Europe’s so-called “refugee crisis” and the 2015 “summer of migration” triggered a wave of solidarity actions and volunteering activities by civil society organisations and ordinary citizens, including migrants and refugees themselves. The VAI project has been inspired by this wave of solidarity back in 2015-16, but it unfolded amidst its fading out. It sought to explore how and why does volunteering by, with and for immigrants may relate to integration. The project’s overall objective was to explore innovative actions facilitating active participation and social integration. This was approached through a stepwise process of 3 Work Packages: “National Researches”, ”Capacity Building” and “Establishing volunteering opportunities” – hence producing “better knowledge”, creating “better tools”, and promoting “better practice”. These tasks were undertaken by 10 partners from Academia, Civil Society, Local Government & Media, based in 4 countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece.
Report on Pilot Actions
The VAI Pilot Actions were developed largely independently by different partners at different countriers and localities. This is largely reflected on the reports presented in this document, whereby different rationales and formats may be observed even for actions of the same type. This may have been partly due to a rather loose design at a first place, certainly relates to the different types of partners and kinds of actions planned, yet it also owes to loose communication and coordination at this stage of the project. Nevertheless, rather than a weakness, it proved to be an advantage adding value and diversity to the project, as well as the potential for ongoing relevant activities after it comes to an end. This is because a wealth of perspectives and approaches in developing similar actions was brought forward, building on each partners‘ area of expertise and experience, but also on their role within VAI and the project‘s past outcomes and results, creatively employed to develop and implement the Pilot Actions.
Impressions from VAI Closing Conference
Pilot Action Hellenic Red Cross
Hellenic Red Cross have involved Third Country Nationals as volunteers in their corps, employing the capacity framework developed in the context of this project.
Pilot Action Four Elements
On the 14th of December 2019, Four Elements, with the valuable contribution of the Hellenic Red Cross, implemented the trainings of volunteers’ trainers and immigrants volunteers. The trainings were conducted at the premises of “Impact Hub Athens”, a multifunctional open space in the center of the city, with the participation of more than 32 in total. The Hellenic Red Cross significantly contributed by directly contacting potential participants for both trainings.
Pilot Action Verein Multikulturell
In the pilot action of Verein Multikulturell 8 trainers were involved in the training in order to adopt a methodology for effective training process with volunteers.
Pilot Action University of Calabria
The University of Calabria organized various round tables and workshop to promote best practices.
Pilot Action Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
On 10 July 2019, the Aristotle University team organized a networking event among civil society organisations in Thessaloniki entitled: «Refugees, migrants and volunteering: on the road to inclusion». 40 representatives and members of local civil society organisations came together in LAB29A of the NGO SolidarityNow.
Guide and Toolkit for Training Migrant Volunteers
The Guide for Training Migrant Volunteers assists trainers of volunteers to design and deliver effective training. It reviews training environment issues that shape how migrants-volunteers are trained and provides an introduction to competency-based training. The Toolkit for Training Immigrants Volunteers builds upon the issues discussed in this guide. It is divided in three different sections: exercises to be used before and during the training as well as evaluation methods to be used after the training.They should be read in parallel.
VAI Closing Conference
From December 4th to December 5th the VAI Closing Conference will take place at Piraeus Medical Association. Our greek partnes prepared a great program: Check it out!