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Volunteering Promote Goodness – A strategic EVS project focused on emphazising non-formal learning and raising the awareness about EVS and its values.

The wish to carry out this project was due to the fact, that there is a favourable environment in Europe that makes this not only possible but also desirable as shown by the fact that a growing number of stakeholders from various sectors intends to take advantage of the potential of NFL (non-formal learning). But there are still many people, who don´t know that EVS is good method for using formal and non-formal education and they are not aware of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it.

This is not only emphasised by the growing attention of youth-targeting programmes (such as YiA and now E+) but also by our own experience. During a needs assessment exercise with returnee volunteers we identified a whole set of skills that their experience brought about. In particular: Global awareness; Adaptability; Interpersonal skills; Delegation capacity; Stress management; Self-confidence; Problem solving; Self-learning capacity; Strategic thinking etc.

In spite of this, links between youth organisations and other actors (i.e. government structures and labour market forces) are still scarce. This is possibly due to the lack of mechanisms to acknowledge and take advantage of inter-sectorial synergies and has emerged as a priority of our partners in the course of our growing collaborations.

Therefore, there was this wish to create an inspiring international environment for Estonia people in order to promote purposeful participation in lifelong learning and contribution to a community on the way of personal development in the global world.

EstYES was targeting the following strategic aims and objectives during the project:

  • To raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it in Estonia county through increasing number of organisations working with EVS;
  • to raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it amongst the organisations and youth;
  • to raise an awareness of European Solidarity Corps;
  • to increase the number of EVS accredited organisations and sending Estonia youth to EVS
  • To increase a capacity of EstYES NGO to coordinate, receive and send EVS volunteers
  • to create a systematic and structured new approach to service delivery in order to optimize work with all parties – volunteers, ROs, SOs, supervisors, mentors – involved into EVS;
  • to improve our competence of preparation and supporting EVS volunteers with fewer opportunities during the service with the help of supervision;
  • To create prerequisites for social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities into EVS
  • to strengthen partnership with international organisations working with young people with fewer opportunities.

Our volunteers within this project did a great job with the promotion and raising awareness of the programmes. They shared their culture and information in the youth centres, education fairs and events, schools and kindergartens, among the parents and teachers. EstYES was also meeting with their partners to develop their collaboration and made agreements with new interested organisations. Collaboration was made with a few organisations who are supporting the youngsters with fewer opportunities.

The project is funded by the Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency from the Erasmus + program.

Interview with Alexandre, EVS volunteer from France

Interview with Alexandre, EVS volunteer from France

“So now I thought it would be interesting to get to know the other side of Europe. Estonia is so interesting because it is a Nordic country and it is also in the East.”

This week we will get to know Alexandre Avignon. He came from France to do his EVS in Tallinn where he works in a kindergarten in Tallinn.

What was your main motivation to do EVS?
I love traveling and discovering new things. Furthermore, my professional dream is to be active in the field of history reenactment. I got this idea thanks to a training period in Spain in 2016.

What exactly is history reenactment?
It is the recreation of certain historical stories or developments. It’s supposed to valorize heritage of a city and it can involve any period of the human history. In Spain, we created the 13th centuries because in the city we did the project they were some old love stories we recreated. The idea is that it is about passing something to the younger generations. You definitely need different activities to get a connection with everyone and all the different generations. So it is always different and therefore, interesting.

 

And why did you choose Estonia for your EVS?
I already did three experiences abroad. Firstly, I went to Great Britain with the Leonardo program. My second one was with Erasmus in Portugal. The third experience was the training in Spain, I already talked about. So now I thought it would be interesting to get to know the other side of Europe. Estonia is so interesting because it is a Nordic country and it is also in the East. EstYES was looking for volunteers from France and I decided to apply.

As you are so interested in history, did you get to know a lot about the history of Estonia so far?
Yes, because I for example have visited the open-air museum in Tallinn and a few cities like Viljandi, Rakvere, Padiski and Tartu. Estonia has a very interesting history. The people here suffered a lot because they have been invaded by so many different countries. At the same time, they look towards the future in different way. To understand it also helps if you can speak the language so I am learning some Estonian. It is not easy because it is so different from all the languages I can speak like French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. But I do my best. I can order a beer or coffee in a bar. I can create simple sentences. So I am quite confident.

Has your work experience helped you to understand different approaches especially for young children in context of historical reenactment?
Yes, it is a very interesting experience. Not only to learn how to react with younger children but you also discover how the field of work is like. It has a different mentality to the working field in France. The way people act with children is not the same as well as there is a different mentality of working properly in a formal environment.

Has your experience here helped what to do afterwards? Has it changed you?
To be honest, I have no clue about my future. Fortunately, I have some connections thanks to my past experiences in Spain.

Do you feel any change so far? Have you learnt something new?
If you work abroad and are concerned on what to do on a daily basis, of course there is a change in your personality!

Alexandre Avignon stays in Estonia for 10 months within the project ”Broadening Horizons II ” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

 

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