Back to the future!
The project was aimed at encouraging volunteers who returned from voluntary service abroad to remain permanently involved in global education after coming back to the country, contributing to its popularisation in Poland.
In order to develop a closer relationship with volunteers and to support them in the development of their experience and skills, the Salesian Missionary Voluntary Service – Youth for the World organised special training. The first part of sessions focused on psychological support, touching upon issues related to, among others, the phenomenon of shock after coming back to the country, as well as how to best share the experience gained during and after the volunteer mission. The purpose of the second part of the training was to equip participants with specific skills useful for delivering global education in the country, including familiarity with public relations, fundraising, change management and creative working methods. The training was attended by 40 people. Volunteers received publications intended to motivate them to act for the local community also after their voluntary service, including a handbook for volunteers returning from foreign missions, a code of good practices in the field of global education, as well as a guide on using social networking sites.
Additional training was organised for people preparing volunteers for the trip. It was attended by 30 coaches and coordinators from dispatching organisations who were presented e.g. with the concept of post-return shock, the role and features of a good leader and the ways to effectively motivate volunteers to commit after their return. At the end, training participants received a handbook for coordinators of volunteers from dispatching organisations, containing a number of valuable exercises and pieces of advice.
The promotional campaign was an interesting element of the project. During radio programmes volunteers told about their work in Bolivia and Sierra Leone, and in press articles they presented their experience from other countries of Africa and South America. A competition for the best project from among educational campaigns carried out by volunteers addressed to 400 people was organised. The competition jury chose three winners: a photo exhibition, a cultural evening and Flash Mob campaigns in trams prepared by volunteers. The winners were given the opportunity to make professional short movies about their preparations and involvement in voluntary service as well as their further commitment at home. The movies were released in the Internet. The promotional campaign was intended to encourage volunteers who worked in developing countries to become more active in their local community. Its objective was also to present to the society positive examples of volunteers' involvement in global education activities. The campaign was targeted at ca. 100,000 Poles. On the basis of the results of a survey carried out in a group of 200 volunteers, a report was prepared on the commitment of volunteers after returning from trips abroad, which has been made available online. The project was a part of the project co-financed by the European Commission under EuropeAid programme by the same name: ‘Back to the future!’.