The project “Supporting Volunteers in Youth Organisations” (SVYO) is co-funded by the European Union in the framework of Erasmus+ programme and is running from 1st March 2021 till 31st December 2023.
At the end of this project, the organizations involved (Azione Cattolica Italiana, Żgħażagħ Azzjoni Kattolika, Acción Católica General Spain, Acţiunea Catolică din România) in the project will come up with a sustainable and effective action plan, consisting of common initiatives to support their volunteers.
Final event concludes 3-year research project on youth volunteers
At the end of November, Żgħażagħ Azzjoni Kattolika (ŻAK) hosted around 60 volunteers from Italy (Azione Cattolica Italiana), Romania (Acţiunea Catolică din România), Spain (Acción Católica General) and Malta (ŻAK Malta) for the final part of a three-year partnership research project entitled ‘Supporting Volunteers in Youth Organisations (SVYO)’, with the aim of discovering the underlying issues regarding the long-term commitment of young volunteers in these four Catholic Action organisations.
The programme for these 3 days kicked off with a conference on Friday morning, where the results of the research were presented compiling results from the quantitative analysis together with the results from the qualitative part. As the research coordinator Mr. Anthony Mifsud, explained: “The objectives of the research were quite wide-reaching in the sense that we had 4 associations, which means 4 countries with a lot of questions on what are the needs of young people are, what has been catered for and what is not being catered for, what the youth volunteers are benefiting from the organisations and what is making them leave the associations, and for this reason, we had to use a mixed-method approach.”
He also explained that the process started with a census of all the associations, this included 50,000 young people, followed by in-depth questionnaires to around 37 ex-members. This helped in discovering why members were leaving the organisation. After this, a quantitative questionnaire was distributed to present members of the organisations. This part included around 2000 respondents. Then the last part of the research consisted of a deeper analysis by means of a qualitative part. This was characterised by around 25 focus groups held in these 4 different countries.
The objective of the different workshops, which then followed during the rest of the weekend, was to delve deeper into the results, especially those presented during the focus groups. Among the points that came out from these results was the question of the identity of the organisation, the aims of the organisations, whether these are clear and whether these are being met. Another workshop focused on the strengths, the needs and the opportunities present for the organisations. Throughout the workshop, the idea of collaboration was emphasised by encouraging organisations to share the strengths, give their feedback and help each other by sharing the burden of the challenges, to be able to move forward together.
The number of workshops also helped to set a way forward and establish several priorities for the organisations to work on: on a national level but also for all the 4 organisations on an international, collaborative level. Among the priorities that were established were the importance of the core of every organisation, the importance of putting God at the centre, evangelisation, more in depth formation regarding faith and the importance of action, especially social action. In fact, while workshops on Friday and Saturday helped the organisations to simply observe the picture of the organisations as it is, without any judgements or fast solutions, Sunday workshops focused on starting to establish these priorities. Each organisation will now continue sharing and working on these priorities, for the better of its members.
As Ms. Codruta Fernea, Local Project Coordinator for Acţiunea Catolică din România stated, “this exercise was a very important one, especially in the international context of the church” with the importance of the synod and the emphasis on listening. She continued that “this project came at the right moment where we were already prepared to take a step aside and to listen”. Meanwhile Ms. Kirsty Cauchi, a member and leader in ŻAK and participant during the 3-day seminar said that she found it both interesting and informative. She added that she gained more information about the organisation that she is part of and about the members she works with. For her, it was also a beautiful experience and opportunity to discuss with other international organisations. Finally, Ms. Emanuela Gitto who is responsible for the youth coordination of the International Forum of Catholic Action stated that she hopes that this process does not really finish with the project end, but rather to “keep working together towards new opportunities to share and propose this dialogue beyond borders”.
The project ‘Supporting Volunteers in Youth Organisations’ (SVYO) is co-funded by the European Union in the framework of Erasmus+ programme and has kicked off on the 1st March 2021 and will keep running till the 31st of December 2023. The study will be made available to the public at the end of the project.
Project Coordination Team meeting
Madrid, Spain 18-19 March 2022
Kick-off meeting – 6th March 2021
Program with available documents
- Output training seminar. Malta, 24-26 November 2023