Since early 2016, Comhlamh and three other organisations (finep-Germany, INEX- Czech Republic, Volunteering Matters- UK) across Europe have been involved in an Erasmus+-funded project called Volunteering for the Future.
The project is aimed at returned development workers, to help them become more active citizens in their local and global communities.
The issues we face, as well as the solutions we develop as a global community, are both local and global in their nature. If we want to tackle them, then we need to understand this connection. We believe that returned development workers offer a unique insight into this local and global connection, as they have danced in both worlds. Comhlamh therefore puts a lot of effort into engaging returned development workers to maximise their energy and insights.
As part of this project, we have just published a new training manual for Irish-based organisations working with returned volunteers. Called ‘What Next?, the resource draws on other materials developed throughout the project to help organisations harness their returned volunteers’ experiences to contribute to a fair more just world.
With the help of this manual, we recently ran two courses in Dublin, with the aim of assisting returned volunteers to explore what happens between the “wake up call” and when they start doing things differently. The course brought them through a journey from exploring the steps that led them to going overseas, to asking the question what they will do now. Again, different ideas for action projects came from this – supporting international volunteers’ wellbeing while they’re overseas, graphic novels on refugee issues, meet-up groups and supports around Ireland – and as I write it are being developed… So watch this space!