The current wave of attention might make it seem like tackling alcohol harm is a new thing, but far from it. Movendi International has been working in the area for nigh-on 170 years, with a name change from IOGT last month the latest evolution. Its president Katarina Sperkova talks with me here about the organisation’s legacy, its values, policies and hopes for the future.
- “We can see a boom in coming out as a person who has a problem with alcohol and being confident in talking about it.” [1m47s]
- Reasons for the name-change: “There are very few members in the organisation that understand what a ‘good templar’ is. They have never been part of any order.” [4m15s]
- “IOGT [the name adopted in 2006] was difficult to explain. … People were asking what it is? We didn’t have any good answer. We really needed to move away from that name.” [4m57s]
- On the use of ritual and regalia. “I have never experienced it as a member and I have been active in the organisation since 1999.” [6m29s]
- The number of member organisations with such practices “I would count them on one hand” [6m51s]. The practices are important for them as part of a recovery process.
- On being an umbrella organisation: “We are not taking active steps in finding individual members.” [10m13s] It might assist in creating an organisation when one does not exist.
- The situation in the global south, “It reminds us very much of the situation in 1851 in the US [when Movendi began].” [13m43s]
- 14 out of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals are “negatively impacted by alcohol harm”. [16m57s]
- Areas where it has a negative impact are: Poverty, gender-based violence and sexist advertising undermining gender equality, access to water.
- What does “alcohol prevention” mean in the organisation’s catchline? “What we are talking about is to reduce harm caused by alcohol, or prevent harm caused by alcohol. … It is definitely not a prohibitionist term.” [20m16s]
- The phrase also includes recovery because people who recover “create alcohol-free space”, which influenced people around them. [21m54]
- “We do not interfere in people’s personal choices. What is important for us is what a society offers to people.” [22m50]
- Have we got another 170 years of this same story? “I have a very strong belief this is about to change. … I think it has already changed.” [25m17s]