Valuing Diversity – An eye opening session

In the UK, during June 2016, we implemented newly adapted pre-departure training sessions with the aim of improving volunteer’s resilience and understanding of each other. One of the new sessions called ‘ Valuing Diversity ’ was well received by all volunteers.

“The session really opened my eyes about other people and their experiences and lives. It made me realise how diverse we actually are.” – volunteer at the training.

The pre-departure training was hosted by Raleigh International, one of the four organisations sending volunteers overseas as part of the IVO4ALL project. Adapting some of the pre-departure training sessions was one of IVO4ALL’s main support measures that we put in place. The aim was to ensure that volunteers understand and appreciate their own diversity within their groups before learning about the diversity of another culture in which they will be volunteering.

One volunteer said:

“I found the session eye opening and it made me realise how diverse society is. I learnt more about myself and those around me in a safe and comfortable environment.”

The session was delivered by Amardeep Kainth using a range of interactive activities which got volunteers to look first at their own perceptions and the lens in which they view the world, before exploring their own values, similarities and differences.

Following the session there was an immense feeling of connectedness within the group, with volunteers commenting:

“Leaves you feeling enlightened and pleasantly vulnerable.”
“I enjoyed the UK diversity session as it gave me the opportunity to consider qualities about myself which I usually wouldn’t. I also broke down pre-conceptions and barriers between people I was working with, enhancing trust and establishing relationships.”

This was the first of many pre-departure training weekends that will include the new IVO4ALLll sessions. The plan is to replicate these sessions for all ICS volunteers following the success we’ve seen on the IVO4ALLll project.


Author : Rahim Hassanali, VSO, IVO4all Project Manager (UK)