My organization, Volunteers Centre Skopje was a part of a three phase project in Serbia, working title: Seeds for sustainable development, held during the 2016 on several locations. It was a project of the Erasmus+ program implemented by our partners from Serbia. As we already completed the youth exchange and the training course, the last part was job shadowing, an opportunity to spend time in the host organization, learn and monitor their work and activities and, of course to bring back home best practices. I was happy to be selected for this part as our hosts, Ritam zdravlja and Environment Engineering Group is working in ecology and sustainability and my profession as biologist includes and is closely realted with subjects like these.
The venue was Novi Sad, one of my favorite cities so the excitement was high. The date was 15 to 25 of October 2016, so naturally the city and the surroundings were covered with all the colors of the autumn that makes you stare on the landscapes and not to blink in order to absorb all that beauty. Me and the others participants coming from Croatia, Romania and Portugal, together with the local volunteers and people involved in the work of our host, we closely collaborated on different activities and done several cultural and study visits in the city and the region. We visited Fruska Gora, mountain nearby, to witness the activities that our host organization has performed there in order to preserve the environment, raise awareness among the local population and connect local organizations to work closely on projects. Actually the whole three phase project was about similar issues. It aimed to raise awareness among the citizens on their role and impact on the environment, give them education, knowledge and options for more sustainable choices regarding their future, as well as to enhance the capacities of different organizations, companies and other stake holders to implement best practices known.
We have visited local municipalities like Jazak and Irig, Sremski Karlovci, to meet some representatives of local organizations and companies, wineries and agro-business to hear their successful story. Of course, there was a time for cultural visit to see the most incredible sights of Novi Sad, churches, cathedrals and the most famous Petrovaradin fortress. We meet local youngsters involved in activities and joined some of their actions like planting trees and other plants and flowers in front of the newly opened Youth Club. We also took part in the Autumn Fair of Novi Sad to recycle and exchange old paper, newspapers, book and similar for planting trees and flowers. Our hosts already participated several times in this activity but this time we set a record saving a lot of trees for a paper. Even the media was present and the local authorities came to congratulate.
It was a great experience to shadow and help the work of our host, Ritam zdravlja and Environment Engineering Group, learn a lot of practical work and establish new connection with organizations that will work in future on different project in this area with my organization, the Volunteers Centre Skopje. Some of their unique ideas and best practice that I brought back home and shared can be easily implemented in our communities. That`s how we can make our future more sustainable.