Connecting volunteering and peace in the last international seminar in Vilanova i la Geltrú

Vilanova i la Geltrú was the stage of the last international seminar Volunteering for Peace, organized by the FCV, which took place from 1 to 7 of Aprol. It was attended by a small group of representatives of non-governmental entities from 8 different countries (Italy, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Northern Macedonia), with whom the FCV collaborates in the framework of transnational volunteering programs, professional internships, youth exchanges and other training and mobility initiatives abroad.

In total, 18 young professionals from the nonprofit sector who collaborate in youth organizations, explored which are the meeting points between volunteering and peace promotion, between the management of volunteering and education for peace, among other issues.

Using the methodology of non-formal education and intercultural learning, through games, presentations, workshops, exercises and challenges, the participants were able to express their opinions and perspectives on aspects that concern them and that, unfortunately, take place throughout Europe, such as the increase in racism and discrimination or the need to act more decisively to build peaceful and inclusive societies by the voluntary organizations themselves.

The activities of the seminar allowed to know the reality and the work of the entities in several European countries. The group was able to analyze the meaning and value of five specific, transversal and transformative competences, which the seminar proposed as key elements for the promotion and construction of peace: conflict management, non-violent communication, active listening, critical thinking and feedback. The group was able to enter little by little in each one of the competences, sharing their points of view and personal and professional experiences, analyzing their relationship between training and social needs, resulting in a creative and interactive discovery.

With a small and very diverse group, in order to maximize the experience of the participants themselves, we proposed participatory dynamics, favouring the exchange of ideas and  creating a truly unique learning experience, enhanced by the good relationship within the group, which was committed to achieve the objectives of the activity and to improve their skills on the topics of the seminar. All the participants presented their work, as well as projects, tools and activities that they use every day. In addition to the intercultural festival and the farewell party, the group walked along the seafront of Vilanova y la Geltrú (Beach of the Republic, ruins of the Iberian town of Adarró) and made a tour in the center of the city.

We are very happy that the group enjoyed and took advantage of the activity, which, observing the results of the final evaluation, i has totally fulfilled their expectations.

The activity, coordinated by the FCV, has been carried out in conjunction with the following entities: Active Bulgarian SocietyAssociation for Sustainable Development SFERA MacedoniaAventura Marão ClubeCEIPESCommunity Volunteers Foundation-TOGEuropean Association ‘World at Our Home’Mozaik İnsan Kaynakları Geliştirme DerneğiNGO Continuous ActionPista MágicaSystem and Generation AssociationUnited Societies of BalkansYouNet, and with the support of the Erasmus + program of the European Commission and the Spanish National Agency.

For more information about the seminar and its results you can write to projectes@catalunyavoluntaria.cat.

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