From 24th to 30th of March FOCSIV and France Volontaires visited Pastoral Social Caritas, in Ecuador for the II meeting foreseen by the project.
It was an intense week of meetings, exchanges and reflections on the activities implemented during the Volunteering in Humanitarian Aid – Hosting Organization project.
After nearly 18 months of activities, trainings of trainers, two consortium meetings and regular monthly skype points, the Latin Group partners had the chance to observe what has been done on the field so far, discussing about strengths and lessons learned before looking up at the future.
The agenda of the meeting was particularly intense and aims at sharing practices and at reviewing projects objectives, current achievements and next steps.
The meeting offered to the European partners a better understanding of the PSCE structure and its field activities to address human mobility’ risks. Moreover it allowed partners to better understand the Ecuadorian context and the context of Humanitarian Aid addressed specifically by the project.
In particular the possibility to assist to a local volunteers group follow-up activity was particularly enriching, since it underlined the importance of a bottom-up approach in the capacity building process tailored to volunteers’ needs and interests. The visit was indeed relevant to deeper understand the methodology used by PSCE in the capacity building project, according to which the volunteer groups are capacitated (informed), periodically monitored (through refresh sessions) and invited to think about concrete actions to take. The choice to change the name from “training” to “encounter” reflects that idea of an experiential approach, essential to share contents using a peer-to-peer and non formal learning approach and to keep motivation high in the volunteers’ groups.
Additionally the meeting allowed organizations to share a common vision about volunteering, trying to identify the role of local and international volunteers in the local context. Interesting sharing in particular were dedicated to the definition of what “humanitarian volunteering” means within the consortium. A definition that may contribute to further define the EUAV programme.
The Trinomial meeting offered also the organizations the opportunity to reflect on future project collaboration, listening a series of recommendations in the creation of future consortium to enhance partners’ satisfaction.
The meeting offered also the opportunity to meet the first EU Aid Volunteers deployed on the field in Ecuador. Their energy and their wiliness to start the activities notwithstanding some uncertainties since they are the very first deployed, brought interesting information and reflections on the idea of humanitarian volunteering. According to them, flexibility, open mind, calm, ability to work under pressures and responsibility are the main characteristics of an international volunteer. To them, an EU aid volunteer represents the EU values of tolerance, sharing, proximity, solidarity and humanity.
Undoubtedly these values are the best way to represent Europe and its citizens.