Volunteering forms the backbone of civil society, especially the European one. It can take many different forms: Helping people with special needs in your neighbourhood, working with children from difficult backgrounds in transformation countries, or also setting up own projects in collaboration with international partners that convene participants in an intercultural environment. Volunteering creates a classical win-win situation, as volunteers contribute to society and small communities but also develop their own skills further and raise personal life satisfaction.
Therefore, Citizens of Europe has been both a hosting and sending organisation in the European Voluntary Service run through the Youth in Action programme of the European Commission for several years already. We created an own field of cooperation for volunteering and are constantly improving the cooperation with our partners in the field.
From 6-10 September 2009 Citizens was a partner in the study visit “Let’s explore EVS potential” organised by Fundacja Nowy Staw in Lublin. It convened both EVS coordinators and volunteers from organisations active in EVS from several European countries. Executive officer and EVS coordinator Gert Röhrborn together with volunteer Anna Jones from Great Britain met with partner organisations from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey to exchange experiences about mentoring and working with volunteers, which were later also discussed with a representative of the Polish National Agency. A number of prospective hosting organisations in the Lublin and Zamosc region presented themselves to the participants of the study visit in order to establish strong relations between partners in the future. Being already very experienced in hosting activities Citizens aspires to strongly raise its profile as a sending organisation in the future.