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11/12/2014 - Belgium - Voluntary service organisations meet at Don Bosco Youth-Net
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(ANS – Heverlee) – On the 9th of December Don Bosco Youth-Net hosted a meeting for voluntary service organisations at the international secretariat in Heverlee, Belgium. The main focus of the meeting was to initiate more cooperation in the field of voluntary service.

by Rein Meus

Attending were staff members of Volontariat Bewegt and Jugend Eine Welt from Austria, Jeugddienst Don Bosco from Belgium, Don Bosco Volunteers from Germany, SAMEN from the Netherlands and Bosco Volunteer Action from UK.  The meeting was facilitated by Ela Jakubek, a DBYN trainer and former employee of the Polish voluntary service organisations SWM.

As this was the first time the organisations were meeting in a formal setting, the programme was mainly targeted at getting to know the other organisations. The group identified good practices and challenges in the five stages of a voluntary service: selection, preparation, implementation, evaluation and continued engagement. One of common challenges identified is the trend that sending organisations see voluntary service mainly as an educational programme for the volunteers, while host organisations often see the volunteer only as an extra worker.

The second aim was to define if more cooperation is needed and what role DBYN could play in this process. The group decided that the format for the meeting was very successful. The participants all expressed their interest in organising such a meeting on a more regular basis.  In this way a common basis can be developed which could be used in a few years’ time to apply for a larger-scale cooperation project at the European Union.

Don Bosco Youth-Net is currently developing its new master plan for the period 2015-2017. 

Published 11/12/2014

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