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Multiplying opportunities for volunteers' engagement
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

COCAT is the Coordinator of international work-camp organizers in Catalonia. The main activity of COCAT consisted in coordinating and managing voluntary services in the area of international workcamps such as: giving 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 for the hosting communities, working on key concepts such as non-formal education and solidarity. The number of volunteers hosted through this project was two. The activities carried out throughout the EVS dealed with strengthening, valuing and developing international volunteer service as an engine for social transformation and understanding between cultures. The volunteers mainly acted in Catalonia, mostly in Barcelona. During the winter and spring months the volunteers helped COCAT’s technical staff in preparing informative material and carrying out debates and meetings with youngsters, spreading the word on the opportunities of international volunteer service. During the spring and beginning of summer they helped with the Catalan volunteers’ placement and they will participate at the trainings designed for volunteers who joined international work-camps and EVS projects. The candidates participated and went together with COCAT’s technical staff to visit international work-camps running in Catalonia; they carried out training activities with the work-camps’ participants and they also had the chance to join an international work-camp in Catalonia and a youth exchange. Our project is based on the principles and values of non-formal education. The methodology therefore fostered active commitment from the volunteers in all the activities of our association, through a frame of a structured but flexible work. At different given moments COCAT was in charge of training the candidates so that they could be able to carry out their tasks autonomously and proposing activities in tune with their needs and preferences. The project had a double general aim: firstly, fostering COCAT’s networking at international and local level, and secondly, spreading the international voluntary service and mobility opportunities among young Catalans. The results we expected , according the specific objectives we planned to achieve by this project, were: 1. Improving our EVS candidates’ personal growth and their employability on the European labor market, through their participation in COCAT’s projects. 2. Promoting understanding of other cultures different from the young participants’ ones. 3. Fostering mobility and long-term voluntary service opportunities, helping its diffusion at local and international levels. 4. Promoting and encouraging the inclusion of international projects of youngsters with less opportunities and promoting and raising awareness on sustainable development and environmental issues. We focused the impact of our project both on EVS volunteers and on Catalan volunteers to whom COCAT addresses its activities on intercultural learning and we expect to foster interest on relevant issues such as active citizenship, networking, international solidarity and cooperation. The presence of EVS volunteers in our organization had a multipliying effect in raising awareness and interest among young Catalans so that they felt motivated to start a long term European youth mobility project and we wish that our local partners felted encouraged to write and propose new projects in the new Erasmus Plus’ framework. On a long-term basis the activities we plan for 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 one of us plays in developing solidarity projects for the common good, organized by and addressed to civil society.

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