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24 youth workers, trainers, staff and workcamp leaders from 21 Alliance member organisations, met in Sremski Karlovci (Serbia) from 30th June to 5th July 2014 for the Capacity Building training course "Begin Anywhere: volunteer, inspire, engage", hosted by Young Researchers of Serbia.
The event was the first activity of the Alliance workplan "Looking into a youth future with hope and trust" that receives the financial support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. The hosting venue was the Eco Center Radulovački, recently accredited as a European Youth Center.
With the support of three experienced Alliance facilitators who applied an innovative methodology (follow drawing of the training process to learn more about it!), the group of participants worked during 4 intense days exchanging opinions and visions on the current reality of IVS in their own countries and the needs of young people and local communities that should be addressed in the future through international volunteering.
Several experts gave important inputs: Mr. Kaizawa Shinichiro from NICE (Japan) presented the work done by his organisation through IVS in response to the earthquakes that hit Japan in 2012; Mr. Nenad Borovcanin, State Secretary of the Serbian Government, explained the current needs that arose in Serbia after the recent floods and how international voluntary workcamps can play an important relief role; Ms. Chrysafo Arvaniti, President of the Alliance, introduced the functioning of the network and its participatory structure that allows the development of joint policies and initiatives.
The results include valuable recommendations for the Alliance network, derived from the grassroots experience of the participants, on how to update existing practices, policies and tools so that IVS projects have a real and substantial impact on the life of the young volunteers as well as on the local communities that host the projects.