Getting Involved: not only a good project claim, but a real commitment to values and results of the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative. Indeed, the last phase of the EU Aid Volunteers project: GETTING INVOLVED has seen many workshops in non-EU country partners of the project. In Bugendana (Burundi), AVEDEC (Association Villageoise d’Entraide et de Développement Communautaire), partner of the project lead by GVC, organized two two-day-long workshops which involved 25 people.

The program included:

  • the presentation of Avedec, GVC and France Volontaires, focused on their activities and how they employed volunteers;
  • a general overview about EU Aid Volunteers projects, especially concerning how to strenghen capacities of local preparedness and response to humanitarian crises, as well asadvantages and problems of employing European volunteers in Burundi. AVEDEC was in charge of the presentation;
  • group works, dedicated to risk management, humanitarian aid and AVEDEC institutional capacities to deal;
  • questions and answers.

Mr. Nestor Mburente (President of Avedec) exposed their previous experiences in volunteer management. In general, he thinks volunteers are an important resource and a great opportunity of exchange, not only professionally speaking but at a cultural level also. Especially, Avedec stressed how volunteer skills and their professional experiences helped the organization concretely  in project development tasks and ICTs competencies.

Mr Emmanuel Nkurunziza (GVC) presented GVC: non profit organization created in 1971 in Italy that has been working in Burundi since 1995 on food security, water and sanitation (WASH) and health. He exposed different activities led by GVC local office and the previous experience of GVC in European Volunteers deployment.

Mr. Telngar RASSEMBEYE (France Volontaires expert) explained International volunteering regulations referring especially on agreements between sending and hosting organisations. He focused on the importance of volunteer deployment process aspects, such as selection (to be done after a previous local needs assessment), deployment conditions, security and, last but not least, cultural elements.

Results of group works identified the main risks for Burundi: floods, droughts, insects, rains, political and social crises, civil wars, bush fires and demographic pressure. All these catastrophes would have relevant consequences on the country, such as soil degradation, crops decrease, displacements, poverty, decrease of resources. Participants agreed on the potentiality of hosting experts and professional volunteers in order of improving their local capacities in facing humanitarian crises. At the same time, they stressed fundamental values of AVEDEC as an organisation which acts following Impartiality, Honesty, Neutrality, Humanity and Compassion. Values that shared by GVC and that should be shared by future volunteers. Finally, they mentioned cultural differences as main elements that could create problems and diminish effectiveness to volunteers contribution but at the same time as a great opportunity for both the hosting organisation as well as for volunteers. Just as EU AID VOLUNTEERS is. 

For any further information about EU AID VOLUNTEERS initiative, please contact our help desk, designed to provide answers and support to individuals and organisations in getting to know the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and in getting involved in this new opportunity: http://www.euvolunteerportal.org/en/get-involved/

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