The EYVOL project addresses the topic “Promote voluntary activity in sport”, as the main purpose of this project is to provide young multipliers (youth leaders and civil society activists) and young sports volunteers with concrete training tools to be used in youth empowering activities based on social inclusion through sport.
Despite these recent progresses, there are some important challenges for organisations dealing with youth volunteering sport based activities to be able to untap the potential of sport to achieve their goals. By developing and implementing innovative training methods and practices based on sport for the benefit of youth leaders and youth volunteers EYVOL will address the following more specific needs identified at EU level:
- The Evi Buelens study (2015) demonstrates the need to provide adequate training to volunteers dealing with sport. Training must be consistently done on a structured and regular basis. Host organisations should pay close attention to the way they meet these expectations.
- The needs of active sport people (e.g. athletes and coaches) who are willing to participate more actively in social inclusion volunteering activities but need to find programs that (1) train them to share their sport knowledge for the specific purpose of social inclusion and (2) take due consideration of the specific needs in terms of sport training and attending sport competitions. These are findings of the ongoing Erasmus+ Sport project TASEM.
- The need of improving the cooperation of the voluntary sector as identified in EU studies on volunteering: It would be useful to build bridges between different organisations that work on related issues in order to avoid duplication and promote mutual learning and project development .
- The need for sport organisations to identify education and training needs of volunteers in sport, which can inform future initiatives. Confederations and federations should also actively promote the provision of education and training to volunteers.
- Another important issue is the recognition of experience gained by volunteers, which, like for volunteering in general, has been formalised in only very few Member States (e.g. through specific or mainstream validation and recognition frameworks of non-formal and informal learning).
EYVOL will develop its activities along the lines of the “Plus sport initiatives” model; ‘Integration through sport’ by further developing the current work carried out by youth organisations in Europe. Sport will be used as a hook to draw young people into social inclusion interventions but at the same time it will be an opportunity for sport people to increase their involvement in social inclusion volunteering activities. EYVOL will address the above mentioned needs by:
- Providing an adequate and tailor made training programme for young volunteers willing to engage in social inclusion activities using sport as a tool. EYVOL will pay particular attention to the needs of active sports people (e.g. athletes and coaches) in the Mediterranean Region.
- Improving multi sectoral cooperation in the sectors of youth volunteering and sport.
- Making sure that the experience gained by volunteers is properly recognised.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- Promote increased civic participation of young people by developing the role of volunteering for social inclusion through the attractiveness of sport activities;
- Collect, exchange and disseminate good practices of the use by youth and civil society organisations of sport as a tool for social transformation with a focus on intercultural and inter-faith dialogue, equality and peace, peace and conflict resolution. More precisely good practices on:
- How sport served as a tool for a more inclusive and fair society.
- The use of sport on development projects.
- The training of young people for the implementation of volunteer activities based on sport.
- How to transfer the values of respect, ethics and social responsibility vehicled by sport to other social activities.
- How can sport be of support to migrants and refugees.
- How to promote the values and dreams imparted by sport to counter the narratives of hatred and mistrust and to prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism of young people.
Promote sport volunteerism as a way to develop skills of youth from the Mediterranean region also in view of future employment opportunities in the sport field, including but not limited to the organisation of major sporting events.
- Deliver training action plans to empower initiatives on social development through sport with a customized approach in the Mediterranean region based on innovative educational tools for the following target audiences:
- Young leaders and civil society activists. This educational set will aim at training this target audience, which often are not familiar with sport, on the use of sport activities to help them to achieve their objectives in fields such as the prevention of radicalization, dispute resolutions and the social inclusion of vulnerable populations.
- Young sport volunteers. The aim of this educational tool will provide skills to young sport specialized people (athletes, coaches, educators, referees, managers etc.) implement social inclusion volunteering activities based on sport to transfer this knowledge into the sport organizations and other committed stakeholders, notably grassroots sport event organizers
- Develop policy recommendations aimed to improve Mediterranean Region ‘Sport for social inclusion’ programs by increasing sports volunteering practices among young people to reduce risks of social exclusion.
EYVOL project is a transnational cooperation partnership that allows a group of stakeholders from youth, educational and sport backgrounds to collaborate in a project aimed to foster inclusive youth environments by implementing innovative educational methods based on sport to train youth leaders and volunteers. The main purpose of this project is to provide young multipliers (youth leaders and civil society activists) and young people specialized in sport with concrete and action-oriented training tools to be used in youth empowering and capacity building activities based on sport volunteering for social inclusion, with special regard to refugee community focused on the Mediterranean Region.
The positive role sport plays in social inclusion, cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue through the power of its values has been always broadly recognized. Blending sport with youth activities and education is making often the difference as youth volunteers can better exploit the educational potential of sport activities practised in accordance with the educational value of good example, respect of universal and fundamental ethical principles, and social responsibility. This is the philosophy, based also on Olympism as a philosophy of life, which animates EYVOL.
Sport enables migrants and the host society to interact in a positive way, thus furthering mutual understanding and integration. It is a vehicle for promoting social inclusion of minorities and other vulnerable groups, and contributes to sustainable peace and reconciliation, including in post conflict regions. Violent extremism can also be significantly prevented where respect, fundamental human values and opportunities are promoted, and where communities and youth are empowered through its values, such as respect, responsibility and team spirit.
While so doing, the project will aim at developing youth skills through sport volunteerism for the purposes of future employability in sport and non-sport related activities.
The EMPOWERING YOUTH VOLUNTEERS THROUGH SPORT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION (EYVOL) project builds on the experience of the “Imagine Peace Youth Camp” organized by the International Olympic Truce Centre (IOTC) in collaboration with the British Council and Save the Dream as educational partners and under the auspices of the United Nations. This initiative gathers every year around 40 young participants from over 20 countries at the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia for one week to engage in interactive workshops and sport activities to promote equality and peace, as well as learning about how sport plays a role in peace and conflict resolution.
In addition, another experience comes to strongly inspire EYVOL, called CSI per il mondo (International Sports Volunteering) organized by Centro Sportivo Italiano in cooperation with ICSS’ Save the Dream and in permanent evolution.