Volunteering for the future
‘Volunteering for the Future’ is a project that was developed by Comhlámh and three of our partner organisations across Europe, Volunteering Matters in the UK, INEX in Czech Republic and finep in Germany. Collectively we believe in the power and importance of returned volunteers taking action when they return to their home community. The aim of this project was to explore how to support returned volunteers become active citizens while using the knowledge and experience they gained while in the global south to create actions for social justice at home.
Johanna Macey is an American environmental activist and author, talks about how hoping for a better world is not enough. It needs to be active. This is what she calls “Active hope” and as she says it is our gift for a better world.
“It is no longer appropriate to think only in terms of even my nation or my country, let alone my village. If we are to overcome the problems we face, we need what I have called a sense of universal responsibility rooted in love and kindness for our human brothers and sisters. In our present state of affairs, the very survival of humankind depends on people developing concern for the whole of humanity, not just their own community or nation. The reality of our situation impels us to act and think more clearly. Narrow-mindedness and self-centered thinking may have served us well in the past, but today will only lead to disaster. We can overcome such attitudes through the combination of education and training.”
― Johanna Macy, Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects
As part of this, we developed a number of supports to help organisations work with their returned voluneters. This includes research into how to support active citizenship, a number of training manuals and a companion/reflection manaul to help trainers explore their practice. They are available here https://comhlamh.org/erasmusplus/
For the volunteer developed an online course available here https://volunteeringforthefuture.com/. This aims to inspire motivate people to take actions for a more justice world. We also ran a number of training courses. We will host another one on the 24th of this month in the Comhlámh offices. It will support people to develop their ideas into actions so they can play their part in “active hope”
Some of the actions that have been developed by returnees as part of this project are a urban garden in Germany, a fair deal for young people following Brexit, a nature based social enterprise in the Czech Republic and a reusable cup campaign in Ireland. If you are interested in getting invovled you can sign up below.