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International activities

13 international training, coordination and cooperation activities have been organized from December 2012 to September 2013

Kick-off Networking Seminar

Tepoztlan, Morelos State (Mexico) – Hosted by VIMEX organisation – 13-18 December 2012

The event started on 14th December with the official opening of Learning Bridges project at the Ex-convento de la Natividad of Tepoztlan by the 20 participants from the partner organisations and invited guests from local, state and federal authorities including representatives of: the Directorate General for the Vinculation with Civil Society Organisations (Ms. de la Peña and Ms. Menchero); the national Institute for Youth (Mr. Molina); the municipality of Tepoztlan (Mr. Ayala). Mr. Flores Giron and Mr. Van de Put, representing the host VIMEX and the project coordinator Alliance, presented Learning Bridges project and declared its opening.

The objectives of the Kick-off were to:

  • get to know each other
  • ensure the collective ownership of the project
  • define/identify the role of each partner
  • agree on the content of the next activities
Tepoztlan village, Mexico

After a presentation of the whole project cycle, partners shared their motivation for being in Learning Bridges, their expectations and their understanding about the main themes of the project.

Youth empowerment

= a learning process to apply the implementation, understanding and management to the active participation in social life

= the capacity of organisations to give autonomy to volunteers so that they can act according to their own expectations. It implies to take/give the space for volunteers to express themselves in an autonomous way and take independent decisions

= to be able to decide autonomously and have the tools to take action. It implies to know one own’s rights and obligations and act consequently. It also means to be able to try out something and do not be afraid to experiment.

Creativity and spirit of initiative

= to have a variety of ideas in order to implement changes in different situations

= an ongoing process to improve the environment in which we live as well as our actions. Creativity activates the spirit of initiatives

= a consequence of empowerment. To get involved in something without fear of failing, in order to take the chosen path

kick-off solidarity
Kick-off: identifying solidarity measures

Youth participation

= the capacity of starting collective and community actions

= it is linked to participation, autonomous choices and actions, creativity

= to do things that go further our personal interests. To get involved


= to generate spaces and opportunities for individuals and collectivities of an equal society

= to facilitate the active and real participation of people that do not have the chances to do it otherwise. It can also imply to promote a culture of volunteering and allowing more people to participate in voluntary projects

= to have the opportunity to participate, put in practice ideas and initiatives etc.

A whole afternoon was dedicated to the market place of organisations, so that partners could get to know each other, the activities they implement and start discussing about possible synergies. The remaining days of the meeting were entirely dedicated to plan the future activities and the share of tasks with a participatory and transparent approach, keeping in mind the resources that each partner could provide and the importance to foresee solidarity and mutual support measures along the project in order to increase the level of participation.

Main results achieved and agreed:

  • Quality guidelines for the Job Shadowings
  • Solidarity measures for a higher multiplying effect and the financial sustainability of the project
  • Detailed draft programmes and expected results of the following international activities and the preparation of the final booklet
  • Creation of a steering committee and share of tasks among partners

Multipliers’ Training “Steps for Euro-Latin American cooperation and quality in voluntary service”

Morelia, Michoacan State (Mexico) – Hosted by Vive Mexico – 8-16 February 2013

22 participants from the 18 promoters took part in the Training that was co-organized and facilitated by the Alliance network and Vive Mexico organisation. The objectives were:

pax training morelia
Participants of the Multipliers’ Training in Morelia, Mexico
  • Explore differences and complementarities of IVS in the participating organisations
  • Improve participants’ competences in the fields of youth work, training and communication
  • Raise participants’ creativity and spirit of initiative by developing innovative approaches and tools in volunteering, participation and empowerment
  • Establish direct links of peer support and networking
  • Plan follow-up multiplying measures

This is the content of the sessions, which included a short study visit to an innovative cooperation practice in the field of youth empowerment through IVS, co-implemented by Vive Mexico and the Technological University of Morelia.

  • Getting to know each other, intercultural and teambuilding activities
  • Expectations, fears and contributions
  • Understanding what (international) volunteering means: forms, types, principles and stereotypes about volunteering
  • Challenging trends in volunteering
  • Study visit to the Technological University of Morelia about the practice of “integral education”
  • Recipe for a workcamp that would have the greatest impact in terms of intercultural understanding both to participants as well as to the local community
  • History of International Voluntary Service in participants’ countries, worldwide; history of the Alliance
  • Recognizing cultural differences between LA and EU, in order to establish a good cooperation
  • Preparation and follow up of volunteers and projects – how to improve the quality of IVS in the frame of LA-EU cooperation?
  • Social media and promotion for better visibility of IVS – sharing experiences and knowledge
  • Concrete ways of cooperation among IVS organisations in a changing world and youth generation – How to adapt IVS to a new historical moment and new trends in youth volunteering

Our shared principles of volunteering

Solidarity – Cooperation – Help – Self-Initiative – Reciprocity – Commitment – Identification with the cause – Respect – Not paid – Organized/Quality – Empathy – Involve the local community – Empower the youth – Transparency  – Non profit – Inclusion – Gender equality – Social justice – Proactive  – Against prejudices – Share common goals – Not professional – open to everybody – Learning by doing

Needs for further cooperation

1. Preparation and follow up of volunteers and projects, aiming at improving the quality of IVS

2. Development of cooperation within Latin America

3. Visibility of IVS values and projects

Detailed information about the activities and results of the Multipliers’ Training can be found in the full report of the training

Job Shadowing phase

From April to September 2013

Job Shadowing timeline
Job Shadowing timeline

The main aim of this phase of “Learning Bridges“ was to offer the opportunity to the job “shadowers” to visit an organisation in the other continent, observe its work with young people and share good practices that might contribute to the organisation’s activities during his/her stay or in the future planning.

The project originally foresaw 8 exchanges of youth workers (staff or volunteers) between organisations from Latin America and Europe. Thanks to the solidarity measures agreed and implemented by the partners involved, two extra self-financed Job Shadowing visits took place, from Costa Rica to France and from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. This was the first staff visit that took place among Learning Bridges Latin American organisations.

The learning results and successful practices identified during this phase, are collected in the final project booklet.

Final evaluation meeting and open dissemination event

Brussels (Belgium) – hosted by JAVVA – from 31 August to 6 September 2013

The evaluation meeting was one of the most important moments of the whole project to ensure a follow-up and sustainable impact of the activities. The objectives were to evaluate the process of Learning Bridges and the results obtained, start the dissemination of the results, plan their exploitation and the follow-up actions.

The full report of the event is available here

The programme included the visit to a local centre for minors asylum seekers (Fedasil) where JAVVA has been organizing short and long term voluntary projects since many years. It is an example of good practice of how international volunteers can significantly help to convey the messages of intercultural learning and participation into the community of young people. The participants from Learning Bridges could meet the social workers and the young guests of the centre.

On September 4th, partners organized an open dissemination event about the learning results of the project, attended by more than 30 participants representing European bodies (European Youth Forum and EACEA), international networks dedicated to volunteering (CCIVS, SCI, AVSO, CEV) and active members of Alliance Working Groups and Committees who were having the yearly joint working groups meeting at the same venue.

open event
Open dissemination event of Learning Bridges

  • Alliance is supported by:

    The European Union and the Council of Europe

  • Erasmus+
  • Council Of Europe