By Charlotte, Volunteer with Comhlamh, Ireland
December 2016, what a beautiful time to go to Paris and we even have the opportunity to visit some of the city’s famous Christmas markets. However, the purpose of the visit was not about Christmas markets but a very special meeting/handover between new and old Civic Service volunteers working on the technical assistance consortium in the Volunteering in Humanitarian Aid (VolinHA) project, as part of the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative (EUAVI). This project began in September, 2015, involving nine different volunteer sending agencies from across the EU on their explorative journey in the aspiration of becoming a certified organisation that could send EUAVI volunteers in the future. In order to support the project’s activities now in its second year, new volunteers have been recruited and the older volunteers’ time on the project will come to a timely close.
The meeting began on a very opportune occasion, linking up with La Guilde in hosting an event on International Volunteers Day, December 5 of each year. This day was full of workshops under theme of “why volunteer?”, considering pre-decisions and motivations of volunteering overseas, volunteering in a humanitarian context and interculturalism acceptance and integration whilst on a volunteer placement. This attracted members of the public from various backgrounds, including; staff from volunteer sending agencies in France, first time volunteers looking to volunteer abroad and experienced volunteers looking for new opportunities within the EUAV initiative. This day was full of fun and brought about rich conversations around humanitarian work, volunteering and integration and understanding with the host community.
The meeting followed this fun filled day between CSVs where new volunteers were introduced and older members had space to reflect on their involvement in the past year in the project. The break out group sessions discussed the next stages of the project, analysing what worked well and what needs to be improved upon for 2017 onwards. This cross over was extremely valuable and gave a clear insight into the aspirations and objectives for the next stages of the project.
Watch this space for more regular updates/articles from the CSV volunteers on the “Volunteering in Humanitarian Aid” project!