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Impact: Creating synergies between NGOs and the Academic sector to measure and value the impact of international voluntary service in Europe and Asia
Published : 29/10/13
Valerie Rainavo - Researcher Impact

With a willingness to create partnerships between voluntary organisations and universities, CCIVS launched a project to measure the impact of international voluntary service (IVS) in Europe and Asia, under the framework of the Youth in Action program financed by the European Commission. A total of 17 researchers recruited by CCIVS coming from both regions and three universities, the national university of Malaysia, Salzburg University (Austria) and INALCO (France) were involved in the project.

The first step of the project was held in June 2013, where researchers attended a training in the region of Paris facilitated by CCIVS team and universities. For the researchers who did not have the opportunity to participate in an IVS project before, it was the opportunity to be introduced to the concepts of intercultural exchanges, community life and conflict management. Universities also gave them tips and tools to conduct data collection in the field.

In July and August, researchers went to different IVS project in France, Belgium, Estonia, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan for an average duration of one month. Some of them stayed in one project while the others participate in several workcamps in a row in a same country with the mission of taking part in the activities with the other volunteers and collecting data. The main topics on which CCIVS work were represented as there were 5 projects related to Cultural Heritage and Diversity, 11 related to Environment and manual work, 2 related to World heritage and 1 related to Active Participation and Social Inclusion. This phase of the project gave a rich experience to the researchers who lived, shared and worked with the local and international volunteers and interacted with local communities. The researchers also developed new skills of data collection which led them to conduct interviews, write observations and administrate questionnaires to many people.

The third step of the project consisted of two regional seminars in September which took place in Vietnam and Austria. Researchers gave their initial feedback in the seminars about the field phase, the tools and methodology used, shared about their experiences in different parts of the world and started to raise some noticeable impacts of IVS projects they had observed. The universities, who are in charge of analyzing the data collected, introduced the tools and ways of working that they were going to use.

The Impact project is still ongoing as it will end up with a final conference in China from 3rd to 7th December. This event will not only gather the participants all together since the initial training, but also other representatives of IVS organisations who are expected to be there. The outcomes of the project will bring new resources to the network of IVS organisations and CCIVS who are keen to promote and better develop their activities.
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