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.
It was difficult for me to come up with an idea for an Initiative Project, but in the end it might have been because I was trying to come up with something too big.
I was playing around with ideas for projects to do with the children, or to work together with other volunteers, or to organise something for the workers at the organisation I worked at. That last one stuck with me, and, combined with the realisation that during my last year I had been very busy with discovering what the Dutch culture really means to me, I decided to do a small Dutch cultural event.
During my EVS I have done a cultural evening on a few occasions, but never at my own organisation. I requested the opportunity to do this event, and right before I left I could use some of my time for the event I called ‘Räägime Hollandist”. I invited co – workers and prepared traditional Dutch sweets, for example ‘poffertjes’, which are little pancakes, made in a special pan. I also tried my hand at ‘tompoezen’ but the result was so entirely different that I just called them ‘Esther style’. During the presentation I explained the difference between Holland and the Netherlands, discussed the rules around marijuana legislation, challenged the listeners to try to pronounce the Dutch ‘G’, and held two small quizzes. The contestants could even win a little prize, which was of course; Dutch cheese!
All in all, the small event was a fun way to teach others something about my culture, and to discuss the differences between our cultures. And, maybe more importantly; the snacks were good 😉
Esther stayed in Estonia for 12 months within the project “Be the Change II” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.