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Volunteering: a way to environmental education

The international training course "Volunteering: a way to environmental education" took place from the 23rd to 30th of September 2011 in the Ecological leisure time centre Švýcárna, situated in the Josefov Valley near Křtiny stream in Moravský kras (South Moravia Region, Czech Republic), which is one of the most important karst areas in Central Europe.

HBgroupThe course was developed by Brontosaurus Movement (Czech Republic), involved 20 lectors and organizers and welcomed 21 participants (youth leaders, volunteer leaders and executive members of youth organizations), who belonged to 7 non-profit organizations from different European Union, candidates and Eastern Europe and Caucasus region countries:
  • System and G (Greece)
  • Keric (Slovakia)
  • Stepanavan Youth Centre (Armenia)
  • Brontosaurus Movement (Czech Republic)
  • DESINCOOP - Desenvolvimento Económico, Social e Cultural, CRL (Portugal)
  • Young Researches of Serbia - Voluntary Service of Serbia (Serbia)
  • Mersin Youth Works Resource Centre (Turkey)

The course aimed to:

  • Lead the participants to a personal, socio-educational and professional development - develop competences, knowledge, skills and attitudes related to work with youth and with volunteers for environment (higher quality practice);
  • improve integrations of different forms of volunteering (legislative, safety, practical and other aspects);
  • build a partnership for new international cooperation between organizations and youth (with the possibility of developing new projects together).

Impressions of a participant

HBsessionAlthough I have not so much experience as a volunteer, and my knowledge about how non-profit organizations usually work and develop their educational activities is quite limited, I would say that my first international training course was a huge success, and I truly believe that all the actors involved were satisfied at the end of the event.
The course met all my expectations, since it was more than learning experience, it was an intercultural exchange full of emotions. First of all, it allowed me to meet my future hosting organization (for my European Voluntary Service) and people from different countries (we spent a whole week together, and in spite of differences regarding cultural background and language were able to communicate between us fluently, and, as a result, to know each other a little, to share good time and to make some new friendships).
Secondly, the training itself was interesting and entertaining, with different kind of activities, following the working methods of the non-formal education, which was quite new and positive for me, because I was used to a formal way of learning, less creative and enjoyable, and not always more effective. The practical tasks we made helped me to improve my communication skills and self-confidence, which will be important in my professional life in a short term. The presentations of Czech and participant's NGOs (focused somehow on environmental topics and/or on youth and education) were really productive and participative, letting me know the kind of job they do and some practical information and tips about volunteering for environment.
Finally, I would like to say that, from my point of view, the only negative point of the organization was that the schedule was a little bit overloaded for such a short time, which sometimes didn't let us make a better use of the lecture and I was a bit exhausted.
So, in conclusion, I am really grateful for having the chance to participate in this course and to be there with the trainers and participants, who have inspired and motivated me to continue volunteering for environment and to use my knowledge for the benefit of nature and our society.
Diego Díaz Abad (EVS volunteer in Brontosaurus Movement, February 2012)

Impressions of an organizer

I consider the course was a success. We achieved the main important targets.
We had to deal with some trouble as well. One of the partner organisations cancelled its participation short time before the beginning of the course. We felt unpleasantly surprised, we see the fault in the insufficient communication during the preparation period. Next time we are going to get more in touch and to give to all partners more detailed information about the preparations and partner responsibility. HBbrno
The course had very friendly atmosphere. I am sure it supported the possibility of further voluntary, environmental and international projects. Me personally, I stay in informal touch with many participants. Our organisation is currently planning cooperation with Slovak and Greek organisations on short-term camps, with Armenian organisation on EVS, Serbians have already joined project of our partner Czech organisation "Genesis".

The training course "Volunteering: a way to environmental education" was supported by "Youth in Action" Programme of the European Commission. Czech National Agency, Action 3.1.

For more information see:

Hnuti Brontosaurus (Czech Republic)