What do we learn during an international workcamp? “Dunno …”: many volunteers do not have an answer to this question. Or rather, they have never thought of it!
In fact learning in the workcamps is often not an intentional process, but we know that the concepts of nonformal and informal learning can also refer to volunteering. Someone talks about of “lifelong learning”, someone about “active citizenship”… for sure every life experience teaches us something. It is granted that living a collective experience in an international context, might represent a turning point or a time of tremendous growth.
We know this because we have seen many volunteers for whom even short-term workcamp experiences have changed their lives.
What remains, then, once back from our experiences of international voluntary service? A certificate of participation, of course. Vivid and unforgettable memories, of course. But we wondered whether it is easy to represent what we have learned to those who have never participated in a volunteer project abroad as we did. No, it is not easy at all. At a job interview, for example, we know how to value our commitment as a volunteer?
As associations promoting international voluntary service we question ourselves from a few years … and we have recently begun to imagine a sustainable and funny way to support our volunteers in recognizing the skills acquired during projects. A year ago we talked about it together with other 12 associations of our international network, and the ideas that we shared have become the starting point for I’VE, the strategic partnership of the Erasmus +, which was submitted to the Italian Agency for Youth. Among 150 projects, only three have been funded and I’VE is among them.
From November 2014 until October 2016 we will develop researches and training modules, manuals and digital tools, with the aim of engaging in the test of the recognition system -that will be invented in the next few months- about 1000 volunteers. The system will be based on the methods of non-formal, declined in the approach of peer learning and the use of digital open source tools.
The most ambitious goal is to enable a quantum leap in the capacity of the associations and their volunteers to see recognized the personal and social impact s of their commitment and experiences of voluntary service. In short, start a new adventure, a challenge that will also seek to highlight the principles of solidarity, collective action and intercultural exchange of international voluntary service.
If you want to know what I’VE project is about in few steps, have a look at this presentation:
On July 2016, the partnership has issued the different materials composing I’VE system. They can be downloaded from the project website: www.ive-experienced.eu/the-system-outputs
I’VE project results have been launched at an open conference that took place in Brussels on 3rd September 2016, with the participation of speakers from several national and international youth and voluntary service institutions.
As a first step towards the development of a system for the recognition of competences developed in volunteering among young people, the partnership implemented two researches, a desk and a field one, that were published on June 2015. The aim was to first collect existing information and literature about competences in volunteering and assessment/recognition systems available across Europe (desk research), and then to give voice to those directly involved (2500 among young volunteers, workcamp leaders, workcamp organisations, hosting communities, employers and international institutions and networks) about the process and results of competence development in IVS projects (field research).
Both reports can be downloaded here: