Comhlámh offers a wide range of courses for people who are interested in international volunteering, covering every stage of a placement. Here’s a quick preview of what courses are regularly on offer.
The Palestine/Israel Development Education group.
This is a group of Comhlámh members and supporters who have come together to research and learn about the conflict in this region.
The membership of the group includes those who have worked in the region as volunteers and those who have not but who have an interest to learn. The group is keen to raise awareness about the history and current situation of the conflict.
The group has put together a six week Dev Ed course on the Palestine/Israel question. The course will cover a wide range of topics on the history of the conflict right up to current daily living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. There will also be expert guest speakers brought in to talk about their specialised areas. It’s aimed at people who would be interested to learn and explore what is going on in this region, including those with little prior knowledge. Development Education approaches aim to encourage critical enquiry, so it will be a very participatory course that will facilitate participants to consider what action they can take on the issues in Palestine/Israel. The aim is for the course to run here in Comhlámh and will hopefully commence early April
Online Pre Decision Course
This training is for those of you who think you might like to volunteer overseas, but you’re looking for a little help in asking the right questions of yourself and your potential sending agency. Comhlámh will guide and encourage you to think critically about your motivations for volunteering overseas and invite you to engage in debate around development issues and the connection with responsible volunteering. To find out more details and to sign up follow this link.
Coming Home Weekends
This year, we’re delighted to be continuing our Coming Home Weekends for development workers, volunteers and missionaries coming home from placements for 3 months or more. We’ve been running the Coming Home Weekend for over a decade, and are excited that this weekend is still a valued space for returnees to engage in. The weekends take place over 2 days in a relaxed residential retreat setting, and the format of the weekends includes looking back and remembering the overseas experience, understanding the transition of coming back home, and exploring next steps and staying involved in development from Ireland. Cost is €100 (€50 for Comhlámh members), but these courses are free to UNV and RRC returnees. For more information and to sign up for our May Coming Home Weekend click here.
What Next is a course for returnees who have lived and worked overseas in the capacity of learner, volunteer or development worker, and who are interested to continue engagement in development education from Ireland. In 2016 the 5-day course will take place in Czech Republic in conjunction with a number of European partner agencies. It will engage participants in a critical process to explore development issues and skills to raise awareness and take action locally. An outcome of the course is that participants will have the opportunity to develop and deliver an Action Project either individually or as a group around a particular issue or idea.
We run a short pre-departure training to help prepare people for placements; this is generally a tailored course we develop in conjunction with sending agencies, but we also run an open version. We’ve worked with organisations including UCD Volunteers Overseas, UCC, Trinity College and Outreach Moldova to provide this training, always receiving really positive feedback from participants about how it has prepared them for going overseas, including: “Excellent recommendations on talking to people who have been there before”, “It told me a lot more about the programme and what it means to be a good volunteer”; and “I now feel motivated to make a real difference”. We have run a training of trainers’ course for volunteer sending agencies, to help build their capacity to run their own pre-departure courses.
Post return/Moving Forward.
This year, we’re delighted to be continuing our courses for volunteers coming home from placements. There’ll be two opportunities to join our residential Coming Home Weekend, which we’ve offered for over a decade, as well as a one-day Moving Forward course for those returning from shorter placements. And there’ll be an inspiring What Next course, which will critically explore development issues and encourage continuous engagement, including through encouraging participants to develop and deliver Action Projects – you can find out more about some of the exciting initiatives that have grown out of this here.