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International Voluntary Service workcamps do have an impact, both on volunteers and on the local hosting communities. Those who have experienced workcamps and those who organize them, know it. But how can we prove it? Now it is possible, thanks to the first international research conducted during several years by 20 IVS organisations and coordinated by Solidarites Jeunesses in cooperation with the University of Illinois and IWO Better World.
Changing Perspectives project, co-funded by Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe, involved 900 hundreds of young volunteers, 362 workcamps, 65 representatives from 23 local hosting communities, in a total of 52 countries in Europe and Asia.
The Alliance participated to the final conference of Changing Perspectives in Paris (26 May), where the results of the research were presented, and the working seminar "What is the impact of IVS?" (27-29 May) to plan the exploitation of the results and the follow-up of this innovative project together with the participating IVS organisations and the sister network CCIVS.
The results show that volunteers' competences significantly increase with participation in workcamps, particularly the autonomy, communication, problem-solving, cultural openness and feeling of social integration.
The impact on local communities is also remarkable: 98% of interviewed representatives registered a positive impact on cultural/intercultural competence in their communities, and 79% in the participation of local people in the daily life of the community.
These are just some of the interesting outcomes of the research, which will be soon available online for the benefit of all involved stakeholders: IVS organisations, volunteers, local communities, public institutions etc. Here is a short overview of the results.