International Event in Croatia – June 2022

June 15, 2022
Category: News

Between 1 and 3 June 2022, Udruga Bonsai hosted the eighth international meeting of 13 European cities involved in the European Alliance for Volunteer Support.

Between 1 and 3 June 2022, the 8th international event of the ERAS project, implemented by the Civil Resource Centre, took place. Udruga Bonsai, our project partner from Dubrovnik, Croatia, hosted the event. At the event, we focused on measuring the effects that volunteer programs bring to the local environment, the sustainability of volunteer programs and the motivation of individuals working in this field. We had the opportunity to learn more about the regulation of volunteering in Croatia and learn about non-governmental organizations operating in Dubrovnik.

In the Network of Cities project, co-financed from the Europe for Citizens program, in addition to Litija, we included 12 cities from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Malta, Albania, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Greece and Bulgaria. The main goal of the ERAS project – the European Alliance for the Support of Volunteering is to exchange good practices and knowledge between cities in the field of volunteering and thus improve the conditions for the development of volunteering in partner countries and across Europe.

During our visit to Dubrovnik, we visited the Dubrovnik Youth Center. The City of Dubrovnik provides free use of the premises for non-governmental organizations that run various free programs for young people. The centre is part of the “Youth and the City” activity designed to respond to the needs of young people in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik, heavily influenced by tourism industry, is facing emigration of the young, because many cannot find the right opportunities and challenges for work and life outside of tourism. Miho Katičić, from the Department of Education, Sports, Social Welfare and Civil Society, presented how they tackled this in the Dubrovnik Municipality.

The centre covers an area of 474 m2, where numerous NGOs organise workshops, seminars, counselling sessions and fun get-togethers are organized. The partner organization Udruga Bonsai, which runs the Dubrovnik Volunteer Centre, also has its premises in the centre. In addition to carrying out copious volunteer activities for young people, it also takes care of the promotion, education, support and development of volunteering in Dubrovnik.

In Croatia, 3-4% of people volunteer. This picture is quite realistic as the information comes directly from associations that include volunteers and regularly report on it. The data provided by volunteer associations count towards final scoring when applying for local and national tenders. The Act on Volunteering and the Code of ethics for volunteers and quality standards for volunteer organizations regulate volunteering in Croatia.

While in Dubrovnik, Deputy Mayor Manuel Nunes from the Municipality of Lousada, Portugal, met with Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepšić from Dubrovnik Municipality. At the meeting, Deputy Nunes presented the practice of involving volunteers in implementing environmental projects and their experience with a strategic approach to environmental issues in Lousada. Together with different stakeholders from Dubrovnik, we reviewed the possibilities and the transfer of good practices from this field to Dubrovnik.

We devoted a large part of our visit to impact measurement, which was presented to us by Michael Freer from the Impact House. We devoted ourselves to the Theory of Change method. We recognize that impact measurement requires a lot of thought and time to define and measure the effects of our programs in the local environment. Despite this fact, impact measurement motivates program implementers and decision-makers who allocate public funds for programs and the general public to recognize the benefit that non-governmental organizations bring to the environment in which they operate.

The central purpose of the ERAS project is to share and transfer practices from the field of volunteering between the cities and organizations involved. You can watch the inspiring stories of volunteers in video form on our ERAS Project – YouTube channel. Regulation of volunteering in different countries on our website. The ERAS partnership prepared presentations of good practices for numerous volunteer projects. We presented them in a way that enabled you to transfer them to your local environment. We will publish them soon on our FB page. You are welcome to visit.