written by Siiri Jaakson
We finally got together again in AM2021, this time through the internet. We have to admit that in one year, we have learned so much more, how to use the opportunities that digitalization can give us. Hello – we did even dance and have a party online 🙂
So, let’s be honest the AM2021 was just great, thanks to the organizers!
It proved again that ENIEC is a place where you can always come, be yourself, and get support for a common goal.
But going back to last year, I want to share the story of our Finnish team to explain the background of the Tallinn Fund.
To organize AM takes a lot of your time, and energy. But when the puzzle pieces come together, it is great! In the end it offers also great satisfaction when everything runs smoothly. I would like to talk about this “backstage” side of organizing the Annual Meeting, which we usually don’t talk about – money. But please remember, these are only our experiences, and you can’t generalize everything.
It was very clear from the beginning that though get receive funds from ENIEC it is not enough for organizing the 2,5 day event. So, we had to think hard from the start, how to cover expenses in the budget. ENIEC board came up with a great idea, to set up a financial group for this issue. The financial group wrote a letter, that should help us to find sponsors. We made a fundraising contact list. We really tried, but unfortunately, this method of raising money did not work out for us.
Estonian’s have a habit, to take care of everything by themselves, and usually, no-one will help you just like that or sponsor your event out of nothing concrete to gain out of it. We have even an expression in Estonia – there is nothing, that “we, as ”a soviet woman” can’t do or manage”.
The other issue, which you need to understand is that because of Estonian’s background and history, the themes that include elderly migrants are new, unfamiliar, not clear. And it is not easy to break this attitude with one letter by strangers, by e-mail.
So we had to figure out some other methods to raise the money.
After long talks and negotiations with different officials of the Tallinn government, we managed to get the first day of AM, the opening ceremony (including venue, food, drinks) without any costs. Tallinn City Government supported us and became our sponsor. Once again, I have the opportunity to thank them for their cooperation! It was a relief and victory for us and helped us a lot. But there was still a lot of work to do.
We traded the best prices from hotels, restaurants, lecture halls, transport tickets and we still had a big hole in our budget.
Finally, we figured out that we need to do something different to meet our goal and make AM a reality. So we came back to the beginning and reminded what is the strength of the ENIEC network. And the answer was easy – it is our knowledge, that we share every year in our AM. And if we manage to sell our knowledge and skills to different parties, it will be great and we may gain some money out of it.
We found a partner in Estonia – who was interested in our knowledge of dementia topic. It did take only a few hours, to make a deal with them – they will organize a conference in Narva, and we will bring the content to the event. Now I must thank you once again, dear colleagues, for your collaboration – Frank, Jennifer, Conny, and Lola – you made this possible. We did the same thing in Helsinki, with Jennifer’s help. Also, our organizing team runs different trainings and informal events here in Finland. We would like to thank also Jan, Frans, Roland for their support.
And finally, we worked it out. We got everything organized and the content and speakers were ready to share with you our theme:
The Legacy of Cultural Contexts in the Lives and Identities of Minority Older Persons Europe. Cultural factors and social identities as a source of support for older people.
Of course, it is a pity, that we could not arrange the AM 2020 in Tallinn. But we are not sorry. Our team had a unique opportunity to learn through this new topic and to grow as a team. By now, as a team, we have taken our cooperation together to another level. We have done a lot in Finland in the past year together, and the work continues.
For the future Organizing Committee teams – it is hard work, but also a joy. You just have to remember, there is nothing that you cannot manage. We, ENIEC members, are thankful to come together anyway, no matter what. It will be great to see you all soon.
Our ENIEC Finnish team is grateful that the increase in our funding has found the right outcome. We believe, that the Tallinn Fund will provide the basis for new cooperation projects and will bring together even more common brainstorms in the ENIEC network.
Let’s be active, let’s think together and write projects to participate in the Tallinn Fund!
Tallinn AM 2020 team, thanks to you all
with Tuulikki Hakala, Eva Rönkkö, Susanna Lehtovaara, Inka Lehtonen and Alina Ahtamo