[:en]We have a special segment this month – instead of hearing from the EU Aid Volunteers Technical Assistance Consortium partners, representatives from two of the organisations taking part in the Technical Assistance give testimonies on their own experiences of the programme. Read on to learn more about the work their organisations do, and also the impact that involvement in the project is having on them, and their organisations.
EUAV providing exciting new opportunities for Chance for Life
My name is Iuliana Paraschivescu and I am working currently as Volunteer Coordinator for Chance for Life, having experience in the European Voluntary Service (as part of Erasmus+) for more than 7 years. I am very glad to be able to participate on behalf of Chance for Life in the EU Aid Volunteers Technical Assistance project. I consider our organisation is very fortunate to receive support from other organisations and people with a lot of experience in the humanitarian field. It is also a great opportunity for capacity building – I find the procedures that an organisation must put in place in order to fulfil the requirements of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative well structured, and very helpful for our organisation as a whole.
In my experience as a Volunteer Coordinator, I have frequently come across volunteers who wish to participate in the kind of projects that the EU Aid Volunteers will expose us to, but haven’t been able to offer them suitable information on how to do it. Now I have taken part in the Technical Assistance project, I feel a lot of excitement, both about the knowledge I am gaining and because Chance for Life will have the instruments to send volunteers to places where there is most need.
As part of the training we have been able to use Volonteurope’s new community platform – where there is a special group for EU Aid Volunteers Technical Assistance. Then platform is easy to use and practical because I can find all the documents and all the information I need in one place. We have also used the community platform for all the training and support received so far.
With regards to the training and support received from the consortium, I have found find that the online training – using webinars – more than suitable for my needs because it allows the possibility to share our thoughts and experiences and to discover the documentation throughout practical exercises from our own points of view. I think this is very suitable because there is no pressure on completing all of the work alone. The programme was always adjusted according to my needs, having also the opportunity to replay the sessions (because the webinars are also recorded). With each webinar I find myself learning more, and also find opportunities for adjusting our own organisation’s procedures for our internal volunteers/staff. I liked most the webinar on EU Regulations because I have wanted for a long time to check general EU quality standards, and with this project I have begun research that is meaningful for me personally and professionally.
We are particularly looking forward to participating in the DG ECHO organised EU Aid Volunteers network workshop that is taking place in Brussels in February 2017. As part of this workshop, we hope to find out more on volunteer management and to how to build disaster resilience, and to meet other participating organisations involved in EU Aid Volunteers project and establish some more successful partnerships.
Iuliana Paraschivescu, Volunteer Coordinator – Chance for Life
EUAV – A perfect opportunity for volunteers and volunteer based organisations to help those in need
The Foundation for Africa is a grassroots, non-governmental development organisation based in Hungary, aiming to help those in need in Africa, particularly in Congo, DRC and in Tanzania. The main sector of our work is education – supporting schoolchildren and orphans. Furthermore, we initiate humanitarian missions and have health projects in these countries. In Hungary, our main mission is to raise awareness about the issues of Africa. The organisation is celebrating its 15th birthday this year. The funder and acting president of the foundation is France Mutombo, born in DRC, having come to Hungary to study theology 20 years ago.
With no funds, donors or any institutional background, he started to build the foundation from scratch. As such, volunteering has always been an important base at the foundation. To date, we have more than 200 volunteers active in Hungary and we send about 5-10 volunteers to our African partners yearly. At the beginning we did not have any financial support to send volunteers to Africa, everything was financed by own funds. However, in 2010, we had our first European Volunteer Service project sponsored by the EU with 6 volunteers traveling to DRC to our
We first heard about the EU Aid Volunteers programme some 3 years ago, but knew little about it and thought it might be difficult to get into and a daunting challenge for our organisation. In 2015 one of our biggest partners, Hungarian Baptist Aid, told us about the Technical Assistance programme led by Alianza por la Solidaridad, and invited us to take part.
During the spring and summer of 2015 the first phase of the project began. During this time we received a lot of written materials, questionnaires and took part in webinars where we could learn about the basics of the EUAV. We have also been invited to the second phase of the project, and as part of this phase we have received in-depth knowledge about EUAV, technical instructions, and best practices in order to be accredited as a sending organisation. The main methodology used for learning is the monthly webinar, where each time a professional tells us about one topic with the possibility to ask questions and share our experiences with others in the around the theme. Each time there are practical tasks for group work that I found very advantageous. In the practical online learning environment – the Volonteurope Community are – one can find videos, group discussion sites, blogs and other useful materials and resources regarding the EUAV. These resources have been invaluable, and I have found the online learning perfect for capacity building,
I really appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the project team of Alianza por la Solidaridad and the other partners. We have already gained a lot of knowledge from the project up to this point. I have already gotten to know many interesting people and organisations through the project and I am looking forward to the personal visit to us planned for the upcoming month.
Through this project I can see our being accredited as a sending organisation as a realistic and achievable goal, and look forward to soon being able to send volunteers to our African partners so they can make a difference in the lives of those living in need.
Bálint Hamvas, Programme manager – Foundation for Africa[:]