Start date: Jan 10, 2015,
End date: Jun 9, 2016
Europe Express was a project with a youth exchange mobility aiming to foster young people to embrace volunteering as a fulfilling pathway in finding the desired job.
We created this project in the due to the system in which Olde Vechte Foundation run its activity; a system where volunteering is acknowledged as a way to get work experience, improve skills and create social contacts.
The main objectives of the project were: participants to make an inventory of the role of volunteering in their own country, to create a safe space for sharing the information about volunteering by creating an online network, participants to get a new approach and set of tools that they can use in finding the right match on the volunteering market, participants acknowledge their skills and create video tutorials with thematics connected to volunteering in order to make them choose volunteering as a pathway to find a job and share their successful story.
The participants group, consisted out of 55 young people from 11 different countries, between 18-30 years old, unemployed or in between jobs, that are interested in volunteering or are new interns on this market, but they aren’t informed enough of its benefit and of what it can bring in their lives.
The project was built on 3 main phases: preparation at home, the exchange itself and follow up. In the preparation phase the participants researched upon the theme of the project, volunteering, from a personal point a view, putted also at macro level. In this way, they had the chance to identify their personal values and in the same time upon the situation at macro level in their own countries. In this way they had the chance to realize the home context and where they are standing.
Next phase was the exchange itself where they all met at Olde Vechte Foundation. They had the chance to exchange information, to have an international overview, to start seizing opportunities. Moreover with the help of the facilitators involved they given the chance to acknowledge and develop new skills in order to reach easier their personal goals. During this phase, the participants got deeper in the notion of volunteering, and they got familiar both from theoretical and practical point of view, the benefits and impact of the volunteering.
The last phase was the “take action” when going back home, that was the the follow up phase. In this one we created a network of organizations and participants who are promoting the concept of volunteering while getting actively involved in it. By getting actively involved we mean that 35 participants become volunteers in several projects in their countries or abroad and start walking on their own pathway to fulfillment.
The main method used during the activities was experiential learning or learning by doing. Specifically we used reflection groups, volunteering as a method, media, outdoor, theater, team building activities and self-steering organization methods.
With this project we reached people interested in volunteering, supported them to develop a social networking on this topic and as 35 participants became volunteers both at the national and international level. A year after the end of the exchange 70% of the participants seeked other European mobility programs and in total 38 of the participants spent 1626 days abroad (excluding holidays).
Moreover we we strengtheneth or network of youth workers and volunteers of our partners by making the participants they sent to us interested in volunteering in their sending organizations. This was the case 5 participants who after the project became active volunteers of the organization and 8 of them started EVS in other organizations.
The impact of Europe Express is expanding all around Europe, we have more active participants informed about volunteering and other European mobility programs, and as a consequence more skilled. Therefore on the long run, we are expecting that these young people will have more chances to find a job and even more, there will be created new job positions on the market according to the various skills and competencies the young people get as a result of volunteering.
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