"Not quite sure I'm clear on exactly what you mean by 'linked agenda', but this sounds weel within the capabilities of OpenOffice. If it's in you're friends skill set, it's a good choice - especially if not willing to learn something new & time is short.
If you're friend could learn (or be willing to learn) Tcl, Python or Ruby, I think these are also good choices. They all have excellent docs / examples available on the web, can produce UI quickly & easily (depending on how you feel about 'easy') and have libraries available to make database access relatively painless. Although unless you're willing to provide some encouragement, this is not a project I would throw at someone who has never programmed before.
However they choose to proceed, you'll likely be writing some SQL eventually. Regarding some decent simple tutorials & resources:
This is an easy to read introduction on database concepts, if you like a conversational style. Geekgirls has a nice generic database tutorial that is pretty application / technology neutral. W3 Schools has a good, not too deep SQL Tutorial & Quiz
If your friend is serious about this topic, they should get a book that covers the tools and language they end up using. As far as SQL, the O'Reilly Learning SQL and Head First SQL are good beginner books. I like the informal visual style Head First uses, but YMMV."