SOUTHINGTON, Connecticut – Norway has had approx 133,367 cases of COVID-19 with 88,952 recoveries as of July 13. The country has experienced more than one COVID-19 lockdown in recent months. The January lockdown included plans for slowly loosen business and education restrictions while organizations distribute COVID-19 relief supplies as part of Norway’s national support strategy. As the country battles the pandemic, efforts continue to address the country’s economic concerns in areas ranging from food security to employment assistance.
Association of Food Banks of Norway
Food Banks Norway operates as a food bank support system and represents seven food banks across the country. He was also involved in the introduction of Matsentralen Inladet, a new food bank, in 2021. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in requests for food disbursements due to an increase unemployment and other factors in Norway. The Food Banks Norway network helps redistribute food from producers to wholesalers and “collaborates with over 400 non-profit organizations” and vulnerable households in its strategy to support Norway. The network also integrated seven goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda as part of its work since 2015.
Food Banks Norway project manager Paula Capodistrias informed The Borgen Project in an interview that the network has set up an “internal transport system” to “handle larger volumes of food. [t]hat could later be distributed among other food banks’ during the pandemic. To continue to meet the growing demand for food distribution, Capodistrias has identified the implementation of the Food Stations 2021 project as a simultaneous effort. The project provides small Norwegian communities with surplus food collected “from local supermarkets and bakeries”.
Food Banks Norway focuses on reduce food waste the food industry by redistributing up to 3,000 tonnes of food per year to facilities in cities in Norway. A second axis of the association help populations ranging from refugees to the unemployed. The “Matsentralen Kitchen” partnership program with the organization Unikum has made it possible to provide 7,500 meals from 4,000 kg of excess kitchen food from April to July 2020. Capodistrias told Project Borgen that the program has helped Norwegian food banks receive “24% more food compared to the same period last year, with a peak 77% more food received in March 2020 “.
Fighting poverty in Norway during the pandemic
As around 212,700 people in Norway were unemployed to some extent as of August 31, 2020, the Norwegian government has put in place protection protocols and restrictions while launching unemployment programs. The Welfare Alliance European Anti-Poverty Network Norway has been working on community-based social protection and poverty reduction efforts since March 1998. The Alliance includes 18 partner associations.
The group proposed changes to the legal aid bill in October 2020 in support the limit of income and wealth increased to 506,755 Norwegian kroner (approximately $ 57,000). This would allow more Norwegians in need to receive financial support. In addition, the group recommended an adjustment to the deductible to better reflect the financial capacity of low-income citizens to pay their deductibles. Following this, the Alliance consulted on regulations in Norwegian foster homes in December 2020 to better describe how the mandatory training for foster parents and follow-up visits for foster homes should be carried out in Norway.
The government introduced a reimbursement program which reduced the financial liability of the employer and simultaneously increased reimbursement assistance. Employees also received payments more frequently from March to September 1, 2020. After September, the government implemented a program that allowed some unemployed people on social security to apply for daily unemployment benefits after a 10 day payment period as a strategy to support Norway as a whole.
Save the Children Norway and funding support
Save the Children is a child-focused humanitarian organization. He focused on the four pillars of family protection in the Protecting a Generation COVID-19 Response Plan. Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, Save the Children Norway advocated for child protection with regard to well-being, rights and living conditions through a platform of children’s policy. The organization advocates for protection from child violence and has explained how being honest, reassuring and factual with children about COVID-19 can help children feel safe.
The Norwegian government has also prioritized other funding essential for global humanitarian efforts and beyond. Since March 17, 2020, the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency has Prioritized and recognized disbursements the essential actions undertaken by its partner organizations. Even with adjustments to subsidy regimes, a majority of 2020 project funding went to multilateral organizations, like UNICEF. Norway will also increase its International Fund for Agricultural Development 40% contribution between 2022 and 2024 to support farmers around the world.
A look to the future
The Norwegian unemployment rate has risen to around 5% in 2020, but the country continues to apply economic aid policies to ensure the well-being of the community. Capodistrias informed The Borgen Project that Food Banks Norway has “a very intense plan for 2021 with many new projects and initiatives where we aim to double the amount of food we will distribute”. This will involve communication and cooperation between donors, and food banks will remain important to the process.
In 2020, the government decided to contribute a total of 4.5 billion crowns to the COVID-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT). Rights organization Global Citizen reported that Norway donate COVID-19 vaccines to the WHO and ACT-Accelerator to help with the global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The strategy to support Norway contains multifaceted pathways that lead to increased support, economic revitalization and better protection of vulnerable classes. With time and investment, both monetary and in terms of labor, Norway is expected to gradually recover as it embarks on its current trajectory.
– Evan winslow