Short impressions of our participants!

At the end of the seminar, we asked our participants to anonymously summarize their impressions in as few words possible. Here are the messages they left us:

“Seminar was insightful, rich with info & sharing of details & ideas for future cooperation!” 

“Engaging seminar, participatory and full of dynamics!”

“Everything was perfect!”

“Nice people, I never laughed and learned at the same time as during these days!”

“Thanks – Good luck with the continuation of the project!”

“Contact 2 Participation has motivated me more to dedicate my career and life to IVS implementation in IRAN!”

“In one week, we achieved the work we couldn’t have done in several months through emails. Thank you!”

“I appreciate involving the local community in the seminar and in taking care of some logistics. This is also a reflexion for the shared value for the voluntary work. It was a nice opportunity to meet and to get to know inspiring people talking about their work and organisations.”

“A great stepping stone on my way of exploring international volunteering!”

“Arrived with limited experience and I leave with a lot of ideas, projects and friends!”

One world & so many realities, possibilities & smiles – long life for volunteering & cooperations!”


“A discovering!”

“I think the seminar was really fruitful as a base for future projects and partnerships!”

“A good way to get to know each other and each other’s organisations, but also a lot of things to specify and arrange!”

“I love working camps and all the people!”

“Learning is a long process, but during these five days it was an enjoyable process!”



Day four and five – The Garden of Expectations

At the beginning of the seminar, our participants had a chance to express their whishes, ambitions and expectations for the days to come. In order to make it more visible and vivid, these expectations were put in an imaginary “garden of expectations”, in fact a blank poster where the participants could put the papers filled with their expectations.

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The participants had the freedom to shape the papers in the way they thought would best represent their opinions.

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As the seminar was coming to its end, they were invited to draw the progressing growth of these, so-called “seeds of expectations”. If their expectations were fulfilled, they would draw an entire plant – the size of the plant depending on the amount of expectations that were met during the seminar. It was interesting to see how the plants were growing every day, starting from small seeds, to little sprouts and ending as beautiful giant flowers.

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The size of the plants in the garden of expectations leads us to believe that the seminar fulfilled most of the participant’s expectations and was therefore a big success.


CCIVS wants to thank once again all the participants for their share in the seminar and hopes the “Contact 2 Participation project” will continue with the same enthusiasm and ambition as during the time in Laguépie.

Garden of expectations – Before the seminar: 


After the seminar:


Day three in Laguépie

The Contact 2 Participation seminar in Laguépie was meant to provide not just theoretical, but also a practical insight into the topic of Mediterranean cooperation. Our participants come from IVS organisations and mutual cooperation can mainly be established through concrete field actions.

On the third day, we wanted to get better acquainted with the projects of our host organisation, namely CITRUS. CITRUS gives an opportunity to young internationals to spend some time at their premises, to volunteer and learn more about themselves, the others, diversity of languages, cultures, etc. It is an opportunity to talk and exchange experiences between people with very diverse backgrounds all through working on a common, socially useful goal.

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The municipality of Laguepie entrusted CITRUS an abandoned house in the outskirts of the town. In return, CITRUS has put their strongest efforts in repairing and adding additional components to the house which was in quite a bad condition. It is important to note that most work on the building and accompanying structures was done exclusively by volunteers. Only the initial plans were developed by professional architects. The workshop; garden; barn; those are just some of the structures they take care of.

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We were kindly accompanied by CITRUS personnel that gave us more thorough explanations of their work. As a sign of appreciation, CCIVS was happy to give a T-shirt created as a part of our “Raising Peace” campaign, since the topics of peace building and promotion of pacifism remain inseparable from the ones of international cooperation and intercultural exchange.

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After seeing the house of CITRUS, we were invited to visit a recycling workshop in the nearby village of Cordes. We had an opportunity to meet the employees of the facility who receive objects that would otherwise be thrown away. They repair them or use them as materials for making completely new things. Later we were invited for a presentation by the director of the nearby social centre.

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In order to learn more about the surroundings in which CITRUS is working, the participants joined a study visit to the village of Cordes. Our guide from CITRUS explained the history of the city. It is a medieval settlement that has most of its initial architecture preserved, therefore attracting large number of tourists during summer months.

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The third day of the seminar offered an excellent field study and a successful complement to theoretical learning in the preceding days. Judging by the reactions of the participants, it proved as an important part of the event.

2 sides writing the blog – Staša Benko (Zavod Voluntariat)

Since we have repeatedly declared the participants of the ”Contact 2 Action” project being on an equal footing with its organisers, it is only logical to include them in the creation of this blog as well. For start, we are bringing you the impressions of Staša Benko, a participant representing the organisation Zavod Voluntariat from Slovenia. Staša made a short overview of the first activities that took place in Laguépie. Stay tuned for more contributions from our participants – because cooperation represents a 2-sided process!

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, in cold December of 2014, a group of about twenty-five curious and hard-working people gathered in a small French hamlet. In a middle of nowhere, one could say. They had no other choice but to get to know each other better. After all, they were there with this very purpose, as the title of the seminar they attended was “Contact Making”. More precisely, Contact Making to Youth Participation. So, one Tuesday morning, after the breakfast, they started making contact. After having spent quite a lot of time looking for someone who would know how to imitate Donald the Duck’s voice, or for people who can touch their nose with their tongue (yes, try to imagine!), it was time to do some gardening. The seeds of expectations are now sprouting and they are all impatient to see what will come out of it at the end of the seminar. Then, they walked along a timeline, illustrating the IVS history, starting with the admirable monsieur Pierre Ceresole and ending with the latest developments of the organization. The CCIVS also presented their work. Later in the day, six other organizations were presented by their members. Eager for debate, the participants also carried out a ‘moving debate’. Tripping from ‘agree’ to ‘disagree’ and back again while having a heated debate about what active participation and social exclusions are and are not, they managed to come to a conclusion each and every time. Their arguments were good and they were proud of themselves in the end. Impatiently waiting for a coffee, they were also introduced the White Paper, which they will surely get in touch with again while working on these subjects. The day was drawing to an end while their heads were still full of ideas and projects. Therefore, they decided to put them on paper. Mapping, designing, describing, presenting… main target groups and the objectives, all this was of highest importance; for their future work to develop, for their seeds to sprout, for the ideas to grow; and for the participants themselves to meet each other. It seems they are all to be here, in Laguépie.

DSC_0386 brightDSC_0237Staša Benko, representing Zavod Voluntariat from Slovenia

Day 2 – Improvement of cooperation as a 2-sided process

The declared goal of the ”Contact 2 Participation” project is to improve youth cooperation and participation in the Mediterranean area. CCIVS strongly believes that such ambitions cannot be achieved without a universal involvement of interested parties.

This idea however should not be respected only as a general principle, but put in practice from the most basic, everyday level. One of the main points of the seminar’s introduction speech on Tuesday, was flexibility and openness in order to achieve the most important goals set for the project.

Organisers declared the program of the seminar on the first day, but they defined it only as a proposition, subject to changes and participants’ suggestions.

DSC_0061The team of facilitators: Victoria Lovelock, Valérie Mouton, Kristine Roke and Laura Drielsma.

DSC_0196The proposed program of the Contact 2 Participation seminar.  

In order to ensure constant feedback from the participants, a special poster under the name ”Open space” was put on the wall. Representatives therefore have an opportunity to write their propositions at any time during the seminar. The propositions can then be discussed and possibly included in the program.

DSC_0210Participants are free to express their ideas during the seminar, either in speech or writing.

DSC_1389Reflections on seminar activities take place on a daily basis.

Day One in 2 parts – Part 2

Tuesday afternoon started with the so-called Moving debate. The participants were divided into two groups. Each group had a series of statements which they had to discuss among each other, develop opinions and draw conclusions in order to present them to all the participants in the end.

DSC_0199 DSC_0202 DSC_0203 DSC_0208 The topics of Moving debate were closely related to the main themes of the seminar, namely active participation and social inclusion.

After the time devoted to more interactive discussions, we again had a chance to gain more insight on both the organisers and participating organisations.

Victoria Lovelock presented the White Paper on International Voluntary Service. The White Paper is a policy tool for networks and organisations engaged in the field of IVS and for policy institutions, civil society bodies and international institutions who share the values of IVS aiming to provide guidelines to support the goals of IVS on both the internal and external levels. It has to be regarded as a policy paper highlighting strategies and recommendations on IVS for the next ten years.

(To see White Paper please click here.)

Like in the morning session, we were presented more details on the work of three organisations, namely Servei Civil Internacional de Catalunya, Solidarités Jeunesses and UNAREC.

DSC_0211 DSC_0214Servei Civil Internacional de Catalunya presented by David Nacher.

DSC_0218 DSC_0220The participants also had a chance to learn more about UNAREC.

DSC_0224 DSC_0222Solidarités Jeunesses was the last organisation to be presented on Tuesday.

The first day ended with the ”mapping of organisations”. Each participant got a paper which he had to use to present the types of projects his/her organisation works on, pinpoint the main target groups, project focus/objectives and relevant stakeholders.

DSC_0228 DSC_0234 The facilitators explained the activity and noted the most important points for every organisation.

DSC_0293 brighter DSC_0244 DSC_0290 DSC_0266Every organisation had a chance to present the main focuses of its work.

In order to get some feedback and be more flexible in achieving the seminar goals, the day ended with daily reflections. The participants were divided in three groups where they had a chance to express their impressions, possible worries or propositions.

DSC_0295 DSC_0297 The seminar is meant to improve cooperation, which is why daily reflections of participants represent an indispensable part of its program.

The first day of the Contact 2 Participation seminar was indeed filled with very diverse events, but served as an excellent possibility to accelerate the phase of first contact making and provide fertile ground for establishing stronger connections in the days to come.

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