An international seminar ‘Equal Volunteering Opportunities for All’ will take place from 1 to 7 September, in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona) with the participation of 25 managers, volunteer coordinators, educators, leaders and trainers actively involved in 18 non-profit and non-governmental entities (including 5 local and national volunteer centres from 13 countries: Turkey, Italy, Portugal Greece, Northern Macedonia, United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, Germany, Catalonia and Bulgaria. Ireland is represented by Siobhan Johnston from Kerry Volunteer Centre and Stuart Garland from Volunteer Ireland.

The seminar, organised by the Fundació Catalunya Voluntaria with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission, will allow us to learn from the different experiences and join efforts for a common goal, shared by all the entities, to help young people of non-EU nationalities to volunteer and express their solidarity, their capacities and their culture for the benefit of the whole population and, especially, for the benefit of the most vulnerable groups.

For this, we will analyse, first of all, what difficulties they face in participating in volunteering initiatives, which is caused by a particularly complex situation (uncertainty, insecurity, risk of social exclusion and poverty, if not because of being discriminated against),and secondly, share experiences, practices, mistakes and successes and identify those management, educational and social tools that, due to their inclusive, participative, formative and results-oriented nature, may be more relevant to improve our work.

The seminar will address the lack of a subjective right to volunteer and how this lack of foresight implies institutionalised discrimination against many people, by preventing them from joining a volunteer organisation because of their administrative situation.

In the seminar, we will reflect on the role of voluntary organisations and centres as a driving force behind citizenship and active social inclusion and we will learn, from each other, to design programs focused on promoting participation, initiative, leadership and cultural expression. Moreover, we will focus on the difficulties that may exist, and find new perspectives and ways of working and, thanks to the use of a methodology based on peer learning and exchange, we will create new knowledge in a collaborative way.

The focus of the FCV is on being able to identify those practices and tools that work and on developing 5 specific competencies, which are volunteer management; intercultural communication; management of cultural diversity; conflict management and global awareness, these are competences with great value in themselves, selected on this occasion for their usefulness at the moment of incorporating people as volunteers with diverse profiles, personal experiences and cultures.

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