Final meeting for the F.I.R.E. project

A final meeting for the evaluation of the project gathered us again with partners of the project

After almost 2 years of work, the time has come for us to summarize what we have done and what we have not managed to do on the F.I.R.E. project.

This is our third project in partnership with organisations from Tanzania and Uganda. Now two new partners from South Africa and India have joined, both of them working for the first time on an Erasmus+ project.

What happened during these almost two years? We conducted three training courses. The program which we prepared was requested by our collegues from Africa and India and it sought to enhance the operational and management capacity of people affiliated to non-governmental and independent self-operating organisations. Looking back to the beginning, our colleagues shared that the work after each training has been extremely valuable to them in practicing the acquired knowledge and skills in their organisations and environment. The planned activities for sharing experiences, which were part of our educational program (making long and short-term planning of one’s work after training), have influenced the formation of models and behaviour, which would not have had the same effect had it stayed solely on the level of training.

Trainings on the other side have helped us gather the whole expertise we got and make educational models useful for online and off-campus education by using examples from reality and from the work of each one of our partners. The work, aka. digitalizing the content, took us almost 10 months and developed in trainers and experts new skills. We researched companies in Europe and Asia which make applications for cell phones , and we chose a Bulgarian company which made the construction of the application which can now be downloaded from Google Play and Apple Store.

At the moment in each of our partners’ countries activities are being carried out related to the presentation of the application and the acquaintance of interested parties with the opportunities presented in this training.

We cannot miss the work of our volunteers. We sent two volunteers in Uganda, two in Tanzania and two people in Bulgaria. Besides integration into the local culture (which is totally different and challenging for the young adults), each of our volunteers gave their best to help the host organisation. The discussion comments on the importance of the person with the right profile being sent on a mission, on the importance of that person’s right motivation, but also on their efforts to fit into the new environment. Our colleagues from Tanzania inquired once again about the importance of some type of support for the volunteers after their return home. The desire to keep around these young folks, who have practiced and developed new skills, acquired know-hows from other organisations and countries, is not just useful, but also important. In particular, our colleagues from Tanzania are very receptive and after three projects together we find our previous volunteers recruited with them for temporary or permanent work. Their organisation is growing significantly, and their work is increasing. And the big question, which remains before each NGO, is the resilience and ability to keep around people in which we have invested. A topic which will probably be of great relevance for us during the next years.

It is not the same as a face-to-face meeting, but the ZOOM space was not lacking in emotions either. Of course we had technical issues, problems with the internet, but despite this we managed to speak about many topics. We spoke about what had happened in the last two years, COVID and how it affected our work and budgets. We bragged about our successes, both small and big ones, in each of our countries. We talked about the difficulties some of our volunteers had with returning home and about how we could keep them engaged afterwards (and what that costs us of course).

After three projects together we will indeed continue to help each other and to support one another. We will continue to seek opportunities for our mutual work to live on. We are grateful to the Erasmus+ program for the opportunity to connect and to work together.