In the press
UNV India joins forces with Government youth project
by Anoj Chhetri
Chennai, India: During June 2009, two members of the UNV team in India, Anoj Chhetri (UNV Programme Officer, from Nepal) and Saoirse de Bont (a UNV volunteer Intern from Ireland), assisted as resource persons at the Indian National Service Scheme Mega Summer Camp 2009.
Managed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Service Scheme (NSS) aims to involve students in local communities through volunteerism. About 2.6 million students from 200 universities are now involved.
The camp was held at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development (RGNIYD) in Chennai. It was attended by over 400 NSS volunteers, representing states from across India. Anoj Chetri and Saoirse de Bont conducted training on volunteerism for six consecutive days, addressing all 400 youths during the course of the camp.
The RGNIYD is a Government of India-funded institute and resource centre which aims to facilitate a conducive environment for India’s youths as well as provide tools that will enable them to reach their natural potential. It coordinates training, orientation, research, and extension and outreach initiatives for state and central governments and national level youth organizations.
The training, which was carried out in conjunction with RGNIYD staff, covered topics such as ‘what is volunteering’; UNV in India and overseas; the UNV business model; results indicators; the Millennium Development Goals; how to volunteer; the sharing of personal experiences and stories; and the importance of teamwork. In addition, the latest UNV initiative ‘STRIVE’, which is based on the model of the ‘Teach India’ campaign and is currently in its drafting stage, was presented.
The sessions were highly participatory and interactive, employing methods such as games, stories, film shows, role play, group discussion and presentations.
This training on volunteerism was part of a wider programme for the NSS volunteers, which incorporated sessions on the environment, citizenship, career development, employability, rural development and a cultural programme.
The week of training was highly successful, not only because of the information imparted to and knowledge developed by the volunteers, but also because it created a firm foundation for further cooperation between UNV India and RGNIYD. As well as further support in training and capacity building for RGNIYD, one of the next joint ventures will be UNV support for the development of an RGNIYD manual on volunteering.
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