We Care, We Act – Humanitarian Volunteer Management Project Learnings Dived Into Our Summer Program!

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Photo Credit: Hille Hanso

As we Small Projects Istanbul are moving towards professional volunteer recruitment process we are happy to be able to put our learnings into practice during our Children’s Summer Program implementation this summer.

What we had gained during the Humanitarian Volunteer Management Project given by the organizations Adice, Mondo and Adra Slovakia under European Union for the EU Aid Volunteer Initiative has brought an outstanding insight to us in terms of managing the international volunteers from beginning to the end of their volunteering period.

As the Programs & Volunteers Coordinator last year I’ve experienced how difficult it can be to run such an intensive program with volunteers with different interests, backgrounds and cultural habits. There are many dynamics when it comes to working with volunteers especially if they are coming from all around the world. To have a healthy recruitment process is crucial in order to find the most suitable people for your program where you can maximize the benefit of their support for the organization while they are getting benefit and have a satisfactory experience for themselves too. If you have a good insight and know your organization and its needs very well it can be easy to choose the right people but this is just the start and you’ll see much more details will be coming up during the volunteering period.

To guide the volunteers about your organizational culture and their tasks, their settlement and adaptation in the new environment, addressing the important details about the new culture and social habits, understanding their needs about working and daily life, to find their skills together that they can bring into the team or activities, finding ways to engage them in a maximum level, monitoring and evaluating their performance, getting and giving feedback in an effective way both for your organization and the volunteer, establishing a sustainable relationship, talking about the ways that they disseminate their work so on and so on…

These are some of the items that I did know the importance and necessity if you’d like to run your volunteering project in a smooth and effective way where both of the sides will be having the pleasant feeling and carry the proud of their involvement.

Our first Summer Program in 2017 was a great success and full of fun indeed but after being involved with HVM project I figured how better and conscious we could have been done and increase the satisfaction for each part. That’s why I was very excited to have the chance to use the theoretical and practical information that was given during HVM Project for our Summer Program in 2018 and see the difference between natural and professional way of working in this area.

Now we are very close to the end of the Summer Program where we have built wonderful connections and strong relations while we forced ourselves to remember and utilize the valuable information came along with HVM project. I must say there are still many things to learn and many things to practice but I also feel comfortable saying that we’ve managed a great start in the way of welcoming international volunteers and working with them in a humanitarian and professional manner.

Thanks to all who had put a lot of effort to prepare and deliver the Humanitarian Volunteer Management Project and giving the chance to organizations like us to improve their capacity and skills in order to continue doing much more sustainable work in their fields.

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