People and Ecology in Ecuador – EVS TRAININGS

On-Arrival Training: objectives, content and programme of planned activities

Sending organisation GAIA and hosting organization Acción Ecológica work together on the conception and implementation of this training. The On-Arrival Training is participated by the two volunteers, EVS trainer and an Ecuadorian expert. This expert, with background on local associativism and volunteering, will be assigned by Acción Ecologica to be present during the training, with two objectives: 1. to present volunteers with information on Ecuador, its culture, history, social and political situation and different organisations working at regional and national level; 2. to get to know the theoretical background of European Voluntary Service and on the guidelines and quality standards of EVS training, thus being capacitated to future trainings.

For the conception of this training, we consulted and respect EVS Training and Evaluation Cycle Guidelines and Minimum Quality Standards, according to 2011 document, as well as Salto’s publication on Youthpass in the EVS Training Cycle of 2010. The objectives of this On-Arrival Training are:

  • To inform the volunteers about the host country and local region/community: history, political and social situation, key aspects of the local culture;
  • To promote the meeting of the volunteers with local culture and to experience traditions, so to deepen their knowledge on local culture and to make the training a pleasant experience;
  • To discuss about the volunteers’ ideas and experience on cultural differences and to prepare them for conflict management;
  • To go over formal information on EVS, discuss its application on the field and clarify the role, rights and responsibilities of each partner;
  • To discuss about the meaning of being a volunteer, to allow each volunteer to identify her/ his own position and goals as volunteer in Acción Ecologica and to define individual learning objectives;
  • To give volunteers the opportunity of visiting another natural site in Ecuador, to have a pleasant encounter and relax and to make stronger their motivation to continue their EVS project.

In what concerns language aspects, we should underline that Portuguese people can naturally understand and speak basic Spanish, for the familiarity with Portuguese language. Therefore, linguistic introduction isn’t planned.

The On-Arrival Training will take place in the region of Intag, located in the ecological reserve of Cloud Forests, soon after the EVS Activity has began and with the duration of 8 days. Four people will participate: both EVS volunteers, expert on EVS and Ecuadorian expert on culture and associativism. Participants will arrive at Apuella to be hosted at Piscinas de Nangulví, the thermal facilities of communitary tourism. Here they will have the proper conditions to meet, discuss and attend presentations. The Training further includes 2 nights staying at ECO-JUNIN, Junin Community Lodge, where the group will enjoy trails in the forest and meeting the local community. The Intag region has a very strong social movement, with various initiatives of agroecological farms, grass-root environmental organisations (www.decoin.org), cooperative of production of organic coffee commercialised through fair trade market, women groups of handcrafts with natural materials, local green newspaper (www.intagnewspaper.org). We will take the volunteers to visit these inspiring initiatives of applied sustainable development. Host organisation will take care of respective practical arrangements.

The programme of the training follows. On the first day the participants will meet and the programme will be presented and discussed, followed by presentations of Ecuador, its culture and history, its current social and political situation. By the end of the first day, there will be a role-play on cultural differences and conflicts. On the second day an introduction to social movements in Intag will take place, after which the volunteers will visit organisations in and around Apuella. Participants will then help preparing a traditional diner, with local products. The third day will begin with toasting coffee and preparing a traditional banana breakfast. Then we will go over formal information on EVS, on their expectations and on the conditions the volunteers have found at their hosting project, followed by My Story of Volunteering drawing methodology. On the fourth day participants will head deep in the Cloud Forest, to ECO-JUNIN community lodge. The next three days will be dedicated to cultural and leisure activities together with the local community, such as making cane sugar, trekking to the waterfalls and observing butterflies and animals. On day 7, back to Piscinas de Nangulví, there is a free morning to relax in the hot watered swimming pools. In the afternoon, a reflection will take place on individual learning objectives for the EVS projects, followed by a discussion on their learning processes.

The eighth day will be dedicated to evaluating the training and defining next steps.

Results from this training will be documented and included in the final report.

Programme for On Arrival Training

Mid-Term Evaluation: objectives, content and programme of planned activities

Mid-Term Evaluation lasts for 4 days and has the participation of the two volunteers plus the Ecuadorian expert that has been present at On-Arrival Training. It will occur at the middle of their project, i.e. 6 months after the arrival of the volunteers in Ecuador. This encounter will take place in Salinas, up in the Andes, where a strong movement of solidary and community based economy is happening (www.salinerito.com). Participants will be hosted at the local hostal El Refugio, which is managed by the community, according to the principles of Communitary Tourism. They will meet at a local organisation, with the proper space for meeting.

Objectives for Mid-Term Evaluation are:

  • To allow volunteers to make a personal evaluation on the EVS project and their specific Activity, to identify achieved goals and expectations and to identify what could be better and how to make it better;
  • To reflect, structure and support individual projects, giving the volunteers tools and contacts to make these projects;
  • To encourage the volunteers to reflect on how to apply this experience in personal projects when they return to their home country;
  • To create the opportunity for the volunteers to visit another place in Ecuador, to have a pleasant encounter and relax and to make stronger their motivation to continue the EVS project.

This event will take place outside of their (already) regular environment, in order to allow some distance to the project and help them evaluating the situation; to get to know another place and kind of landscape; to have the opportunity of getting to know the community movement and entrepreneurship happening in Salinas and to meet the active young people of Salinas.The evaluation will be led by the professional person that participated in On-Arrival Training, who already knows them and their projects. Before the mid-term meeting, mentor at the host organisation and sending organisations communicate with each other, in order to pre-evaluate what the needs of the volunteers are and to pass this information to the Ecuadorian expert. For example, if they’re experiencing difficulties in cultural integration, the expert will prepare instruments to help them understand and deal with cultural differences; if their need is to see how similar organisations are working and to have more working tools, the programme will be adapted accordingly.

The programme of the meeting follows. The programme includes moments of reflection and moments of leisure. The first day will be dedicated for the volunteers to present their activities at the hosting projects and to evaluate the development of their EVS project. The expert should encourage them to give worth to the positive aspects of their experience and support them clarifying doubts and solving conflicts. On the second day the programme includes a visit to Salinas and to the organisations of solidary and communitary economy, which will include a short interview for the local radio Salinerito! In the afternoon follows a discussion on the volunteers’ personal goals and projects. The volunteers will be encouraged to identify specific and tangible goals, which they wish to see attained until the conclusion of their EVS. On the third day, a programme with local youth is foreseen, in Salinas or around, which will be proposed by the local youth organisation. The afternoon will be dedicated to assessing volunteers’ individual learning process. On the forth day, a discussion will occur regarding next steps for their EVS project and follow-up after their return to Portugal, followed by an evaluation of the Mid-Term Evaluation.

Results from this training will be documented and included in the final report.

Programme of Mid Term Evaluation

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