From the 1st until the 7th of April, the international seminar ‘Volunteering for Peace‘, organized by the FCV, took place in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona), with the participation of a small group of representatives from non-governmental organizations from 8 countries (Italy, Portugal, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and North Macedonia) with which FCV collaborates in the framework of transnational volunteer programs, professional practices, youth exchanges, and other training and mobility programs abroad.
In total, 18 young professionals from the non-profit sector who collaborate on a voluntary basis in youth organizations, with levels of education, track records, trainings, and levels of experience, explored the focal point between the act of volunteering and education and promotion of peace, among others questions.
By using the methodology of non-formal education practices and intercultural learning, by using games, presentations, workshops, and exercises, the participants were able to express their opinions and perspectives on issues that worry them. Which unfortunately are present everywhere in Europe, such as the rise of racism and discrimination, the need to act more decisively instead of in a more fair manner, pacifism of citizens, and and non-inclusive societies.
The activities of the seminar allowed people to connect to the reality and the work of the organizations in different European countries. The group was able to analyze the meaning and the value of five specific, transversal and transformational competences. Which the seminar proposed as key for the promotion and construction of peace: conflict management, nonviolent communication, active listening, critical thinking, and knowing how to give and receive feedback. The group gradually become involved in each one of the competences, sharing their point of view and their personal and professional experience. At the same time analyzing their connection with the training and their social needs, in a process of creative and interactive discovery.
With a small and diverse group, in order to maximize the experience of the participants themselves, we proposed participatory dynamics, favoring the exchange of ideas and proposals and creating a truly unique learning experience collectively, favored by the good group synergy. People committed to the achievement of the objectives of the activities and the improvment of their competencies through the subject of the seminar. All the participants presented work of the promotional entities, as well as their projects, tools, and activities that they use every day. In addition to the intercultural evening and the farewell party, the group did a short visit to the seafront of Vilanova i la Geltrú (Platja de la Republica, runes of the Iberian settlement of Adarró) and a tour through the center of the town.
We are very happy that the group has enjoyed and took advantage of the activities, which, observing the results of the evaluation sheets, has fulfilled their true expectations.
The activity, coordinated by the FCV, has been carried out in association with the following entities: Active Bulgarian Society, Association for Sustainable Development SFERA Macedonia, Adventure Marão Clube, CEIPES, Community Volunteers Foundation-TOG, European Association ‘World at Our Home ‘, Mozaik İnsan Kaynakları Geliştirme Derneği, NGO Continuous Action, Magical Track, System and Generation Association, United Societies of Balkans, YouNet, with the support of the Erasmus + programme of the European Commission and the Spanish National Agency.
For more information about the seminar itself and its results, you can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.