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Professional volunteering (ProVol) Crossborder
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Volunteering holds an essential place in the society as well as in the economy: it is an essential act of citizenship. Volunteers and NPOs (non-profit organisations) are contributing essentially to the delivery of social services and combating social exclusion and therefore make a big contribution to build a strong and cohesive society. The European Commission estimated that volunteering contributes between 0.5- 5% to EU GDP.Additionally volunteering has also positive impact on the volunteers themselves, such as access to free learning opportunities, being active citizens, getting social recognition, gaining self-esteem, new skills and experiences. As a lot of these skills and work experiences are also useful in paid and there improve the employability of volunteers. But usually these skills are acquired incidental, occasional or indirect. What are missing are more general trainings for skills development, to be more professional and efficient in volunteering. However, this is also a problem a lot of NPOs are facing: due to the financial crisis most NGOs get even less money than before, even if there services are needed even more. In order to keep their services available POs need to work more professional, efficient and effective, as resources are scare and tasks are much more complex and challenging.With these facts in mind, the German partner GLL had developed the training concept "Professional volunteering" for volunteers and NPOs, which promotes the development of professional skills and competences (e.g. project management, communications). This training program had been pilot-tested successfully in the UK, Romania and the Czech Republic with various target groups and had been further developed in a first version of an "European format". The former partners from DE and CZ formed a new partnership with known and experienced partner organisations in their neighboring countries Austria and Slovakia to transfer the ProVol training there.Within this new partnership, they want to reach 4 objectives:a) to disseminate the European format of the training program "Professional Volunteering" to neighboring countries in central Europe and improve it.b) to cross other "borders": people with learning or mental disabilities as well as migrants and refugees with insufficient second language skills (meaning understanding and speaking the language of the country they live) usually are not engaged in volunteering and therefor miss the opportunities volunteering offers. With our project we want to develop and pilot-test an "easy language" version of our training to increase the rate volunteering of these disadvantaged target group and empower them to become more active citizens in the community they live.c) to set up a professional ProVol-network/consortium and ProVol-“franchise”-system in order to deliver high quality volunteer trainings across Europe beyond project funding.d) to improve crossborder volunteering between the four participating neighboring countries, joint volunteer projects and activities in the future.Additionally partners aim to strengthen volunteering in their respective countries by qualifying volunteers and volunteer coordinators through professional trainings, and their NPOs will profit from efficiently working employees and volunteers. Thus, the lack of resources is addressed by progressing effectiveness. On the other hand, the individual benefit for each training participant is a vital aspect of the project. Volunteers gain valuable skills they need to face challenges on the job market. The project should facilitate their attempts of consolidating their competitiveness, also through providing them a clearly structured, solid and convincing reference according to an agreed reference format. Altogether 60 volunteer coordinators and volunteers will be trained, and around 320 multipliers will be reached directly. A further developed “European” format of the ProVol-training and its handbook and pedagogical material will be pilot-tested in Slovakia and Austria, and then being translated (English, German, Czech, Slovak), produced and printed in Slovakia and Austria. A newly developed ProVol-training and handbook with relevant pedagogical material in “easy language” will be pilot-tested in Germany and Czech Republic, and after that produced and printed in the two countries.Throughout dissemination activities by the four partners and their national and international networking connections partners will distribute the manuals across Europe on their project website, in order to support volunteering across Europe and enhance professional skills development of staff in NGOs and volunteers, especially volunteers, who are disadvantaged and with little or no access to formal trainings or work experience. A kind of “franchise” system will be installed by a newly formed ProVol-network/consortium, which will deliver high quality train-the-trainer programs in the future.
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3 Partners Participants