24 April, 2023

The Frame[v]work Project – Report of the Asian Lab

by Alexandra and Inge

Frame[v]work is a capacity building project financed by the Erasmus+ program aiming to develop a shared framework for int’l voluntary work and volunteers exchange in the IVS movement.  The kick-off meeting was organized by the Egyesek Youth Association and was held in November 2019 in Hollókő, Hungary, then followed by the European Lab in 2020.  Covid-19 suspended the project till it was relaunched in March 2023.  The Asian Lab took place in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia between 28 March – 02 April.  There were 24 participants from 12 countries, 17 global networks and orgs from 3 continents (Asia, Europe, Africa). SCI was represented by Alexandra Vasileiou, president and Inge Saris, int’l coordinator.

Two more regional meetings/labs are foreseen, the American Lab and the African Lab, where representatives from the networks will meet to elaborate on ways to improve the guidelines for volunteer exchange.  In each lab, there are parts which are universal, but there are also some specific regional aspects in order to tackle the differences in the reality of the networks and harmonize the exchange guidelines accordingly.  There will be a last meeting in Greece for the final evaluation in November 2023.

The general objective of the project is to improve the capacity of IVS organizations for the coordination of their international voluntary activities in order to tackle the issue of decreasing number of volunteers in a cooperative way. This aim is to be achieved through a participatory review of the volunteer exchange procedure, with a process involving different regional networks belonging to the IVS movement.  The IVS movement includes 188 orgs all over the world.  They all belong to different networks, who are coordinated by the Coordinated Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS).  SCI is the most historic network under CCIVS.

Objectives of the project:

  1. To harmonize the already existing procedures and guidelines, proposing a common baseline with offshoots according to each network needs;
  2. To take into account current and emerging issues (climate change, technological development…) and to create accordingly a timeline for a regular revision of the guidelines;
  3. To set general quality standards in workcamps;
  4. To trigger a change through sharing effective best practice;
  5. To acknowledge an IVS common identity;
  6. To standardize the training dimension and increase its quality (training for camp leaders and placement officers);
  7. To work for a decolonization of guidelines and to improve their inclusiveness.

During the recent Asian Lab in Semarang, Indonesia, the agenda included:

  • To understand the reality of the organizations in the region;
  • To understand the “Frame[v]work”: elements of harmonization; how to balance the exchange guidelines (considering the diversity of sending and hosting exchange in Asia);
  • To update and share the definition of peace work concept in IVS;
  • To identify the workcamp definitions who are more effective in terms of clarity, promotion, values, vision and mission;
  • The impact measurement and our projects;
  • Increased mobility vs environmental sustainability: common criteria for environmental sustainability in workcamps;
  • Common main features of pre-departure training and workcamp leader training, focusing on regional differences and similarities;
  • A unified placement system in IVS (a Game Changer?);
  • To harmonize evaluation procedure and statistics;
  • To explore ideas on IVS common identity (logo, brand, strapline, visual identity);
  • Decolonisation approach in IVS – the Asian perspective. Define the IVS approach on decolonisation and global justice;
  • To collect results to be further developed in the following Labs and in the final meeting;

Conclusion: This Asian lab produced some interesting and thought-provoking discussions on the topics mentioned above, allowing a rich collection of ideas for the upcoming labs.  The fact that this was an in person event allowed for deep conversations and a better understanding of the perspective of the Asian  participants on various topics like decolonisation, identity and work camps…  A dialogue was started and we look forward to the outcome of the other labs leading to the final conclusion in November 2023.

Alexandra and Inge

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