SALTO-YOUTH Title

History of EVS trainings in EECA

Between 2006-2010 SALTO EECA together with local EVS trainers organised over 70 EVS trainings in EECA region. It helped to increase quality of many EVS projects.

Introduction

Since the very beginning SALTO EECA works at increasing the quality of one of the most important pillars of Youth in Action Programme - the European Voluntary Service (EVS) projects, especially taking place in EECA region. The first years of SALTO EECA brought several contact making seminars and training courses focused on the EVS projects management and development, like:

  • TC "EVS4U" in 2004
  • three CMSs "Yth2" in 2005 and 2006
  • TC/CMS "EastWestEVS" in 2006, 2009, 2010
  • TC/SV "Train to EVS" in 2006

Those events were crucial to establish the partnerships between organisations, future EVS projects' partners and to deepen their basic understanding of the European Voluntary Service. Training course allowed participants to understand the most essential elements of EVS, like the volunteer self-development and learning, support for the hosting organisation, impact on the local communities both in the hosting country and back in homeland as well as need for constant training.

The EVS training cycle consist of activities, that support volunteer in own learning process throughout a project:

  • on-arrival training
  • mid-term meeting

Additionally to strenghten the learning as well as project's impact, once a year there is an EVS event.

All elements of the EVS Training cycle are very important for the well-being of volunteer abroad as well as overall success of a project. Within the Programme Countries of Youth in Action Programme, the National Agencies are in charge of the EVS Training cycle. In South East Europe as well as in Eastern Europe and Caucasus the respective SALTO Resource Centres are responsible for this support measures for EVS volunteers. This secures trainings' minimum standards set by the European Commission in 2004.

Motivation

SALTO EECA Resource Centre provides EVS trainings cycle for volunteers as well as necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to those trainers who conduct EVS trainings in the EECA region. There were many reasons for SALTO EECA involvement into the EVS Training cycle in EECA region. Among them three presented below.

  • First of all SALTO EECA would like to secure the necessary level of quality of EVS Trainings. There should be a clear distinction, especially between the on-arrival training, with own objectives + minimum standards and local induction or introduction into organisation. In EECA region very often the both elements of EVS project were mixed up. Sometimes the on-arrival training was only a local induction from hosting organisation, and therefore didn't provide the necessary learning support for volunteer and understanding on rights and responsibilities of all EVS actors.
  • Moreover, when on-arrival or mid-term trainings were organised by the host organisation, it was very difficult for volunteer to be able to see own development from the perspective. All relations, friendships or conflicts from daily work became a part of the training and didn't allow volunteer to have own space for self-reflection and evaluation.
  • Secondly SALTO EECA had to make sure that volunteers hosted in EECA countries have possibility to meet and create contacts, own networks. In the region without formal structures supporting EVS volunteers (like National Agencies etc.) it is extremely important that volunteers from different organisations get together and become a support for each other. This is not only a basic minimum standard of EVS Trainings but also the fundamental tool for risk prevention and crisis management.
  • Finally, not all EECA organisations, that host EVS volunteers had enough human resources to provide the EVS trainings. Lack of skills and even more important attitudes towards very specific learning event, as EVS training is, created big gap in the learning process for volunteers. Huge cultural differences among some of Programme and Eastern European & Caucasian countries brought a strong need for harmonised trainings, run by the trainers proficient in European Voluntary Service, to support young people in the cultural shock they might have.

Developments

In August 2006 SALTO EECA organised a first Training of EVS Trainers from Eastern Europe and Caucasus. In the time of Programme shift ("Youth" transformed into "Youth in Action") the Resource Centre wanted to launch a experimental phase of EVS Training support. The first training for trainers took place in Poland and gathered dozen of youth workers from EECA interested in EVS Trainings. The aim of these meeting was to rise the quality of the EVS Trainings and create the organisational setting for future common/joint EVS Trainings. During the next 12 months some of participants got involved into the EVS Trainings support and organised first common/joint EVS Trainings in Eastern Europe and Caucasus, especially in Ukraine and Georgia.

The experimental phase confirmed the reality of many EVS hosting projects and most of the reasons why SALTO EECA got involved into the EVS Trainings cycle in Eastern Europe & Caucasus. Especially the preparations for those common/joint EVS trainings that took place, showed the huge need to organise such events on the regular basis.

In September 2007 SALTO EECA Resource Centre decided to organise a group of trainers from Eastern Europe & Caucasus, already experienced in EVS, to support the EVS Training cycle on deeper level and with stronger impact. Between 15th and 23rd of September almost twenty trainers met in Simeiz, Ukraine for a high quality level Training of EVS Trainers.

You may find detailed Reports from both Trainings here:

In the end of 2009, thanks to support from Polish, French and German National Agencies, SALTO EECA organised a meeting of those experienced in EVS from Eastern Europe and Caucasus. The meeting allowed over 20 participants to discus the most burning issues of EVS in EECA as well as to have a say in harmonisation process of EVS trainings and accreditations.

Between 2006-2010 SALTO EECA together with local EVS trainers organised over 70 EVS trainings in EECA region. It helped to increase quality of many EVS projects.

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