This is a reference for Stefan Georgiev

Volunteering – pathway for realization

The training activity took place
in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
organised by National Alliance for Volunteer Action (NAVA)
08 - 12. 06.2015

Aims & objectives

This is a Youth Exchange (YE) as part of a KA2 project within the Erasmus+ Programme. The project aimed at developing a comprehensive analytical intellectual products and manuals, focused on the competence development process from the position of volunteers, and on the next step – identify relevant fields and spots that would fit the needs of the labor market.

The Youth Exchange aimed to recognize and develop the awareness regarding opportunities through volunteering as personal and career development and to improve the methods for using the benefits of volunteering for professional growth
In addition, the objectives of the this exchange were:
- To invite project partners’ volunteers to share and exchange different practices from their realities and experience as volunteers;
- To identify main competences (knowledge, attitudes and skills) which volunteers acquire through volunteering practices and experience;
- To reflect upon different dimensions of relation between volunteering and employment, i.e. bridging volunteers and employers/labor market;
- To reflect upon the volunteering as a field where young people develop skills, knowledge and attitudes, and to look deeper upon this area with all its strengths and weaknesses and the followed opportunities.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

The group of participants was composed of 24 young volunteers and their coordinators. Participants were coming from three different countries – Slovak Republic, Italy and Bulgaria. Based on their country of origin and the specific area of activities of their NGO, the volunteers had different and complimentary understanding of what volunteering is and what are the relations with labor market. Main organizer of the youth exchange was the Bulgarian partner – National Alliance for Volunteer Action (NAVA).

The facilitator for this learning experience was only me.

Training methods used & main activities

For the duration of this exchange there was a need of high diversity and level of interaction within the training sessions due to the specific profile of participants – most of them around 20 years old. The session flow was created to keep the balance between content-wise coherence and dynamic interpersonal interactions. Therefore, this youth exchange was in line with the main principles of non-formal learning, with a focus on creating and developing interpersonal relations and high group dynamic, without neglecting the learning.
There was intensive usage of:
- Energizers and short high group dynamic activities;
- Small group work followed by presentations
- Brainstorming sessions and analytical tools
- Simulations focused on the main topic of the activity
- Intercultural public event in downtown, engaging the public and the local population
- Role play on intercultural and interpersonal communication skills
- Tools to map challenges and opportunities related to volunteering, etc.

Outcomes of the activity

A main outcome of the activity was the process and the followed summary of sharing experiences, challenges and opportunities among participants. This included also know-how elements, based on the competence area of each project partner.
This brought the activity to its logical place – contributing to achieving project aim and objectives – namely, to address relevance between volunteering and labor market
The activity started a process of group dynamic which was used for the project next phases.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

For this activity, I was responsible for:
- Designing the program for the whole activity, including the learning process being in line with project aims and objectives, and also with the principles of non-formal learning
- Coordinating session content and flow with organizers
- Facilitating 4-day learning experience for the full duration of the program
- Providing participants with feedback
- Preparing a final report for the organizers

I worked on this training for 4 days as a full time trainer.

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