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The 6th of March 2021 saw the launch of the Erasmus+ project “Supporting Volunteers in Youth Organisations”. This 3-year project brings together Żgħażagħ Azzjoni Kattolika (Malta), which is also coordinating the project, Azione Cattolica Italiana (Italy), Acţiunea Catolică din România (Romania), Acción Católica General (Spain), together with the support of the International Forum of Catholic Action. The launch took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project aims at discovering underlying issues regarding the long-term commitment of young volunteers. A research study will be taking place, shedding light on an issue which is common for many voluntary organisations in Europe, and thus to contribute to the available body of knowledge in the youth field. The final act of this project will be a training involving 32 young people from the four organizations about the dissemination and putting the outcomes of the study into action.

Thanks to this project, the organizations will have come up with a sustainable and effective action plan, consisting of initiatives to support their volunteers, while helping them live a more meaningful and formative experience within their organizations. Josef Debono, President of Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija (AKM) and Youth Leader in ŻAK stated that the idea came about after “OWLS (Opportunities + Willingness + Learning = Success)”; a previous Erasmus+ project bringing different organisations together through a series of 5 training seminars organised in the various countries of the respective organisations, came to an end. In October 2019, a few months after the last OWLS training seminar took place, the 4 organisations came together and realised that they wanted this collaboration to go further and deeper in order to develop youth work within the organisations.

Guest in the event and responsible for the Youth Section of the Dicastery for Family and Life Fr. João Chagas stated that young people need to be supported fully by listening to them, accompanying them especially in their dreams and choices, by making them protagonists of social change and by guiding them in their growth. He encouraged such projects which go hand in hand with Pope Francis’s “Christus Vivit”: Post-Synodal Exhortation to Young People.

The project “Supporting Volunteers in Youth Organisations” (SVYO) is co-funded by the European Union in the framework of Erasmus+ programme and will be running until August 2023.