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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.

Volunteer Anne-Stine made an initiative project in her kindergarten and wrote a blog post about it

Volunteer Anne-Stine made an initiative project in her kindergarten and wrote a blog post about it

Baking-together we create the best things!

I’m the volunteer of the Kullerkupu Lasteaed in Tallinn this year. Most of the time I’m working in the group with the 2-3 years but since I also got to know the other children better, I wanted to start a project from which all children benefit. Because I am not only the volunteer of my group but of my whole kindergarten. During the development process, I was thinking about what I like to do and where I’m good at. Actually, this is not that easy but with some help from my colleagues, we found it quite fast something. Baking! So I came up with the idea of baking different “saksa sai” to share my German culture but also my big passion for baking. We, humans, take our environment with our five senses, so I thought that there must be something we can feel, smell and taste. And what could be better than bread, sweet pastries and muffins? Since it’s not usual to bake in kindergarten, we didn’t have a lot of equipment, which we could now buy with the help of coordinating organization EstYES. So a big thank you again to EstYES to help us to make that possible. You would think it’s very easy to just buy baking equipment but I really had to think about what is suitable for the little ones. For example it’s better and more clever to buy a bowl that is non-slip. Because when it comes to baking children are getting very excited and then it can happen fast that some are a bit to fast. So my mentor Karin and I went to a store and bought all the equipment.
Now everything was ready to swing the baking spoons and to start the project!

First I had to think about what to bake with the different age groups, some recipes are simply too heavy and boring for the little ones. My first project day was at the Krõllid group. That’s the oldest group. We baked together two very big German loaves of bread. For that, we used more than 2 kg of flour. So you can imagine how much bread we
had in the end. But of course, we also had to bake some sweet pastry. So I came up with the idea of baking some sweet Hörnchen. Hörnchen is quite common in Germany and you can buy them in almost every bakery. The traditional recipe takes a lot of time so I chose a similar one but not on the base of yeast. We filled them with marmalade and it was just funny to see how much marmalade they put inside and of course, they had to try it before. Luckily we baked enough pastry to share it with the other groups. In the following weeks, I also baked with the other groups together and we tried together some new recipes. The idea was to have in the end a big wall with recipes and pictures we made. The children from the Pokud group helped with decorating and we painted even for that some German and Estonian flags. In reality, it wasn’t only a baking week it was more a long process lasting for some weeks.

In the end, I would like to come up with a metaphor that came to my mind during my initiative project. For Baking a delicious cake it needs a lot of different ingredients. Some are more similar than others but they are all different in some way. Alone they do not much but together they become something fantastic. It’s a bit like in a kindergarten group. We are different but also the same important, only together we can come to our best!

Anne-Stine is doing her service within the project Volunteering promote Goodness, which is funded by the Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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