The gathering of the staffers below has as main goal to advance the quality and sustainability of community youth development agenda by means of the European Voluntary Service. Additionally, they work to make sure that an increasing number of organizations get involved in the EVS action.
The European Platform for Youth Development (EPYD) is a non-governmental, non-profit, apolitical body based on regional cooperation between the European Union and partner countries from SEE & Caucasus created in 2005 (It was juridical set up in 2007).
EPYD's mission is to increase the quality & accountability, support the development, lobby for the recognition, and advocate the active participation of organizations working in the youth field.
EPYD has emerged as an innovative tool to work on the lack of recognition and validation of youth work, poor quality of international youth projects and scarcity of capacity building and sustainable development in the youth field. EPYD is to counteract the major lack of structural or policy impact on the youth field due to the low level of involvement of local, regional and national authorities in the support of youth actions that hampers any sort of long term development.
In order to achieve its goals and act according to its mission, EPYD is implementing between the 15th of August 2009 and the 15th February 2010 a new project.
Learning By Doing is a group EVS project that shall gather for 6 months 10 young volunteers from all over Europe, giving them opportunities to experience and grow on personal level as well as the challenge to contribute to the European Awareness and civic involvement of the project’ target group. The target group consist of young people aged from 12 – 25. The various activities that are to be developed within the EVS project in general as well as additional activities developed by the organization and its members will provide the volunteers with a rich intercultural learning context:
The volunteers will live and work in a rich intercultural environment created by the number of peers volunteers (along the volunteers hosted by EPYD we will encourage the cooperation with the volunteers from a neighbouring county, hosted by two partner organizations, as well as other foreigners which live and study in the region -Craiova University hosts plenty of foreign students) and will develop for the target group various non formal educational activities (art, music, drama, sport, languages, discussions on culture, European Values, etc). The majority of the activities will be implemented with the direct support of the education institutions where the youngsters from the target group are studying.
All volunteers are to be stationed in the capital city of the Oltenia Region, Craiova, a popular University town, with over 30.000 students, full of life and opportunities and personal development.
Theme: Community Development and European Active Participation and Citizenship
Provide opportunities for the volunteers personal growth, skills and abilities development
Provide for the volunteers the context for intercultural expression, creativity and innovation
Promote and develop non formal education as a method for active citizenship and civic involvement of youngsters
Strengthen the role of the education institutions in providing and promoting non formal educational activities that spur youngsters active participation
Raise youngsters European Awareness, promote European values and get youngsters more sensitive towards the actual global challenges
Encourage the active participation to the community life of youngsters with less opportunities
Raise language awareness by encouraging communication in mother tongue as well as other foreign languages
Develop and strengthen cooperation relations in between the project partners as well as other stakeholders directly involved in the project (cooperation between education institutions – both on
local, regional as well as European level)
Hosting communities: Craiova
1.Association Droni - Georgia
2.Federation Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) - Armenia
3.European Movement - Latvia
4.Genctur - Turkey
5.Jugendbildungsstätte unterfranken - Germany
6.Ev Schulerinnen - und Schulerarbeit in Westfalen - Germania
7.Youth centre Babilona – Lituania
8.Barcelona Voluntaria – Spain
9.Ayuntamiento de Vitoria - gasteiz. Oficina de Movilidad Joven
10.Associazione culturale "Arci - Strauss" - Italy
The National EVS Conference “EVS –beyond rhetoric” that took place in Craiova for 3 days : 22-24 of January 2010 is a new event implemented as part of the EVS group project “Learning by Doing” that is currently unfolding in Craiova, Dolj county, co-financed by the Youth in Action programme, managed by the Agentia Nationala pentru Programe Comunitare in Domeniul Educatiei si Formarii Profesionale (ANPCDEFP).
This was the first initiative to bring together EVS project managers, local partners and EVS volunteers from all over Romania to get an exchange of opinions, experiences and personal knowledge in relation to what makes an EVS project successful.
The conference aimed to contribute to an increase in quality of EVS projects in Romania; to set up a working group on quality in EVS; to raise awareness of quality in EVS projects; to help the participants to come up to one’s expectations, as the EVS projects aim to develop young people’s solidarity, active engagement and mutual understanding in Romania but also to raise confidence in organizing EVS projects; to exchange of good practices in between hosting and sending EVS organizations; to put the basis for an annual event to unite actors in the EVS actions in a forum of relevant issues to volunteers, organizations, the National Agency and the European Commission.
The results of the research EPYD commissioned and conducted with technical assistance from the Institute for Development Policies- IPD and Regional Association for Rural Development- ARDR are to be worked on as to creating minimum management standards that hosting organizations agree to embark on and respect.
The event was a great success, exceeding the number of participants confirmed, resulting in about 70 persons participating in the debates.
The press supported the visibility of the project by writing articles and making reportages.
Christmas Day in Mofleni
As part of their after school activities, Sara and Nuria, our two volunteers from Spain have designed and performed with the children in School 26 in Mofleni a show for the parents and teachers in the community.
In almost a month of rehearsals, children learned how to walk on the fashion stage, how to dance and recite poetries and sing carols.
The celebration began at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with a short movie about Christmas. It was a cartoon explaining how Jesus was born and the kids enjoyed it very much.
A small fashion show followed after a girl singed two carols accompanied on accordion.
After reciting poems for Santa and dancing for him, all children received gifts and parents enjoyed with a game of Bingo.
It was a beautiful afternoon and wonderful initiative to which the school promised to involve more, as such events are quite rare in Mofleni.
As Christmas is approaching fast, the volunteers realized they need to express their gratitude to the local partners which helped them during the first 4 months of the project.
Their idea, a very original one I might add, was not to buy the usual Christmas cards, but to create some themselves.
Personalized Christmas cards was the outcome of a hard week of office labor, but everybody, including our partners, appreciated the effort of receiving something new.
Starting from the beginning our volunteer from Latvia – Girts- showed real interest in Romanian pottery culture, especially the one in Oltenia region.
As an individual activity he set the idea of a new project that could be applied.
He started gathering information about this topic and visited several areas where statistics showed masters were located. What he realized during his 3 months research in forgotten villages in Oltenia and in nationally recognized museums is that traditions are dying with the exception of some of some after-school centers where wise masters preserve their craft by voluntary teaching children and youngsters how to transform soil and water into art.
Girts is writing at the moment a material and is keen in starting a campaign on raising awareness on this issue.
European Movie Night 2:
Starting from the success of the European Movie Night, Alessandro and Meike decided to expand the concept also into a high school in Craiova – Liceul Pedagogic.
Together with the councilor and the educational advisor of the institution the volunteers selected movies on topics such as: violence, love, poverty, teenage crisis, etc
What helped the dissemination of results was the debate that followed each projection. Children were encourage to speak their opinion and give solutions to the issues.
European Movie Night : November 2009 - February 2010
Each week two of our volunteers have started to present famous old and new European movies from their origin country and not only to all students in the dormitories who wanted to come.
For the first two weeks, advertising materials were designed and printed and publicity was made for the activity. Then at the beginning of December projection began.
Alessandro and Meike have now made a habit out of this and youngsters bring more and more people to these meetings.
Up to now they have seen: “Quadrofenia”, “Amarcord”, “In the name of the father”, “Gomora” which have been incredibly well received by the public.
More, the objective of these encounters, which was not only to entertain, but also to raise awareness with concern to the topics in discussion, was up to now fully accomplished. After each movie a debate followed and people got animated, expressing vividly their opinion.
Monthly Evaluation - 20-22nd of November, Musetesti
During 3 days, from November 20 to November 22, the volunteers and staffers of the EVG Group project “Learning by Doing”, shared their ideas about the implementation of the project: good and bad practices.
During the first day, all the volunteers shared with the others what each has accomplished up to the present moment, the strong points and the difficulties they have had.
The second day was dedicated for the planning of the common long term activities that will follow during the remaining three months, as well as solving some of the issues that appeared during debates in the first day.
In the last day working groups were created for each activity and everybody joined hands to create the complete project agenda.
Handcrafts: making beads jewelry - From november untill February 2010
Lilit, the girl that comes from Armenia, from Yerevan, is very skilled in creating jewels out of beads. So, she tried to share her talent to the others as well, mainly with the children from a school she visited.
Every Monday she spends an hour with each of the groups she has practicing this handicraft.The children like this activity very much, as they always play energizing games and listen to Armenian music.
Spanish classes - From november untill February 2010
Nuria, the Spanish volunteer from Barcelona, wanted to test once more her pedagogical skills and developed a beginner Spanish course for V-VIII grade pupils in school 14.
Every Monday and Friday, from twelve to two she teaches to groups of children.The courses are held in one of the classrooms in the school. The children are very perceptive and like Nuris very much. They are very enthusiastic and most fond of the Spanish games and songs they play.
EVS CARAVAN - September, October and November
During the months of September, October and November the volunteers of the EVS project “Learning by Doing” along with the project staff have designed and implemented a promoting Campaign for advertising the concept of volunteering, mainly the European voluntariate.
September was dedicated to making the action plan and creating the brochure, flyers, posters and roll-ups, engaging the local partners and programming the community visits. 5 localities were chosen: Carcea, Malu mare, Daneti, Dabuleni, Amarastii de Jos. The team made presentations both for students and teachers and parents. A mobile desk was also conceived.
Then, in October, the real action began. The first place volunteers went to was Carcea, a community with about 5000 inhabitants, located at about 6 kilometers away from Craiova. The team had a presentation in the high school, and then went into the community to talk to people and see their opinion about volunteering. The idea was well received by students, teachers and the rest of the interviewed people.
In Malu Mare, a commune situated at 10 kilometers from Craiova with almost 5000 inhabitants, things also turned out ok. Teachers especially offered to give their support in further promote the concept of European volunteering to all their students.
Similar reaction we got in the other communities as well. In Dabuleni (a town located at around 90 kilometers away from Craiova, on the shore of the Danube, with around 15.000 inhabitants), all the 3 high schools visited were interested in future strategic partnerships. In Amarasti (a commune with 6000 inhabitants, 60 kilometers away from Craiova), the community showed openness to even receive volunteers.
The objectives of this initiative were fully reached as there were 1000 students and 100 teachers involved in process and the responses we got were more than satisfying.
Afterschool classes in Mofleni, from October untill February 2010
After school classes are a key purpose of our project, but this does not apply always in real life. An explicit example is Mofleni a segregated neighborhood of Craiova whose population is 90% formed by Rroma people. In Mofleni children are not motivated to go to school, but somehow, Sara, Nuria and Meike have managed to attract them by practicing the so called concept of after school classes. Dancing, practical abilities, but also doing their homework are part of the activities done for the children’s benefit.
SARA:’’It is important to take time to know the community and go in a pleasant way". "The most important thing is that the volunteers are going to share a process of making something together with the teenagers, and in this process some values are going to be worked as well as trying to motivated them in the school".
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the 3 volunteers are working the afternoons to show pupils that they can use their time constructively in the school surroundings.
Football Trainings - From October untill February 2010
Sport is the best way to grow not only physically, but also on the mental plan and Emrah and Lea really understand that as they have played soccer all their lives on a professional level.This is one of the main reasons they decided to take upon football classes in School No. 14 so that pupils from 6th grade could also benefit from the advantages of playing and learning together.
Children’s curiosity amazed the two volunteers, as they asked to have the lessons during the holiday also.Beside this, students had an unimaginable energy, so much the Emrah and Lea felt for a second to slow for this fast world.Every Wednesday and Friday, the group op pupils joins at 12:00 the volunteers- teachers for a two hours session on the secrets of this beautiful sport.
Fimo - From October untill February 2010
As part of her activities while being an EVS volunteer in Romania, Katie wanted to teach children in school Nr. 14.As one of her abilities is to modelate fimo (a special kind of plasticine), she prepared a personal project concerning that.For about two weeks she prepared the necessary materials (finding fimo in Craiova proved to be very difficult, we had to order it on-line), music for children to create a pleasant environment and photos to explain better the concept.
All these being done, last week Katie started her lessons. She was very nervous, but after she saw children’s curiosity, things went back to normal.The activity started by presenting some fimo figurines and then children practiced their imagination.
"Learning by Doing", EPYD's actual EVS project has as purpose not only volunteers knowledge by practice, but also children's practical acquisitions.
As part of the activities implemented, Teko prepared a practical knitting course for IV-V grase students.She bought them special needles and all kind of coloured threads.Before actually starting knitting, precautions were taken, as children can easily rush things and get hurt.Now not only girls are becoming interested, but surprisingly, boys want to learn as well.
Capacity Building Programme
It was designed to meet the further needs of easy integration of the volunteers, in order to develop or create the specific skills needed in working with the civil society in Dolj County .
It was held in Musetesti, in beautiful agro-touristic pension called Nature Inn between the 11th and the 16th of September 2009.
Among the activities implemented we mention: Introduction of the ô White Book on EVS ö- further insight on technical aspects, training and support, Social Animation trainings (2 whole days) û for different segments of age, Group Work sessions: Working methods and Tools, Socializing Evenings, TC on effective communication,.The agenda also included several training sessions that were based on a series of techniques on how to build an activity plan, on how to play dynamic activities with the audience, etc.
Forming a team spirit was one of the most important purposes of the capacity building programme in musetesti.
Team building games were one of the methods most used and appreciated by the volunteers.
As part of the optimal integration, going out together to see how Romanian youngsters have fun and to enjoy our free time the same way was a big step.
In the park
The first two weeks of accommodation were created as a period in which visiting the town, touring the institutions and talking to local partners were our main focus.
the Romanescu Park is one of the most famous natural in the world, being the second largest natural parks in Europe.
Is was designed by the same architect that designed the Eiffel Tour and financed by the Mair Romanescu.
The volunteers spent a lovely afternoon there.
As a way to learn the way around the town and to have fun at the same time, we took advantage of the good weather and to Jiu, the river that flows across Craiova, to have a bath.
There we met some a Rroma family who was carrying sand from the river to the construction sites in Craiova to earn money. Parents, grandparents and children were digging for the needed material.It is hard work,but staying together and makes everything easier.
a god lesson to learn for us too!!!
Practical Romanian classes, learning the numbers and the vegetables and fruits proved to be very useful to the volunteers.
funny moments also happened.
On arrival training
This one week programme was designed and implemented by the National Agency and held in Predeal from the 30th of August to the 5th of September.
The volunteers responded well to the programme and presented us with a video they made.
Romanian culture evening
As part of the accommodation process knowing Romanian culture live represented a key element.
Dancing was included for fun and amusement...
pictures speak for themselves....
Session on security
Topics such as security, traditions, prejudices were of high interest for the volunteers.
As part of knowing Romania, they had to pay attention to how they behave not to create unpleasant situations.