As a new intern in the Eiva association, I had the chance to go to Spain for a few days to discover and participate in an international project called Vosotros.
Vosotros is an Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project gathering eight different associations from eight different countries all coordinated by CEMEA France. The associations are coming from France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Poland and Romania.
Its goal is to create methodology to measure the impact of volunteering in Europe on the volunteers, the structures that host the volunteers, the territories that help the structures and the beneficiaries, the people that get benefit from the activities organised by the volunteers thanks to the structures and territories.
To do so, the project organised study-visits in the up-said countries, to visit the local structures, meet the volunteers and the beneficiaries and to analyse the impact of the different activities on a local level.
Since the beginning of the project, they did a first visit in Poland where they defined the terms and methodology that they could use to fulfil their goal. Then they went to Arad in Romania for the first study-visit, they continued in Lisbon in Portugal, where they could meet a lot of organisations then in Nantes, in France, to meet the french volunteers and different international programs for volunteering.
This was the last study visit before Spain, where I could join the team and to actively participate in the project.
The study visit
The study visit occurred from the 19th of April 2022 to the 22nd of April 2022 in Madrid, just a few days to try to visit as many structures as we can on the local level and to try to analyse how volunteering works in Spain.
Our plane landed in Madrid on the 19th and we had some free time to go to the hotel and to meet a part of the team, as the work would start on the next day, we went to meet with the French team from Cemea and the Italians from CSV Lazio around a dinner in a typical spanish tapas restaurant. I didn’t know anyone at that time except my boss, so I was a little bit nervous to meet the people but I had no problems adapting to the mood as everyone was really friendly. We were part of an intercultural project based around open mindedness so I had nothing to be afraid of.
The second day, we went to Coordinadora, the Spanish association, who was in charge of managing the study visit in Madrid. They started with a presentation of the project for the people, like me, who were new to it. They presented the volunteering system in Spain and how the association is working hand to hand with other structures in the city to have a bigger impact on the local community.
We then had a lunch break, an opportunity for me to try and know the people of the team better to be more useful for the group and the project.
After this, we went to a first association called Barro where we could meet some volunteers working there to create a safe, socio-educational space for children and families in situations of social exclusion or vulnerability. All the people we met were trying to add an idea of volunteering and solidarity for the beneficiaries, and most of the volunteers working there were once beneficiaries themselves, they wanted to give back what they had with the association.
After this visit, the day ended with a cultural discovery of Spain by visiting a little bit of the city centre and having a typical Spanish dinner with the team.
On thursday, we splitted in two groups, to cover a bigger amount of associations on the day, we went to an European Youth centre, which tries to create a place for young people to work and to enjoy some time in the association, it also hosts association such as Europa Joven and we had the chance to meet international volunteers. It was really interesting to me as I was a volunteer with the European Solidarity Corp in Romania, this way I can learn how the experience of others is in the same kind of activities and mobilities. We had a lot of presentations which were interesting to me, I got a better understanding of how volunteering in Spain works and I think that it was one of the main points that we needed to get towith the study-visit.
On this day, we didn’t have much time to visit, and I got interviewed by CEMEA at the end of the day to explain why I came back to Romania and how my experience as a former volunteer impacted me for my professional life.
We ended the day in a covered market enjoying a concert of one of the workers of the association Barro eating croquetas and tortillas.
On the last day of the visit, we had the last visit in Fevocam, and a public presentation about the Vosotros project and what has been done already. We then had some group work to try to analyse what we saw, what we can get from it.
It was really interesting to talk with the people of the group about how they saw each interview and presentation and what they got from it as a conclusion for the impact of volunteering in Spain. We then did a presentation of our results in front of the whole group and the day ended.
We had to leave Spain but with newly made friends from all over Europe and a feeling of getting the work done.
This was my first experience in such an international project. I was able to see the whereabouts of organising such an event. I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to meet so many people from so many different countries with different cultures and to work with them on a project like this was a truly beneficial experience for me.
I think that I earned a lot of knowledge from the participants in the project and from the structures and people that we met in Spain. The Vosotros project is a good opportunity to discover and learn about volunteering opportunities all around Europe and I think it can be a good tool for people to know more about the opportunities for mobilities they can do to act for the society as volunteers.