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Beyond borders chasing diversity
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Dec 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

COCAT is the platform of international workcamp organizers in Catalonia. The main activity of COCAT consists in coordinating and managing voluntary service in the field of international workcamps such as: provide trainings, fostering long-term voluntary service and representing at international level our country within international and European networks. International voluntary workcamps are conceived as a tool of personal and community growth for both youngsters and hosting communities, working on key concepts such as non-formal education and solidarity. COCAT is a member of the International working group Access for All, of the Alliance of Voluntary Service Organizations network, which aims to promote the inclusion of youngsters with less opportunities in the international volunteering area. The number of volunteers hosted through this project was four. To be consistent with the project, the profile of volunteers requested was a youngster between 18 and 29 years old, living under less opportunities conditions, specifically, educational difficulties or social or economic problems . Therefore, we were be able to fulfill the aim of facilitating the participation of people with fewer opportunities as agents of social change and facilitate their integration into social life . The role of volunteers was to participate in an international workcamp in Catalonia, offering its collaboration and proposals, and at the same time receiving several learnings from the experience. Both, the volunteer and the community where the workcamp is carried out were involved on a mutual developing benefit. Part of the time on an international workcamp was spent doing the technical work (20-30 hour per week), the other part was to do the free time activities, or activities to discover the environment, based on the non-formal education methodology and principles. The technical work was different on each camp; it could be about archaeological, environmental or social issues. To develop the project, a rigorous work has been done. Working together with the sending organizations and the local organizations, where the international workcamp was carried out. The work consisted on preparation actions (such as: sharing goals with the involved parts, participant profile selection according the specific workcamp, preparation of the volunteer, sharing the information with the mentors who will be in contact with the participant during the workcamp, provide tutorials and support sessions, provide assistance on the preparation of the trip, etc…), follow up actions (ensure the optimal development of the project through ongoing communication with the different involved parts) and actions to evaluate the development of the project and its results (with the local and sending organizations, with the participant, and with COCAT’s technical staff). The results we expected, according the specific objectives we planned to achieve by this project, were: 1. Improving personal and social growth of the youngsters with fewer opportunities, while encouraging their interest on active participation on society. 2. Promoting understanding of other cultures different from the young participants’ ones. 3. Fostering mobility and voluntary service opportunities, helping its diffusion at local and international levels. 4. Promoting and encouraging the inclusion of international projects of youngsters with fewer opportunities and promoting and raising awareness on sustainable development and environmental issues. 5. Providing to the local organization and to the local population where the project is carried out, the opportunity of working and living together with youngsters of a great cultural and diversity wealth, at the same time that they cooperate together for the growing and development of the specific community. We expected our project to impact on the EVS participants with fewer opportunities, having an influence on their personal growth, collaborating on the development of their interest and their personal abilities to live together in groups, to be an active member of social participation, and to raise their concerns and motivations. We expected to introduce these opportunities to youngsters that for their personal, economic or social situation, probably they didn’t know. On a local level this project also had a great impact, promoting the diversity between the organizations and the local population. On a long-term basis, this project will help to foster understanding between different cultures by gathering young people from different countries and have them living and sharing experiences with each other. We believe that the project will strengthen the positive example of youngsters having an active role in building a more fair and conscious society through international projects for local development and it will ultimately encourage a deeper understanding of the fundamental role each of us plays in developing solidarity projects.
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