in Nigeria.
- Through this campaign we hope to enlighten the youth in the Niger Delta about their rights, and inform them on international obligations, laws and regulations that apply to the oil companies that are currently operating in Nigeria.
“Youth helping youth to help themselves”- ODWUSA
The Niger Delta has become one of the most oil-impacted ecosystems in the world. Though oil and gas production has engendered great wealth for some, the harsh reality is that the production has led to predominantly negative consequences for both nature and inhabitants. Predictably, the Niger delta is arguably the most severely oil-damaged environment on earth. Producing as much oil as cheaply and quickly as possible by cutting corners on important fields such as safety, maintenance and monitoring seems to be a given for the big oil companies. When oil companies are faced with gruesome facts of their own work, they seem to turn around and walk away as if nothing is wrong. So far, none of the culpable companies have shown responsibility by conducting a proper clean-up nor giving compensation to the people living in Nigeria. The government and the oil companies make too much profit from the catastrophe to want to fix the madness.
Along with the environmental devastation, the lack of financial profit for the local people has fueled an extremely violent militancy.
Subsequently, ODW gives students the opportunity to get involved and help to create change. Operation day’s work is all about us; about youth. Our choices and actions can determine how the world will be for future generations. Operation day’s work is all about showing that we, the youth, see that the world is unfair, and we are taking the first step in the right direction. We believe that education is the right way to go in order to ensure sustainable development in the project countries.
In the preparation process, the first thing we did was to each pick two specific rooms that we found appealing. Luckily, but not coincidentally, me and a lovely friend called Elisabeth from my class picked the same two respective rooms. Before all else, we sat down and did some research on the content that would be presented in the two rooms. Secondly, we sat down and made two posters, one each, for the two rooms we chose to be a part of; the film room and the room focusing on the situation in Venezuela.
In the film room, we watched these movies:
They are all short movies touching the subjects of poverty, pollution, education, and the environmentalists in Nigeria.
In the Venezuela room, first amanuensis in comparative politics Leiv Marsteinstredet held a presentation on the critical situation in Venezuela. Unfortunately I feel as though I am unqualified to talk about his presentation, and it is too complicated for me to summarise, so I will leave a link for you to read if you are interested: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/venezuela-happening-170412114045595.html
International Day turned out successful due to the predominantly good planning, though there are a few things I wish were completed better. Most of those in the international class, at least the ones I spoke to, were not able to attend the rooms we wished to visit due to us having to be present in our respective rooms. I missed the two top attendees I wanted to listen to because I had so much to do in my rooms, which is very unfortunate. The second thing that could have been done better was the attendance. Unfortunately, a lot of students managed to sneak away from participating in activities. Instead of attending people were hiding in the cafeteria or even leaving the school area. I truly hope that next year there will be a better system to check if the students are present on school ground participating the entire day.
Despite a few minor flaws, I believe international day was an informative and inspirational school day. I believe I did the best I could, but there is always room for improvement. I could have interacted more with the students participating, though I talked quite a lot when being the host. In the film room, there was not much to say as the films spoke for themselves, but maybe explaining what was going to happen would have made the experience better for those attending. People were leaving and entering without notice, so it was very hard to organize a wished set-up.