Who is IOGT International?

We are part of a global majority: 62% of the world’s adult population chooses to live free from alcohol in any one year. The members of IOGT are part of that majority and promote an alcohol-free lifestyle with their own lifestyle choices. We are also more than just alcohol-free. We are a global movement of heart-driven people that are dedicated to empower people and communities around the world to lead a richer, freer, happier and healthier life as active citizens in their communities and societies.

In a different dimension, complementary to the lifestyle dimension of IOGT International, we are also an advocacy and campaign organisation. We are the premier global network for evidence-based alcohol policy measures and community-based interventions to prevent and reduce harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. In our political work we empower decision-makers and opinion leaders to address alcohol as obstacle to Human Rights, development, economic prosperity and well being.

We are a global social movement made up of heart-driven people who are experts in their fields and who lead by example and commit to bringing about transformative change through their values and actions.

How can I join IOGT International?

Everyone is welcome to join IOGT International. Our members are the heart and soul of our global movement and we are always thrilled for new people and organisations choosing to join IOGT International.

So, if you love what we do and want to support our values and work, it’s simply to click here and apply for membership.

How is IOGT International funded?

Independence is crucial for us, and so is a deep from-bottom-up democratic process for our Member Organizations. In order to maintain our independence and from-bottom-up process, we accept do not cooperate with industries producing and promoting harmful products, such as the tobacco, alcohol, and firearms industries.

We are supported by membership fees from our Member Organizations and individual donations from our members. IOGT International accepts grants from governments and governmental organisations to the degree that we do not become dependent on such grants for our core business.

We also welcome donations from individuals, companies and philanthropy that want to support our work and cause.

We are an fully independent non-governmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. In order to maintain our independence, we accept no money from any government, directly or indirectly.

How can I make a difference?

IOGT International offers a number of ways to get involved and really make a difference. We welcome your ideas, your skills and your drive to make the world a better place and provide enabling environments for you to realise your passion for bringing about transformative change.

If you’d like to get more deeply involved, we offer different ways to take action. Just click and explore our Volunteer Portal. Or feel welcome to drop as a mail at maik.duennbier [at] iogt.org.

You can donate to IOGT International directly. Our work benefits from the generosity of people and companies, and by donating to IOGT International, you help us create more enabling environments for vulnerable people around the world, protect more children and youth, empower decision-makers, support independent researchers, raise awareness of harm from alcohol and other drugs, expose the tactics and practices of the alcohol industry, build capacity of civil society and advocate for democracy and Human Rights in more places around the world.

Assist our advocacy efforts by going to the Action Center link on our website and sending e-mails to important policymakers, empowering them to make changes important to you.

What does IOGT mean?

IOGT means IOGT, it’s the letters for the premier global network for evidence-based alcohol policy measures and community mobilisation to prevent and reduce harm caused by alcohol and other drugs.

The 66th Session of the IOGT International World Congress, held in 2006 in Switzerland, decided to drop the meaning behind the four letters. IOGT needed to make the transition into the 21st century not just by adapting working methods and tools for our work, but also by finding a more modern and attractive external communication. We call it: new face, same soul.

Before 2006 the four letters were indeed abbreviations. In the very first days of IOGT, in the 1850s, I.O.G.T. stood for Independent Order of Good Templars.

Later the meaning was changed to International Order of Good Templars and finally to International Organization of Good Templars.

We have innovated many other aspects of our global movement, to stay in tune with the sign of the time, and our name is one of those things. Today, people not understand what “Good Templar” means or what an “order” does. Instead of creating barriers in communication, we choose to create bridges and adapting our name is one of those bridges.

If you want to read more about our proud history, you can do so here.

What does AiAP mean?

AiAP means Alcohol in All Policies. It’s an abbreviation that stands for our strategic approach to alcohol policy advocacy, which is to mainstream an alcohol policy perspective into all other relevant policy sectors, not only public health, such as economy, youth, development, trade, agriculture, culture, sports, child and family welfare and so on.

You can read more about AiAP here.

What’s so great about your new website?

Many words can be said about what the new website, launched in the end of August 2015, provides and present it’s beautiful features.

To give a brief and iconic introduction, we put together a movie about our brand new website.

Is IOGT International against alcohol?

We work from evidence-based facts: independent science shows that alcohol harm is an obstacle to global health and development, to peace, democracy and justice and to a richer and freer life for all people.

We are not against alcohol. The main purpose and main focus of our work is not to be against anything. It is to be for something. We are for a better world where democracy is thriving, peace is a reality for all human beings and all people can live in dignity leading the lives they aspire to.

Alcohol is a major obstacle to achieving that world and IOGT International works to address it. We do so by our own example, because leadership means to be a positive role model. We promote the world we envision with our own lifestyle choices – anytime, anywhere, worldwide.

For IOGT members it is essential to live free from alcohol and other drugs because we believe it allows a richer and freer, healthier and happier life. But for us, it is not so much about the absence of harmful substances. It is about the presence of opportunities and choices – to live a civic life of dedication to the community, and in international solidarity and compassion, heart-driven.

We are not against alcohol and in much of what we do, we do not even focus on alcohol as a substance. For example, our innovative prevention work focuses more on what young people do want, not what they should not do: we build capacity for media and corporate communication literacy, empower critical thinking, arrange parties and discuss norms, expectations and social constructions.

We work for a world free from alcohol harm. We work for a world where children grow up free from alcohol, where women feel save in public spaces and nightlife, where people can make free choices, where democracy is thriving, not undermined by the alcohol industry, where communities are healthy and economies thriving. We are for a world of healthy and active citizens who are empowered to contribute in all levels of society.

You can read much more about the lifestyle of IOGT here – we call it the lifestyle of the 21st century.

Is IOGT International for prohibition of alcohol?

The short answer is: No, we don’t advocate prohibition of alcohol. You can read here, what our members want us to advocate for.

The medium-long answer is: IOGT International does not advocate prohibition of alcohol. We believe that the most effective policies and laws are evidence-based and democratically anchored in the communities and societies that they are made for and thus need to reflect the needs and unique conditions of the respective constituency. While 62% of the world’s adult population choose to live free from alcohol in the recent calendar year, we also recognise and respect that many people around the world, especially in the Western world, do use alcohol.

We advocate for the right of children and youth to grow up free from pressures to use alcohol and for their right to thrive in alcohol-free and enabling environments. Along with the Guiding Principle g) of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy, we advocate for every person’s right to choose to live free from alcohol. And we advocate for population-level policy measures, the 3 Best Buys in particular, to reduce alcohol consumption and consequently alcohol harm.

The long answer is: No. Our vision is as follows:

IOGT International’s vision is a life for all human beings free to live up to their fullest potential, and free from harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. It’s a world of peace, democracy and justice where free and healthy citizens actively contribute in all levels of society.

We are thus supportive of and advocating for evidence-based, high-impact alcohol policy measures to protect the choices of all those people who choose to live free from alcohol, and to promote the health, well being and prosperity of societies around the world by preventing and reducing alcohol harm.

We think that prohibition was an experiment rooted in its time – more than 80 years ago (in the US). Obviously it had vast supporters in the United States, but failed to be implemented in other countries of the Western world. In India, for example, it is still a policy today.

We recognise that IOGT members were part of the advocacy campaign in many countries around the world in the past that wanted to see prohibition be implemented. But we were not the only ones and often not the biggest group either.

We reconize that temperance organisations used to be associated with prohibition advocacy. As J. Blocker writes in “Did Prohibition Really Work? Alcohol Prohibition as a Public Health Innovation“:

The conventional view that National Prohibition failed rests upon an historically flimsy base. The successful campaign to enact National Prohibition was the fruit of a century-long temperance campaign, experience of which led prohibitionists to conclude that a nationwide ban on alcohol was the most promising of the many strategies tried thus far. A sharp rise in consumption during the early 20th century seemed to confirm the bankruptcy of alternative alcohol-control programs.

The stringent prohibition imposed by the Volstead Act, however, represented a more drastic action than many Americans expected. Nevertheless, National Prohibition succeeded both in lowering consumption and in retaining political support until the onset of the Great Depression altered voters’ priorities. Repeal resulted more from this contextual shift than from characteristics of the innovation itself.

Times have changed. The world has endured two World Wars, numerous economic crisis and dramatic political and cultural shifts. The people carrying IOGT today, are obviously not the same people as those who founded it in 1851 or those who spread it around the world in the beginning of the 20th century, or those whoa advocated for prohibition hundred years ago.

As a matter of fact, prohibition seems to have a bad PR-agent these days. There is no evidence-based conversation about its effects and consequences, but only fear-mongering driven by alcohol industry profits. While prohibition is not a policy we advocate for, it is essential to refute the myths and half-truths that the alcohol industry is perpetuating about it because it distorts today’s understanding of the burden of alcohol harm, the need to regulate alcohol more strictly and the need to address an intoxicating alcohol that the alcohol industry spreads around the world.

For example, a new travelling and interactive exhibit on prohibition called “Spirited Prohibition in America” explores aspects of alcohol use and abstaining from alcohol that many people never thought about. What people don’t know anymore is that there was extremely high alcohol consumption – for different reasons – at the time: the average adult in 1830 consumed 90 bottles of 80-proof liquor – a year.

 

Evidence shows that prohibition had major benefits for public health in the United States. And we are proud of the IOGT members who came before us for advocating for such a policy that evidently saved many lives, protected children and families and helped improve public health and societal development.

But for us, today, prohibition is not a policy alternative for IOGT International. We think that the longer we keep the ghosts of prohibition alive, the better it will be for the alcohol industry, because questions about prohibition shift the focus from the important conversation we need to have today.

We need to talk about alcohol and cancer. Or about alcohol’s harm to others. We need to expose the interests and practices of the alcohol industry and we need to avoid to fall in the trap of their agenda. Alcohol needs to be regulated much more strictly and evidence-based. Ever ten seconds a human being dies because of alcohol. Let’s talk about that and about how to save those lives with the high-impact policy option we do have at our disposal today – the 3 Best Buys + 2.

I have a question that is not answered on this page. Will you answer it?

Absolutely. We love questions because we believe that any questions provides an opportunity. If you have a question, just send it to us – via mail, post or social media. We answer as many inquiries as we can.