Volunteering as Personal Development: how to improve?
We often talk of high ideals in the Esperanto movement. We often hear about people who, guided by their beliefs, act constantly and generously to achieve something, to further develop the Movement and somehow improve the world. These people are volunteers, people who gain from their work nothing but the satisfaction knowing that they realised something affecting other people, that they opened their eyes, exchanged views and trained about skills which they have not even imagined to exist before.
The action of volunteers today as always is the basis of the movement. Often they constantly and tirelessly working, and yet suffer in that negative evaluations -, because of some mistakes happened because of lack of experience, disorganisation or human fallibility -, as if they were overpaid professionals. Many people at the end leave the activity because of it, frequent disappointments and a lot of stress, gaining from it nothing or almost.
However, in the movements that really work, volunteering is not about exploitation of the energies of dreamers, but about joint growth and development. A man who is sworn to some belief carries in its movement of his ability, curiosity, an interest in learning and contribute. In a healthy organization, such resources are to take care about so that they raise their value and, consequently, the organization’s value.
In order to realise that, in November 2012 the company Kosmo Strategio Ltd. started organising a seminar in Edinburgh, and sent a letter of invitation to all the national associations of Association and to all the national sections of TEJO, disclosing the possibility to get a subsidy to repay travel expenses and lodging as part of the action “Grundtvig LLP Preparatory Visits”, for the setting up of Future partnership projects.
The project proposal was a two-year collaboration between Esperanto organizations to exchange experiences and skills in the perspective of training and professionalisation of the involved activists, in enriching and empowering international dimension. After the project approval, we were able to offer those people who actively volunteer in their associations the opportunity of skill development through the participation to several training seminars organised by each partner of the project itself, and that everything will be enabled by funds of the European Union. The received knowledge will then widely disseminated so that the entire movement may benefit from the project.
In January 2013 representatives of several E-organizations from Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Iceland, Denmark and Poland have worked for three days to further develop the project idea, with the help and supervision of the Kosmo’s team. The following month was dedicated to the project proposal, aimed to encourage skill empowerment and training as part of E-organisations; at the end, it was successfully submitted. The title of the project was “Volunteering as a personal development: how to improve?”, and was focused on youth organizations, sent in the Netherlands and approved by Dutch Esperanto Youth Esperanto Association of Scotland, French Esperanto Youth Organization, Federation EDE, Polish Esperanto Association, ARCI Esperanto, Esperanto-center of Torino.
The main goal of the project was skill development and professionalisation of young volunteers both through training and through exchange of best training practice among the participating organisations. The project was designed to facilitate the correction of the so-called “skill mismatch”, often in fact even high-qualified people do not have the right skills to effectively act as part of his organization. The main goal of the project is set in the fields of skill development and training of volunteers, internationally pushed forward by the World Esperanto Youth Organisation (TEJO).
- The topics planned are related to six fields:
- Organization of events,
- Teamwork, intercultural teams, management of volunteers,
- Financial management, grant writing and fundraising,
- Business skills,
- Self-management: time management, stress management, decision-making, problem solving.