Effects of Erasmus+ project “ProVol” on making volunteering more efficient continue to last
In times of decreasing public funds for volunteering, it becomes especially important to use the existing resources efficiently and to their full potential. The Erasmus+ project “Professional Volunteering” (ProVol) was aiming at exactly that. Together with its partner organisations Dobrovolnické Centrum from Czech Republic, Centrul de Voluntariat from Romania and UK-based Volunteering Matters, the German NGO and Volonteurope member Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa (GLL) transferred its programme on professionalising volunteers and their coordinators to the European level, creating an “accessible, flexible and sustainable European model.”
The five day training course by GLL was based on the organisation’s existing training programme for volunteers and volunteer coordinators. It consisted of ten modules such as the definition of goals, project and time management as well as Public Relations management. Digital and printed handbooks of the concrete, step-by-step programme were published both in editions for volunteer coordinators and for volunteers themselves – in all of the participating organisations’ national languages as well as in English. All the materials needed to implement it for your own organisation can be found on the project’s website www.professional-volunteering.eu.
In order to disseminate the new training concept, the organisations conducted training courses in their countries. By training a total of 116 volunteer coordinators, they exceeded their plan to provide the ProVol curriculum to at least 20 coordinators per country by far. On top of that, an additional 239 volunteers engaged in shorter training sessions. 674 participants instead of the planned 240 joined the project joined the numerous multiplying events of the project on a local and regional level.
Even after the official end of the project, its effects are continuing. For instance, the Czech partner established a volunteering centre at the local university and is working to convince the national ministry of education to promote the ProVol concept as an accredited volunteer training nation-wide. In Germany, the impact of ProVol carries on particularly in terms of long-term refugee support groups and other disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, for whom professional training as a volunteer can become a pathway into paid work. And on the European level, GLL and Dobrovolnické Centrum spread the concept in their neighbour countries Austria and Slovakia, respectively. In the long run, a European ProVol network with a standardised ProVol Quality System is planned to be set up.
The National Agency of Germany considered the project entirely successful in regard to the objectives stated beforehand, without any subtractions to its grant.
Further information and materials you can use in your own volunteer training can be retrieved from www.professional-volunteering.eu.
Andreas Schrank, Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa (GLL) and Volonteurope Board Member