Volunteers Centre Skopje is part of the EU project “Towards Effective Humanitarian Volunteering”.
The main objective of the project is training for certification of organizations for the EU Aid Volunteers program, which is aimed at providing practical support to the humanitarian aid efforts, and at contributing towards strengthening the local capacities in countries affected by disasters. In this way, EU Aid Volunteers enables European citizens to practically help the affected communities. In order to achieve this goal, the volunteers are highly trained to acquire the necessary skills for effectively dealing with the consequences of the natural disasters.
ADRA from Slovakia is the organization which is responsible for implementing the project, and apart from Volunteer Center Skopje, other participating organizations are from Kirgizstan, Armenia, France, Nepal, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Lebanon.
VCS is the first and only organization from Macedonia, which participates in the certification process. Thus, VCS continues its active participation in various humanitarian actions, and remains dedicated in the sphere of volunteering and offering assistance where it is needed. With this project, the human resource capacities in the organization itself are enhanced, but it also contributes to raising the public and civic awareness of strengthening the democratic structures and cherishing the humanitarian dimension in society through cooperation and affirmation of the young.
Due to the latest situation with Covid-19 pandemic, the training and the meetings were taking place online, during which VCS acquired the necessary knowledge, tools and skills to complete the certification process.
The practical training started on the online Zoom platform, and was held by the ADICE organization from France, which introduced us, step by step, into the process of completing the necessary documents, tools and forms. They indicated the need to create policies compatible to the EU Aid Volunteers regulations, connected to security, data protection, equal opportunities and non-discrimination, protection of children and vulnerable categories and code of conduct.
After each meeting, we had “homework assignment” to work on the relevant documents, which were supposed to be completed by the following meeting. This dynamics helped us to complete the documents in time and regularly and to implement the remarks that were noted by the organizers.
During the training, we were told that if we manage to complete all documents and procedures, we would be able to apply for the yearly project for deployment of an EU Aid volunteer as a host organization. This gave us an even stronger motivation to complete the obligations in the given time frame, and we managed to apply for certification and for the project for deployment at the same time. Volunteers Centre Skopje will hold seminars, presentations and workshops in Macedonia, where it will inform the young people and all those interested in volunteering about the program EU Aid Volunteers and all benefits that result from it.
This is an excellent opportunity for Volunteers Centre Skopje and Macedonia to become a part of the great European humanitarian concept aimed at helping countries that want to increase their local capacities, which are affected by various natural catastrophes and social crises that need professional help in order to deal with the consequences.
The organizers offered a great help during the entire course of the training, they mentored us and gave us support in completing the documents and were always ready to respond to our questions. Although the whole training was taking place online, we the participants led discussions and exchanged experiences, and in such a way got close and developed friendships. Several trips are envisaged to the countries participating in the project, but when they will take place depends on the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that we will have the opportunity to also get to know each other in person, thus continuing and deepening our friendship and cooperation.