The regional “Volunteering Development” study tour took place in Almaty on February 3-5, 2017 and has become a platform for volunteering development in Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan. During the training 23 participants – volunteerism leaders from five countries — Azerbaijan (4 people), Kazakhstan (6 people), Kyrgyzstan (4 people), Tajikistan (4 people) and Turkmenistan (5 people) had an opportunity for learning from experienced trainers, taking over speakers’ experience from the most successful volunteering projects. A gender balance was maintained during the practical training: there were 14 men and 12 women.
The training was conducted by experienced coaches of the “National Volunteers Network” and “Bilix HR Solutions Center”. The main concepts of volunteerism were reviewed, and methods of organizing and training volunteers, including for large-scale activities, were reiterated and explored. The training was full of excellent examples, challenges, and gave rise to topical issues discussions and sometimes even fierce debates.
Five speakers provided voluntary support in conducting a regional study tour.
“Eldani” Charitable Foundation shared its experience in engaging volunteers for organizing jobs for people with disabilities. “Eldani” souvenir workshop provides an opportunity for working, earning a living and becoming independent to physically and mentally impaired people.
TV producer and presenter, member of the board of trustees of “AMILA” Charitable Foundation and one of the leaders of volunteers movement “Organized Volunteers Groupage” Adel Orazalinova talked about their volunteering initiatives. Adel’s bright, emotional and informative speech both demonstrated new practices in the volunteerism activity and highlighted acute problems in this sphere.
“The volunteers like Adel are an inspiring example”, “Special thanks to Adel for a heartwarming and sincere approach”, “The facilitator with a glorious sense of humor”, “Amazingly easy and informative”, “She has charged with energy for the whole day!”.
A presentation of “The Joy of Old Age” Center showed how the efforts of voluntarily united people can help lonely elderly people. It’s not a secret that a primary need of lonely elderly people is not food, clothes and medicine; a primary need of theirs is care for them. “The Joy of Old Age” is a group of volunteers who render comprehensive assistance and support to elderly people.
The volunteerism practice in Kazakhstan was demonstrated by specific examples.
Visiting sporting competitions of the 28th World Winter Universiade (men’s ice hockey, women’s ice hockey and slalom) gave a chance to see and evaluate the work of volunteers.
A visit to “Training café”, a project of the “Psychoanalytic Association”, turned out to be very vivid and inspiring too.
“The most inspiring and efficient project!”, “You are just super! You are inspiring us with what you are doing”, “Special thanks to personally Rasima Temerbayeva for the invaluable experience”, “The facilitator worthy of admiration”, “Excellent “Training café”, a good idea, empowering experience”, “It was very interesting to visit “Training café!”
The participants visited the Directorate of the 28th World Winder Universiade where Ablai Kondybayev shared the experience in organizing volunteers in large-scale sporting events such as the Universiade and ЕХРО 2017.
“Lessons learned on preparation for large-scale events”, “It’s very interesting, informative and helpful”, “Invaluable experience and knowledge in holding major sporting events”, “There are just no words for that…well done, everything was taken account of”, “Very helpful information on the threshold of Asiade-2017”, “Super!”, “Practical advice on volunteer selection and work with volunteers”.
Undoubtedly, the study tour participants will apply within their countries the knowledge they have gained and will, of course, raise a level of projects and events to be held in 2017 such as the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan; the 5th Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabad, Turkmenistan, and many other in own organizations and social media.
In turn, the participants of regional volunteerism training emphasized “the invaluable experience, new knowledge, fresh ideas” that they will be able to use in their own work:
- New contacts / partnership relations (22 of 24 feedback questionnaires received)
- Helpful information (19 of 24 feedback questionnaires received)
- Relevance for being applied in an organization (17 of 24 feedback questionnaires received)
- Need in sharing the knowledge received with other employees of an organization (17 of 24 feedback questionnaires received)
Following completion of the study tour, the participants developed in detail their country-related follow-up action plans that include such activities as:
- Highlight the practical training in Almaty and “Partnership for Innovations P4I” Program in social media and partner organizations;
- Organize joint volunteering projects;
- Develop a draft standard volunteer’s passport (Kyrgyzstan);
- Conduct a series of trainings for volunteers of own and partner organizations;
- Prepare recommendations for improvement of law “On Volunteerism” to the Committee for Matters Concerning Young Persons (Tajikistan);
- Develop joint projects and sign memorandums with partners from other countries.