human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Caritas Ukraine getting ready to host volunteers
The national staff of Caritas Ukraine trained in volunteer management
Caritas Ukraine is one of the nine Caritas partners in the ABC-EUAV capacity building project. As part of this project funded through the EU Aid Volunteers initiative of the European Union, Caritas Ukraine applied for certification as a hosting organisation to be able to welcome and work with international volunteers. Now, its staff received their first training in volunteer management.
In June 2020, Caritas already organised a training of trainers (ToT) in volunteer management. In October, the Ukrainian participants then organised an online meeting over three days to share what they learned in the ToT with their colleagues from the national office of Caritas Ukraine.
This training was attended by staff engaged in implementing humanitarian projects and by the heads of departments, as well as by the Caritas Ukraine Secretary-General. The trainers and the participants discussed the nine steps that are need to prepare an organisation to work with volunteers – both to welcome volunteers from abroad and to work with local volunteers.
The workshop was well received by the participants, but it also showed that Caritas Ukraine still faces some gaps in recruiting and retaining volunteers. Caritas Ukraine consists of many local Caritas organisations, and not every local Caritas is prepared to work with volunteers. Caritas Ukraine therefore aims to start an internal discussion on how to boost the local organisation skills in volunteer management. One of the ways to do this is to share the existing positive experience in this field held by Caritas Ukraine. The participants also discussed the need manage the volunteers in a manner that is in line with the Christian values and the strategy of the Church.
Workshops such as this one on volunteer management are essential for Caritas Ukraine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the semi-forgotten conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Caritas Ukraine hopes to be able to rely more on volunteers to implement relief activities at a larger scale. Volunteers play a particularly important role in remote villages, where local activists often help Caritas to evaluate the needs of the communities and to provide assistance effectively.
The flood in summer 2020 in Western Ukraine showed that thanks to the help of local volunteers, Caritas Ukraine managed to cope with the emergency in the best possible way. Volunteers provided much needed support in sorting and managing humanitarian relief items, to distribute them and engage their local communities to fight the disaster.
All these factors make the EU Aid Volunteers initiative significant in the Ukrainian context. As a next step, Caritas Ukraine will organise further trainings on volunteer management with its local Caritas organisations.