ENI CBC News

    ENI CBC News

    ENI CBC for young volunteers: the network is growing!

    Exactly two years ago the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative managed by the Association of European Border Regions opened its doors to the ENI CBC community. Since then, despite the COVID-19 challenge, almost a dozen of volunteers have participated in ENI CBC projects, working both in the EU Member States and Partner Countries. We’ve talked to some of them – engaged in the projects under the Black Sea Basin and Mediterranean Sea Basin programmes – about their IVY experience, best memories, and plans.

    I started as volunteer, now I’m part of the team

    “A French friend of mine by ERASMUS did an IVY for a Interreg Alcotra project in Turin, and that is how I got to know the IVY initiative… So, I decided to find a project coherent with my desire to develop project management skills in the social sphere.  I checked all INTERREG/ENICBC platforms and found the MYSEA project.  As an IVY, I supported project management tasks – implementation of project activities, reporting, events organisation, communication, etc. It took me some time to find myself at ease among the several project management tools, procedures and documents. Fortunately, the staff helped me in the process! The MYSEA project has surely added valuable experience to my professional background: it allowed me to become part of the project team officially! I am currently covering the position of project data entry.”

    Discovering Armenia was a lifetime experience

    “During the first half of 2021 I was volunteering within the European Solidarity Corps in Spain. The project organization pointed the IVY programme to me. I was looking for a country with a completely different cultural background from mine, and a project focused on environment. When I read the description of the PONTOS project on the IVY´s website I didn’t hesitate to apply immediately – that was exactly what I was looking for. In the project I mainly support the researchers from my partner’s organisation in collecting and processing data from the Lake Sevan area (Armenia). I also assisted the organization of events and the elaboration of reports, articles, social media posting content, etc. Events organization was a memorable experience: it was a unique occasion to get to know the staff from my hosting organization and have fun with them on long bus rides across Armenia. Discovering Armenia, its culture, music, food and people was a lifetime experience and I feel that I learned so many interesting facts, met amazing people and experienced places that will be forever in my memory. From the professional point of view, I learned a lot about environmental issues I worked on: water stress and its impact on agriculture, GIS methods in agriculture, etc. I feel that the new knowledge on such world top issues as climate change is very valuable for my professional future.”

    Understanding and adapting: my work abroad

    “How did I start? One of the partners in the MYSEA project – the Union Tunisienne de Solidarité Sociale – works closely with an association I had previously worked with in Tunisia, during my university internship. I saw the project as an important and promising prospect for my professional growth, so I decided to become a volunteer. I supported communication between the partner in Tunisia and CIES Onlus, the lead beneficiary. My colleagues in the host organization made me feel part of the team, they invited me to project meetings and events, they followed and adviced. Of course, volunteering in a foreign country implies understanding, accepting, and adapting to different approaches in daily work. This can be difficult, especially in the initial stages, when you work in close contact with people from cultural and educational backgrounds that may be radically different from your own. Overall, the skills and experience I have gained during these six months as an IVY are already proving to be extremely useful and valuable for the continuation of my career in the field of international cooperation.”

    Now I know how to organize a partners meeting!

    “I heard about IVY for the first time from a friend, then I got in touch with my future mentor and decided to learn as much as possible about the CREA-CENTERS project. My role was in the administration of the office, I was responsible to monitor, receive, archive and promote the applications for the project. I also assisted my mentor in daily tasks such as appointments, office paperwork and phone calls. One of my final tasks was to support the preparation of the second partners meeting in Kavala, and this was very interesting and rewarding. I feel really lucky because during the six months of my IVY experience I met and worked with great people, who made me feel at home, I’m grateful for this opportunity and highly recommend IVY to all young people.”

    You learn about the reality of the territory

    “I’ve recently graduated from the University of Palermo. Through the university environment, I got to know the European Solidarity Corps initiative, and applied to Interreg Volunteer Youth. My university professor told me about the MYSEA project, for which I’m working right now. I perform various tasks, like data collection and analysis, the study of the project territories, the elaboration of graphs and tables, etc. Data collection has allowed me to create links with the territory, the people, and the economic realities of the whole region. The IVY experience is allowing me to grow professionally and to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills.”
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