Get Involved with EVS
GET INVOLVED WITH EVS
A European training course with the support of the EU Youth in Action Programme,
Action 4.3 - Training and Networking of those active in youth work and youth organizations
Main theme for the project :
the active involvement of youth in the European Voluntary Service (EVS).
The Training Course GET INVOLVED WITH EVS was organised by the Cyprus Youth Council. The Cyprus Youth Council (CYC), founded in 1996, is the only youth organization that represents both political and non-political organizations in Cyprus. The CYC is a union with 58 member Non-Governmental Youth Organizations (NGYOs).
Agros Youth Club from Cyprus, EPEKA from Slovenia, BJMK: Children and Youth Music Club from Latvia, People to People International from Bulgaria, HRYO: Human Rights Youth Organization from Italy, PRAXIS from Greece and JOETZ from Belgium.
Venue and duration:
The training course took place in Paphos, Cyprus between 14/06/2011 and 20/06/2011.
Aim and objectives of the training course GET INVOLVED WITH EVS:
The aim of the training course was the active involvement of youth in the European Voluntary Service (which is the Action 2 of the European Programme Youth in Action) and the promotion of the culture of volunteering among young people.
The training course was based on intercultural learning process stimulating creativity, active participation and initiative. The methods employed over the 6 days of the training included:
• verbal and visual presentations
• small group discussions
• plenary debates
• simulation games
• study visits
• cultural presentations
• evaluation sessions (with the method of Reflection Groups)
Implementation of the program:
The activities were implemented so as to promote non-formal learning and peer education using par-ticipants’ own experiences in the fields of youth work and international cooperation. The participants had an active input in sharing knowledge and experience and proved very willing to learn new skills from the trainers and from each other. The specific activities were structured in such a way that participants’ opportunities for non-formal learning were maximised and their own personal and social development was supported.
The training course started from the participants’ own knowledge and was built from there. Each par-ticipant explained their existing experience and their learning objectives during the first workshop ses-sion. They also shared their “Fears & Expectations” from the training course. Challenges set by the trainers encouraged participants to discover for themselves the new knowledge or skills they required.
Furthermore, the successful completion of each challenge served as preparation for the future devel-opment of more knowledge and skills. Later in the programme these skills were made conscious and the participants were given the opportunity to express them and to receive feedback by the trainers.
The preparation team and the trainers:
The trainers were members of the Pool of Trainers of the Cyprus Youth Council. The trainers were experienced in the techniques of peer education and active learning: they draw their experience from youth work where the participatory techniques underpin approaches to non-formal education. The trainers worked together with the CYC’s staff and volunteers as members of the preparation team.
Dissemination and Local Impact:
The participants promoted the project in the local community. They implemented an event during which they were disseminating information about the European Voluntary Service to people in the streets of Paphos.
They also delivered an original presentation of the programme to the participants of the Summer School organized by the Cyprus Youth Council. During the presentation they raised awareness about EVS among youth workers and youth leaders of Cyprus.
The provision of the project was insured through articles in local newspapers and in the newsletters of the CYC and the EURODESK CYPRUS.
Outcomes of the activity:
The training course was based on intercultural learning process stimulating creativity, active participation and initiative. As a result, the project achieved the following:
• Active involvement of the participants at all stages of preparation and implementation of the program and direct contact with Volunteering activities.
• Promotion of the European Voluntary Service programme and volunteering in general
• Partnership building.
Applicants were also encouraged to spread interest for this kind of projects to their colleagues and to serve as an example to the members of their organisations when they returned home. In that way they became multipliers in order to attract enough young people to engage in volunteering in general and EVS in particular.
The Project also promoted the values of the 2011, European Year of Volunteering as introduced by the European Commission.
Participants’ achievements and the Youthpass:
The Youthpass certificate, the only certificate of the Non-formal Education, and its underlying philoshopy was promoted during the project. The participants achieved most of the key competencies of Youthpass, namely:
• Communication in a foreign language (English)
• Learning to learn
• Social and civic competences
• A sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
• Cultural awareness and expression.
• Digital competence.
The non-formal learning techniques used by the trainers encouraged participants from different cultural backgrounds to encounter each other and engage in dialogue, learning about each other and accepting each others’ differences. In addition, all participants had the opportunity to make short presentations to the plenary about their work and the culture of youth work in their own country; and also made a separate presentation about key cultural features of their country (e.g. typical food and drinks, music, local dances).
These techniques contributed not only to the development of tolerance to difference but also to the understanding of diversity; which ultimately is the key to combat prejudice and racism.
The main theme of the project (the European Voluntary Service) had a European dimension by default. Moreover, the trainers worked towards the development of responsible European citizens within the world, its economy and environment, and as a result every part of the project was designed as to foster participants’ sense of European citizenship. In addition, the project aimed to develop partnerships between organisations across Europe so that cross border collaborations lead to the creation of new youth projects.
The European dimension was also supported by bringing together participants from a range of European countries and asking them to work together. High level of cooperation was needed to complete the training. The working styles and the difference in cultural background of each participant guaranteed the realisation of a cross-European intercultural dimension. It gave a more positive awareness of other cultures and had a significant impact on the participants and their organisations.
In addition, the workshops, the evaluation activities and the cultural evening gave the opportunity to learn more of other cultures and to find ways for better communication.
During the training course, partner organisations were encouraged to establish partnerships and to develop long term strategies for successful initiatives which support the development of the European Voluntary Service amongst young people, especially those who are disadvantaged e.g unemployed or isolated by living in rural areas. Emphas was given to the fact that sharing each others‘ vision, aims and objectives can lead to effective partnership. Participants were encouraged to make compromises within their own practice that allowed for the development of successful projects within the context of the Youth in Action programme. Social networking used in order to communicate and build new projects together. Right now, joined projects have already started to be implemented among organisations which became connected during the activities in Cyprus and the follow up activities.