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Kosovo: Talk on volunteering
12 February 2008, 08:54
by Kanako Terui

Thanks to the kind offer and cooperation from University Resource Hub (Kosovo Youth Development Project led by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports); UNV Kosovo organized two meetings with students to talk about volunteering in Pristine and in North Mitrovica. About 30 (in Pristine) and 20 (in North Mitrovica) university students got together at the Resource Hub and talked about their experience and perspectives on volunteering.

Having organized several workshops and community meetings where UNV Kosovo could directly talk to NGOs, civil society representatives and volunteer groups, we have found that young people are not much informed about what and how are to be a volunteer, and volunteering. Some students are participating in NGO activities, or actively being a part of organization, but not many opportunities are being shared by most of students. “Social good for free (in short)” is the basic understanding on volunteering among them but not many of them were aware of the point, “increasing employability” throughout volunteering experience.  

Students were from faculties of education, IT, social service, economic, etc. Because they are very keen on finding good career opportunity, especially the discussion on gaining skills for their future career seeking in their own field of expertise, participants looked very interested in knowing more about possibilities of volunteering.  

Although we could have only limited participants due to the Resource Hub’s capacity, those university students seemed to have found volunteering interesting and encouraging. Exchanging ideas, current situations surrounding them, participants by their own seemed to have recognized and identified some ideas or possibilities of volunteering with their own initiatives.

The activity itself for IVD 2007 was very simple but we recognized that this is the most effective approach in order to reach more young people to understand why volunteering, why volunteerism for their hopeful future. In parallel to the youth project activities which UNDP/UNV is working closely with local governments and civil societies, we found that it is very important and inevitable to approach individual youth. It was indeed a good starting point for us to work with the universities in Kosovo; and we will continuously work with university students to promote and disseminate the idea of volunteering.
 
Special thanks to those NUNVs Aleksandar and Myrvete for their kind support and facilitation of the discussions.