From June 30 to July 1, 2011, in celebration of both the International Youth Year (IYY) and Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10), 18 young people and volunteers' projects organisers met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
In the context and in reference to the 2009 agreement and work plan between United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the European Commission/DG Education and Culture/Youth in Action Programme, UNV invited the UNESCO NGO Joint Programmatic Commission on Youth led by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the European Commission and the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS), in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in organising an activity anchoring volunteerism as part of promoting civic participation, people-to-people activities and networking.
Participants came from 18 different countries, namely: India, Sweden, Egypt, Ukraine, Brazil, Serbia, Philippines, Honduras, Rwanda, Belgium, Czech Republic, Zambia, Mexico, Peru, Armenia, Hungary, the USA and France.
The workshop's specific objectives were:
- To convene a global dialogue among young people as volunteers and "change agents" with specific focus on some themes: life skills, leadership, literacy, employability and heritage education and preservation.
- To use the knowledge exchanged to establish new partnerships, develop new initiatives and programmes and to replicate good practices presented by youth based on their experiences.
- To show the importance of volunteering through Non-Formal Education (NFE) and how it can be done.
During the first part of the workshop, the participants were divided into working groups. They presented the projects they were working on and shared experiences according to the idea "Sharing successful voluntary service projects". They discussed on the tools they use to overcome obstacles and challenges. Finally, they presented the best practices and lessons learned of Non-Formal Education and its added value to achieve life skills, heritage education, literacy and community-centred Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and sustainable development.
The second part of the activity ended with the participants putting forward a set of recommendations addressing potential stakeholders they would like to work with (such as Governmental bodies; private sector; civil society organisations; local communities...). Participants compiled a set of recommendations demonstrating the added value of youth volunteerism and Non-Formal Education.
The workshop and its results will be reported by the United Nations Secretary-General, as an official activity undertaken during the International Year of Youth.
United Nations Volunteers (UNV): http://www.unv.org/
UNESCO NGO Joint Programmatic Commission on Youth: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/social-transformations/youth/cooperation-with-ngos/joint-programmatic-commission-on-youth-of-the-unesco-ngo-liaison-committee/
European Commission/DG Education and Culture/Youth in Action Programme: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/overview_en.htm
Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS): http://ccivs.org/
World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM): http://scout.org/