About ODW Finland
Operation a Day’s Work (ODW) Finland is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose objective is to improve the living conditions and promote the human rights of children and young people in developing countries and to encourage Finnish young people towards global solidarity. We work towards a world where children and young people have an active role.
ODW Finland is one of the first Finnish young people’s own development NGOs. We have implemented development cooperation projects since 1967 with funds raised by Finnish schoolchildren and students. We also organize the ODW fundraising events that have become an institution in Finland and provide high-quality development education.
The annual ODW Workday is one of the highlights of the Finnish school year. It is when pupils and students spend a day working and donate their pay to ODW Finland for projects that improve the conditions of children and young people in developing countries. This allows Finnish youth to help their peers in some of the poorest countries in the world while also catching a glimpse of what working life is like.
We are an ideologically, politically and religiously non-aligned organization with 11 member organizations: student and trade unions, peace organizations and the Evangelical Lutheran Association for Youth in Finland. Our operations are governed by our Board consisting of the elected representatives of our member organizations. See a list of our member organizations.
History of ODW Finland– Action since 1967
The Operation a Day’s Work movement originated in Sweden in 1961, as students wished to honor the memory of the late Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary General of the UN who got killed in an air crash, by organizing a fundraising event. Known as a peacemaker and advocate for global solidarity, Hammarskjöld inspired students to start a collection entitled “En dag för Dag” (A Day for Dag). Later, the name evolved into Dagsverke. Soon Dagsverke – or Operation a Day’s Work – spread to other Nordic countries, as well.
The collection was first organized in Finland in 1967 when student organizations raised money for a project in Peru. During the first three years, students took care of the collection themselves, but soon ODW Finland’s other member organizations joined in, the Lutheran Church and different organizations of wage earners among others. Nowadays, a large part of Finnish schoolchildren, students and wage earners are directly or indirectly involved in ODW Finland’s work.
In the 1970s and 1980s, ODW campaigns were organized every two or three years, but since the mid-1990s, they have been arranged annually, and the collection has become a yearly tradition in many Finnish schools.
The non-governmental organization ODW Finland was founded in 1989 in order to continue the work of the ODW committees. To guarantee the sustainability of development cooperation efforts, an office with permanent staff was set up. At the moment, ODW Finland has six paid employees.