The main aim of stage 3 is to inspire and connect you with projects and actions that are going on in your country and that of our partners countries. During this stage, you will be able to explore different initiatives and actions that are happening in Ireland, Germany, the UK and Czech Republic. By the end, you will be able to decide do you want to get involved in any of these initiatives specifically or take some of the inspiration and develop your own project in module 4.
There are many ways that you can continue you involvement in development and social justice now that you have returned home. This can include political engagement, social activism, direct actions. This section will however focus on volunteering and working with established organisations in the work that they are currently involved with. All the other ways are equally valid and necessary.
Volunteering at home
While you were abroad, did you feel that you lacked the experience, knowledge and context to be as useful as possible? Now that you are home, how much more effective could you be? You understand what’s happening in your country and community. You can get involved in longer-term action for social justice. There are plenty of organisations, projects, initiatives and movements in your local area that will welcome your involvement.
The partners of this project strongly believe in supporting returned volunteers and development workers. Your social engagement doesn’t stop at the airport after you return. On the contrary we strongly believe this is where it begins.
Below are different stages of finding a project or initiative that you might be interested in getting involved in.
Stage 1 –Research the possibilities
- Choose a project you feel strongly about – It can happen that you have alot of initial enthusiasm. It is likely that your initial motivation will soon fade. We recommend that you spend some time looking for an organisation or project that deals with issues you care about, so that you can become a happy, long-term volunteer. There are list of organisations and initiatives from Ireland, UK, Czech Republic and Germany outlined below.
- Small as well as big organisations… – there are high profile volunteering opportunities that people are familiar with. What about looking for other, less obvious opportunities with NGOs that might really appreciate your time?
- Search for online opportunities– you can search for your dream organisation or a volunteer role that you might be interested in on the internet. Below are databases that advertise volunteering positions
In the United Kingdom: Volunteering Matters
In Ireland: Volunteer Ireland and Student volunteer Ireland
In Germany: Engagementlandkarte and Gute-tat.de
In the Czech Republic: Dobrovolnik.cz and Budu pomáhat
4. Do it with someone– you might find a really exciting project your friend is working on, or you might motivate a friend who also wants to do something. Volunteering together with a friend can make it more enjoyable and less challenging from the beginning. Although, your commitment shouldn’t be totally tied to the presence of the second person. If your friend finishes, it does not mean you have to finish too. If you cant find someone then don’t be afraid to go by yourself either.
Stage 2 – What can you offer?
As well as researching potential volunteering placements, you should also identify what you can offer and how much you can offer.
- What are your skills? –It’s likely that the organisation you apply to will ask you what you can offer and what experience you have. Prepare yourself before so that you can name your skills, knowledge and competencies from previous jobs or activities.
Not sure about your competencies?
IMPROVE app is designed to help volunteers collect their experiences, identify their competencies, and demonstrate them to, for example, a potential employer.
- Would you like to learn something new? – it might sound scary to apply for a volunteering position in a completely new area, but why not to try something new? Think about areas you are interested in or you always wanted to learn more about.
- Review your schedule – you need to be realistic with the time you can and want to offer. Check your schedule and also think about the free time you need for yourself. It will help to ensure that you don’t burn out.
- For how long you can engage? – it is also important to know if you can offer your time for a whole year, or a more limited amount of time.
- Start slowly… – it might seem at the beginning that you have a lot of time to offer. However, it’s good to start slowly and check how much time the project you volunteer for actually requires and how much time you have left for all your other activities.
- …and change organisation if needed – The project may very valuable, but you might realise that it’s not the right fit for you. Don’t feel ashamed, and remember that it is your free choice to volunteer 🙂
- What type of world do I want to live in?
- What development/ social justice issue am I passionate about?
- What are my previous volunteering experience? Was it a good choice? Do I want to continue or do I want to try something new?
- What motivates me to volunteer?
- What is important for me to have good volunteering experience?
Does volunteering benefit you as well? Of course, read about 20 Awesome Benefits of Volunteering. Which other benefits you can name and which are important for you?
The partner organisations of this project are joined by a belief. We strongly believed in supporting returned volunteers and development workers. Your social engagement doesn’t stop at the airport after you return on the contrary we strongly believe this is where it begins.
This course aims to support and promote volunteers’ continuous engagement on development issues, and to strengthen their involvement as active citizens. Many volunteers return from their placements with an informed perspective on the major global challenges we are facing. These include the unequal distribution of resources, inequality, climate change, the growing number of people displaced from their homes by conflict, and more. However, returned volunteers can often feel a little lost, unable or unsure of how to get involved in working to address global justice issues. Below are development and social justice organisation that you may be interested in getting involved in.
Development opportunities in Ireland
Development opportunities in the UK
Development opportunities in Germany
Development opportunities in Czech Republic
Please leave a comment letting us know if you have completed this section have completed this section and where you are from.