My first year as Moniheli’s executive director came to an end in August and what an exciting year it was! This year has been full of changes, as well as new and arising opportunities. Moniheli is a growing network and an organization that is a desired partner to associations, municipalities, ministries, and the media alike.
The pandemic has affected our work a lot throughout my first year. At Moniheli, we have had to work from home and adapt many of our operations according to the global situation. The Multicultural Independence Day organised annually in December is for many of our members and partners an important place to meet and celebrate together. Last year, we had to honour it online. Similarly, the World Village Festival was moved to the web. This pained us a lot, as the joy of being together was missing, although the virtual events also reached new audiences.
Throughout the year many new and important matters have been carried forward. On top of supporting its member associations and promoting their interests, Moniheli equally assists in housing, education, healthcare, and inclusion. We launched the DigiUp project, a new platform to improve associations’ digital capacities. We have also worked to increase the voting participation in the municipal elections, and our project against racism strengthened organisations’ capacities to combat racism.
Our operations grew and we also received even more funds to support financially our member associations. It is important that small organisations are able to receive funding for their work, as they can see first-hand where crucial resources are needed.
I consider important the one-on-one conversations with smaller member associations which allows us to exchange views and for me to support them. I am especially happy that the number of Moniheli member associations has increased during the year, by more than twenty from a bit over a hundred. We are now also able to represent them on many new fora.
We became members of the European Commission’s Expert group for Immigration as well as to the monitoring group for the Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. I was also chosen as a reserve member for STEA (Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations). Moniheli has now presence in places where decisions are made.
Moniheli is always open to new ideas. For me, it is important that Moniheli is seen as a notable partner for different initiatives, and we are often contacted about them. The funding of NGOs is a uncertain which affects Moniheli as well. Simultaneously, there is a growing and diverse demand for our work to which we would like to answer.
Moniheli is actively creating a Finland where diversity is a richness, and everyone is equal. There will be challenges in the future but at Moniheli, we are prepared for it. None of the abovementioned I could not have done alone, without Moniheli's board and my colleagues who are hardcore professionals but do their work with a big heart.
Together for the future.