Meet our Nordic Fellow Eddi Eidsvåg
Eddi is the founder of Pøbelprosjektet. An initiative that supports youth to enter the workforce, recognize their potential and acquire the attitudes and habits that are needed to obtain and hold a job.
His Changemaker journey
Eddi’s entrepreneurial life began early on. At an early age, he was taught that it is of upmost importance to dream. When he was twelve, he created kids’ houses for his friends who didn’t find enough quiet at home to do their homework. At age 14, he founded a restaurant with the money he received from his confirmation gifts. From 1989 to 1991 Eddi founded a Norwegian collective for people with drug addiction that focused on getting them back to work.
In 1997 Eddi set up his own bakery. He put an advertisement in the newspaper to request that Pøbel apply for internships. This advertisement gained immense interest, public attention and one position at the bakery grew to seven. Afterwards, Eddi began to think about what pøbel (“Troubled youth” in Norwegian) means in society.
From 1997 to 2009, he developed the concept of Pøbelprosjektet while working at his bakery. Eddi worked with his Pøbel employees to co-create the content of the courses. He also wrote several cookbooks during this time.
In 2009, Eddi created Pøbelprosjektet and was initially sponsored fully by NAV with a base in Stavanger, Norway. In 2012, Pøbelprosjektet opened operations in Oslo.
Eddi is a brilliant lecturer, social entrepreneur, visionary, stand-up comedian and baker.
Although the Norwegian government provides well-funded conventional educational opportunities and an abundant array of welfare services to its citizens, those offerings are not designed to address the needs of thousands of young people who may lack the self-discipline and/or social skills required for successful employment or meeting performance standards.
Eddi’s Pøbelprosjektet is successfully addressing that void with an intensive, six-week training program and a rich and growing array of follow up activities. With its “tough love” approach, Pøbelprosjektet has succeeded in instilling in its participants both a heightened sense of self-worth and a deeper understanding of the consequences of dropping out. Besides, it also serves as an effective substitute for the absence of a supportive family structure in the lives of most of the project’s participants.
Complementing those activities, Eddi has also built a network of more than a thousand employers across Norway who regard the successful completion of the project’s training program as a trusted “seal of approval” when they are hiring new, entry-level employees.
With these accomplishments—and attendant reductions in the Norwegian government’s welfare payments for unemployed youth— Pøbelprosjektet is playing an increasingly important role in reshaping education policy in the Nordic region.