VAP News

VAP’s Executive Commitee met in January 2011

On 22 January, the Executive Commitee of Volunteer Action for Peace gathered at Berkeley in Gloucestershire. The members came together to plan the year ahead, following a productive evaluation of 2010 - a year marked by the hosting of the first two EVS volunteers in London, the management of multiple workcamps in the UK, the development of a creative UN Millennium Development Goals Toolkit, new international partnerships and the active participation in the exciting International Congress of Voluntary Service which took place in Barcelona in early December.

In 2011, VAP’s initiatives will be in line with the International Year of Volunteers+10. As a first announcement, the VAP team is organising a joint weekend of activities, including the well-known North-South training and the UK Project Co-ordinator training, to be held in 10-12 June at the Clow Beck Centre, one of our project partners in the UK. More news will be posted soon!

posted on: 11 February 2011

Work on gender in Africa with VAP through EVS

Gender sensitivity at (voluntary) work
: Centralised EVS Africa-Europe

At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the celebration of the 1st International Women Day in 1911, as well as of the celebration of 2011 as both the European Year of Voluteering and the UN International year of Volunteers +10, the Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) will run a centralized group EVS project addressing gender issues in International Voluntary Service (IVS) and youth programmes: “Gender sensitivity at (voluntary) work”.

The project, which takes into account the importance given by the European Commission and the UN to Gender Equality as a prerequisite to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and build sustainable societies, as well as the priority given to the African continent in terms of development cooperation, is the first concrete outcome of the ongoing Africa-Europe project “Culture meets Concepts”, which took place during the year 2009.

The project aims at exploring gender roles in different societies and linking the general reflections on gender sensitivity to the participation of young women and men in IVS projects and their interaction in diverse cultural contexts. The wide range of field projects, while practically addressing key development issues and national priorities – from education to climate change, from HIV prevention to youth and women employement – will thus see a progressive introduction of the gender perspective, and generate productive exchanges and learning processes on this topic for both the volunteers and the hosting communities.

Eighteen volunteers from CCIVS member organisations in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK (VAP) will be hosted for a 6-months period in the African continent, where CCIVS member organisations in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. After a first period of research, the volunteers will organise targeted actions to promote culturally appropriate gender sensitivity activities in IVS projects and with the hosting communities, using and developing specific non-formal education tools. An EVS volunteer in CCIVS office will follow the programme, working in particular on the development of a gender sensitivity tool-kit and promoting gender as a key cultural issue in international voluntary service projects, at the occasion of the celebration of 2011 as both the European Year of Voluteering and the UN International year of Volunteers +10.


For more information please contact VAP.

posted on: 5 July 2010

Teach in Zambia

My Home Town is a charitable organisation with its HQ in Choma, Zambia and it is also registered in the UK. It is recruiting volunteer teachers for government and private schools in and around the town of Choma, in the Southern province of Zambia, to teach at Primary, Secondary and Technical levels.
The subjects to be taught are Sciences, IT, Maths , English, Domestic Science, Electronics, Motor Mechanics.

The period of service is either medium term (6 months) or long term (one year).

Choma is a small but lively town on the main road and rail route half way between Lusaka and Livingstone. It has a pleasant climate and all basic services.

My Home Town will provide:
- Return air ticket to Zambia.
- Accommodation for the period of contract (either in shared accommodation with other volunteers or in family homes).
- Pocket money for food and basic needs.
- Orientation Training in the UK before leaving for Zambia.

The volunteers will need to take out personal health insurance in the UK before leaving for Zambia and to pay to VAP an initial registration fee of £190. Volunteers will pay travel costs to the orientation.

If you are interested to apply please contact VAP.

posted on: 17 May 2010

VAP’s Spring News - Time to go!

Well, what a difference a bit of sunshine makes eh? Time to hang up those winter jackets and work off that Easter chocolate. For those blossoming adventurers, VAP’s online database is now brimming, full with amazing opportunities and interesting projects for 2010. We have been busy entering almost 2000 projects covering over 80 countries, through our network of established partner organisations. Our new revised database is now even easier to surf & search. So why are you still reading this?

VAP is a not-for-profit charity committed to affordable, grass-roots volunteering. For this reason, our committee have voted to sustain our competitive fee of £150-£190 to cover administration and organisational costs. This leaves you with only travel expenses, and in some of the more remote locations, an affordable participation fee to be paid to the hosting organisation for their admin costs as well as to provide allowance for accommodation, food, tools etc.

Recently, VAP swallows have been swooping through international and local partnership meetings in places as different as Berlin and Leicester, diving on droves of potential new partners. This swarm of multi-lateral activity has woken us up to the current increasing trend for Medium and Long Term Volunteering, which may be caused by the global economic crisis. These projects are open to people of all ages and are an excellent opportunity for those going through a career break or simply wanting to share old skills or gain new ones.

It is worth noting that we are also entitled to send UK volunteers on a EU funded scheme called EVS - European Voluntary Service, which offers 6-12 months placements in Europe completely free, including food, accommodation and pocket money, offering the participant an invaluable experience. If you are aged between 18-30 just have a look and see for yourself!

VAP now has a Facebook group established, letting you contact other volunteers to share experiences. We also plan to use this group to organise regular London events, such as attending workshops, demonstrations, training activities and cultural events. Come along and join!

And finally...VAP North South Training takes place on 4-6 June, at the beautiful location of the Clow Beck Eco Centre in North Yorkshire. It’s the perfect way to gain non formal education in volunteering outside of Europe, helping you adapt easily to life in other cultures. Our VAP training team has years of experience and professional expertise, making this a fun and stimulating weekend. The event is also free, with accommodation provided and the food cooked between us (in the spirit of true volunteering), leaving participants to just pay for travel expenses. After the great demand and success of last year’s course, we recommend you book a limited place early!

Sunny regards from the VAP team

posted on: 16 April 2010

VAP’s Winter News - Calling all early birds!

Calling all early birds! For those who wish to take flight before the summer, VAP has already begun filling its database with new projects for volunteering worldwide in 2010.
Get online and start pecking!

If you are interested in developing new skills, why not take part in our Volunteer Project Co-ordinator training in London on the 27-28th March? This is a free event with specialist trainers, putting an emphasis on fun and education using a broad range of non-formal techniques. You may be offered the opportunity to represent and help organise a UK based VAP project! For more information contact the resident VAP badger by clicking here.

Are you part of, or aware of a UK based organisation, that could benefit from hosting a VAP project during the summer? VAP is on the hunt for new partners within the UK. The benefits are social exchange and free non-professional labour provided by a group of young travelling adults, who wish to gain a positive experience of UK culture. In return for their work, food and accommodation must be provided. Please get in touch!

Deep below the ground frosts and icy winds, VAP has been busy, tunnelling for new ventures. We have applied to host 2 European Voluntary Service participants this summer. Their main aim will be to educate and bring awareness to UK communities of the Millennium Development Goals to end poverty and ill health, set out by the UN.

And finally...we have also had a small success regarding the unfair classification of volunteers within the new points based system for immigration visa applications in the UK. VAP has managed to lobby a document onto the table of the almighty Home Affairs Select Committee down at Westminster. We will keep you posted as to whether this bears fruit for the coming summer.

All the best from the VAP team

posted on: 16 February 2010

VAP’s Autumn News

Hello to all of VAP’s members and friends!

After a wonderful long summer of volunteering, the falling leaves signal the close of the main busy season for Volunteer Action for Peace. However for those winter beavers, there are still many international opportunities out there. Just check our projects database.

VAP enjoyed a very successful year, sending and hosting more volunteers than we had forecast. We would like to thank all those who have participated or supported, especially those who returned evaluations of their projects. This is critical in sustaining successful partnerships, insuring a positive experience for all, and providing more information for future experiences.

As we look forward, a VAP priority is to develop our UK programme to include more volunteer camps next summer. If you are aware of a UK based project, that would benefit from the social interaction and solidarity generated from a group of international volunteers - please let us know! Please check out the website to see our current broad range of home projects.

Oh Politics! New immigration controls, mean that volunteering in the UK is now defined as ’work’. Participants from non-visa countries such as South Korea, Japan and the USA (28% in 2009), will now have to apply for such a visa. This in turn, causes massive cost implications and time delays, and we are already witnessing a decline in applicants from such countries. In the end, the largest impact is on our own communities across the UK, who were the intended beneficiaries of our work. If you have the time, please write to your local MP, to bring awareness and hopefully changes to this legislation.

And finally...VAP’s Camp Co-ordinator training takes place in London on the 27th-28th March next year. Just like our North-South training in the summer, it’s a fun weekend using discussions and games, to develop participants skills and confidence in coordinating a group. It’s real life education, that is invaluable to those looking to the horizon.

So - Don your Jumpers!

All the best from the VAP team

posted on: 29 October 2009

Action promised for refugees

Action promised for refugees

On September 28th Volunteer Action for Peace held its annual general meeting at East Dulwich in London. A total of 17 members and supporters came to the event. The highlight was a presentation by one of our members, Aneta Kurasiak, who described the two short term voluntary work projects she attended working with asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Belgium near Liège and in France in Calais. She illustrated her talk with two short films which showed the UK media portrayal of the recent destruction of the Calais camps by the French riot police and bulldozers, with French and British ministers justifying their actions.

But through Aneta we also heard the voices of the refugees who had made their way by incredible, dangerous journeys from the horrors of war and persecution in the hope of a new life in Britain. As the state shuns them they are ruled by gangsters, criminals specialising in people trafficking, who maintain a slavish hold over the migrants sometimes for many years after they have settled in a new land.

After the talk and presentation there was a discussion on how VAP could work to cooperate, through international volunteer projects, the NGOs that are supporting the refugees that do make it into the UK. It was agreed that we would investigate a project on these lines in Leeds where there are already good contacts in this field.

posted on: 9 October 2009

Medium Term Volunteering in Kosovo with Roma children

Medium Term Volunteering in Kosovo with Roma children

From June 22nd to August 21st 2009

Balkan Sunflowers has been effectively working with minority groups in Kosovo for the last seven years. In 2008, Balkan Sunflowers launched the Learning Centres Network (LCN). This educational programme is now running in four locations around Pristina and helps 600-700 Roma children each day. The Summer Programme aims to ensure that the children have the opportunity and support needed to stand on an equal footing with their Serbian and Albanian peers in the school system. The Summer Programme is fun, entertaining and interactive.

Volunteers live with a Roma host family in one of the four minority communities we are working in (Fushe Kosova, Plemetina, Shtime and Gracanica). Power cuts and water shortages in these communities are not uncommon! Still, previous volunteers have found their experiences in these communities to be rich, enjoyable and very valuable. Throughout the programme you will have the opportunity to participate in the education of the children and make strong and lasting friendships.

Applications from experienced educators, pedagogues, people with knowledge of local languages or experience in grassroots community education projects are particularly welcome. We would be happy to hear from anyone, however, who feels they would be able to contribute in a practical and useful way - with a proactive and positive attitude.

Applicants must be 18 years or older. To cover the costs of food and accommodation with the host family, volunteers need to pay 200 euro per month (or 400 euros in total). This payment does not include your own personal travel and expenses.

If you are interested to apply, please contact Nuno here.

For more information see:

posted on: 10 June 2009

Volunteering in the Middle East: Solidarity in Action

Volunteering in the Middle East: Solidarity in Action. EVS in Palestine 2009

Peace in the Middle East remains one of the major challenges to be solved for the international community today. After years of Intifada, peace agreements and ongoing occupation, young people are the part of the population most affected by the stalemate. International voluntary service is a way to express solidarity and transmit hope, energy and creativity for young people to construct their citizenship under difficult circumstances through day-by-day co-operation among people of different backgrounds.

18 young volunteers from 11 countries and 13 organisations will have a chance to spend six months in four different locations in the West Bank in Palestine. The 13 projects will all be related to inter-cultural dialogue through daily interaction with the local people in their projects. As a group and with the help of CCIVS, the volunteers will be encouraged to put their daily experiences into perspective through reflections about the concepts of cultural identity and cultural heritage. This reflection will deepen their understanding of and interaction with the people they work with and will develop their sense of their own European identity and cultural heritage.

Thanks to the support of our long-standing partner organisation, IPYL, which is well established and recognised in Palestine and has a strong network of partners and institutional contacts in the region, we are able to work with various partners on the ground and ensure cohesion among the different projects at the same time.

The volunteers will return to their countries with a more thorough and deep understanding of the Muslim-Arab world and the socio-political situation of the Middle East in general. The project will also be an occasion for the volunteers to develop their individual capacities on different levels and to gain a better understanding about themselves and possible personal and professional paths to follow afterwards. The project will combine action with moments of reflection, and this will allow them to experience a new reality and to see things from a clearer perspective. It will also suggest ways in which they can use their new capacities and knowledge after their return.

VAP is the only UK based organisation participating in this European Voluntary Service project. We have 2 places available for our members so if you are aged between 18-30 and consider yourself mature enough to spend 6 months (13 May to 14 November 2009) in a worthwhile project in Palestine, do not hesitate in contacting us by clicking here.

The DEADLINE to receive applications is Wednesday, April 8th

posted on: 27 March 2009

Pack your bags and go!

That’s it! The big bulk of projects for 2009 arrived and it’s time to go through our database, pick the nicest one, pack your bags and go!

You’ll find here about 1500 short term workcamps and almost 350 medium/long term projects from Argentina to Zambia, from Iceland to Indonesia, so it’s really very hard to miss that one that you’ve been always looking for.

Please have in mind that VAP works on a first come first served basis so the sooner you apply the more chances you will have of getting a place in your favourite project.

If you need more information or if you have any doubts on how to apply, please contact us by clicking here.

posted on: 23 March 2009

member of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Volunteer International Network Exchange UK
with the support of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the European «Youth in Action» Programme

Quote of the day

« I had not appreciated that so few people come out in the East Asian countries that my telling them was something extraordinary. This was also the most interesting aspect of the workcamp in terms of trying to expand the awareness of other ways of living, and there was never any hostility or problems because of it. »

David H. from Surrey

Read more quotes