Continuing our activities under the new EU Aid Volunteers Initiative (EUAV) and our Technical Assistance, we have been participating in three webinars that took place from 8 to 10 November, through the new Volonteurope website’s Community Platform. This platform was built to provide a space for mutual learning, for experience and knowledge exchange and partnership creation, with the aim of providing technical assistance and accessible materials for social organisations that are interested in being certified under this new European international volunteering activity.
As members of the consortium that has built up this new platform, and as full members of the Volonteurope network, which works specifically on issues of social justice, we are firmly convinced that volunteering is linked to local, national and global citizenship. Furthermore, we strongly believe that active citizens are essential for bringing about real change in order to more cohesive and sustainable societies, through stronger solidarity linkages and values.
Participating in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative demonstrates a commitment to a “new citizenship alliance,” one that recognises universal human rights in communities that are experiencing humanitarian crises, as well as in our own societies. Stronger and new partnerships between local, national and global organisations can also be reinforced through this initiative, and can provide responses to global challenges that are deeply rooted in these humanitarian crises, especially ones that exert impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people.
Therefore, this EU Aid Volunteers Initiative allows our four organisations – Alianza por la Solidaridad (Spain), GVC (Italy) and HBAid (Hungary), together with Volonteurope – to forge a new pathway to strengthen cooperation and coherence in our contribution to European policies, adding value and significance for global citizenship.
As a Board Member of both Alianza por la Solidaridad and Volonteurope (recently elected), I was very pleased to introduce the training sessions on the selected quality standards of EUAV, through this on-line platform. Nine European countries and seventeen different social organisations are being connected in these ongoing seminars. At least in my case, being from generation in which these new communication tools have been quite ignored in our daily work, I felt at ease using this learning tool, listening and debating with colleagues and consortium partners in each of the seminars as if we were sharing the same room. The webinar tool allowed us to see each other, work, share and discuss documents, and even prepare certain discussions or exercises through different working groups – in ‘breakout’ sessions. It is true that behind these virtual but warm meetings, we had a very committed and expert team that brought the participants through a lively and effective methodology, highlighting and providing the learning that is required to participate as future sending organisations, ensuring the appropriate compliance with the quality standards required by the initiative.
Many thanks you to all of you that have been so active and participative in these seminars. Our aim is to enrich our platform with your contributions and partnership in this important initiative.
Juana Bengoa Beriain, Volonteurope board member and Alianza por la Solidaridad board member