Pictured: UCDVO volunteers working on the construction of a basketbal court in Morogoro, Tanzania in July 2010.
In advance of International Volunteer Day on the 5th December 2014, UCD Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO) and partner organisations are hosting a one-day conference on international volunteering.
The conference aims to create critical discussion around current practice in the area and features several keynote international speakers on youth volunteering and development.
UCDVO was established in 2003 by the former UCD Chaplain Fr Tony Coote in response to an expressed desire among students to engage in voluntary work abroad. Since its inception and launch as a registered charitable organisation in 2004, UCDVO has extended its activities to projects in India, Haiti, Nicaragua,Tanzania and Uganda. To date, 1017 volunteers have engaged in environmental, educational, health care, construction and computer training projects in disadvantaged communities overseas.
Among the conference speakers are Dr. Cliff Allum, CEO of Skillshare International and Ruairí McKiernan, Founder of youth media organisation SpunOut.ie
Caroline O’Connor, Manager of UCDVO said:
“There has been a dramatic increase in the number of third-level students engaging in short-term volunteer placements in developing countries and this has led to widespread discussion,particularly via social media, on the ethics of international volunteering and the impact both on the participants and the host communities.”
Dr. Cliff Allum, CEO of Skillshare International said:
“In the past twelve years, there has, at least anecdotally, been a resurgence of interest in international youth volunteering. The recognition that international volunteering has a role to play in international understanding between peoples, communities or even nations has frequently been a feature of the objectives of such programs, and indeed, some programs might offer this without any “development” content. Central is the notion of youth empowerment, but more critical is the question “What for?”
Ruairí McKiernan, Founder of SpunOut.ie said:
“Young people today…need leadership and vision beyond the spin and rhetoric that promises them things are changing. They are hungry for inspiration and ideas that redefine conventional politics and cut through a culture dominated by advertising and fear. They want their values to be represented in public life and to be given encouragement and opportunities to be involved in shaping the world around them.”
The conference is being organised in partnership with UCD International, Comhlámh, Suas Educational Development, Campus Engage, and Development Perspectives. It is supported by Concern Worldwide and Irish Aid. It takes place on Saturday 29th November between 10.00 and 16.30 in the UCD Global Lounge, Belfield. It is free to attend, however you must register in advance.
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