EVS Q.U.E.S.T. is a long term project implemented by Midlands Regional Youth Service – Youth Work Ireland as a follow up of the project EVolutionS, implemented in Orvelte in September and November 2016 hosted by Breakthrough Foundation in The Netherlands. EVS Q.U.E.S.T. developed with the support and contribution of 12 different organisations Turkey – YEGITIM, UK – Streetlife, Cyprus – SKE Avgorou, Italy – Madiba and Sereno Regis, Greece – Kids in Action, Croatia – IDA Croatia, Romania – DGT, Portugal – ConnectART, The Netherlands – Breakthrough, Spain – Biblioteca De La Fonteta, Latvia – Baze Youth Centre, and the application submitted by Midlands Regional Youth Service presented in February 2017 to the Irish National Agency – Leargas. The long term KA1 project EVS Q.U.E.S.T – Quality, Understanding, Evaluation, Support, Trust in EVS, focused on ensuring quality in EVS Projects through three different mobility’s in three different countries.
Mobility 1 – Ireland: Partnership Building Activity for EVS coordinators to set the rules, roles and responsibilities of the EVS network. Furthermore to better understand the application process for EVS projects and to identify possible blocks that might occur.
Mobility 2 – Netherlands: Training Course “Quality Project Management of EVS Projects” from sending to arriving and from departing to follow up.
Mobility 3 – Greece: Evaluation Seminar to consolidate and evaluate the overall project and to plan next steps for the partner.
As soon as we got approval for the project the news of changes to the Solidarity Corps were also arriving. So while we would still focus on ‘quality’ of international volunteering experiences and organisation, the project would also include changes to EVS and try to cover the transfer to Solidarity Corps.
Aim & Objectives
This long term project aimed to create an inspirational learning space for exchange of
experience and good practice. Its main aims was to support organisations in developing a trustable network for future cooperation in the field of European Voluntary Services and to support quality of EVS projects through supporting the volunteer, mentor, coordinators and supervisors.
The specific objectives of the project were:
- To provide a meeting point for organisations to exchange information, to support contact and cooperation between organisations, to establish international partnerships;
- To understand the concept of EVS and the learning dimension of EVS service;
- To raise awareness of the learning dimension in EVS and provide tools for learning support;
- To promote implementation of EVS projects;
- To create an inspiring learning environment for EVS coordinators for sharing good practice, inspiration and motivation;
- To strengthen competencies of EVS coordinators (both professional and personal);
- To improve capacity of practical realisation of EVS projects in the frames of Erasmus+ and to provide up-to-date information about the Erasmus+.
All activities looked to increase and ensure the quality of EVS projects, create a strong partnership between the partner organisations and ensure the support that all stakeholders could provide the correct support to volunteers. A safe and creative environment was created in order that participants (in each phase of the project and each mobility) exchange information, contact and cooperate. The project included building a strong partnership, understanding the EVS concept and its importance and to improve the capacity of practical realisation of EVS projects in the frame of Erasmus+, and the support that mentors can provide to volunteers. In between activities, partners were encouraged and supported to apply their learning from the activity undertaken. During the last meeting, both learning and practical experiences were evaluated and reflected on.
Methodologies used during the project was based on the principles of non-formal education (e.g. experiential learning, cooperative learning, shared responsibility and creative experiences). The project was enriched with numerous practical examples of projects that have brought about change and success of international volunteering, the project activities and in this way activities met the overall objectives of the whole project.