On Tuesday 10th of May at the occasion of a pre-departure training, 35 young French volunteers involved in the project IVO4All met with three members of Mr. Patrick KANNER’s cabinet, the French minister for urban policy, youth and sports.
During this meeting the volunteers had the opportunity to give their opinions and suggestions to Mr. Mikaël GARNIER-LAVALLEY Deputy Director of the Cabinet, Mrs. Paule IGNATIO, Diplomatic Advisor et Mrs. Marianne BESEME, Advisor for Local and Interministerial Policies for Youth.
The conversation started out with a sharp poetry slam delivered by a young volunteer. Four themes were discussed. About the obstacles to mobility, the volunteers pointed out the limited number of volunteering offers and the level of qualification required for these missions. They also stressed the triggers for mobility: aside from personal aspects such as motivation or availability, the volunteers welcomed the development and variety of missions. The measures implemented in the frame of the project such as accompaniment of the volunteers by the organizations, pre-departure sessions and welcome back seminars as well as funding of their transport costs were identified as levers to mobility by the volunteers. When asked about their motivation to volunteering, some refer to their wish to help, to discover other cultures or to meet people and others simply answer that this experience is primarily an opportunity for them to “do something ” out of their comfort zone and their daily lives.
When asked about their expectations, they evoke the accessibility of the civic service which, according to them, must be mandatorily proposed to young people but not mandatory. Their expectations are divided into two categories: the expectations they have toward themselves (the international civic service allows them to aim for personal accomplishments, provided that they are properly accompanied) and the expectations they have towards the device. To this, one of the recommendations is to conceive the civic service as a device aiming to guide the volunteers in a plan for the future allowing them to reflect better on their personal project. The four trainers present at the session carried to word of the youth they accompany daily and of their foreign partners: they confirmed the necessity to sustain an accompaniment of quality and asked to facilitate the reciprocity of volunteering, advocating for the intercultural added value of welcoming foreign volunteers on French territory.
Mikaël GARNIER – LAVALLEY thanked volunteers and trainers for their remarks that feed the reflections carried under IVO4ALL. He reaffirmed the minister’s commitment to the universality of the civic service so that all the young people who wish it can make a voluntary service, and to its international dimension. He reminded that, since 2013, the French government leads a policy of promotion and development of the experiences abroad for all the young people, source of opening, of development of the citizenship, acquisition of new skills and sometimes of remobilization on a personal or professional project. He also confirmed that the ministry, since the project started, is paying close attention to the measures experimented in the frame of IVO4All, especially to the accompaniment measures. He thanked all the French participants very much implicated in this project: The Civic Service Agency, France Volontaires as well as 19 organizations who conceived the measures experimented and supervise young people. Finally, he said he was sure that the volunteers would be changed at the end of their mission and made an appointment with them at their return in October.
Hadrien LE SAUX(1)
Ministry for urban policy, youth and sports
Department of cross-sectorial youth and NGOs policies
International relations unit
(1)Intern at the Department of cross-sectorial youth and NGOs policies
International relations unit