On the 14th of May, AER participated in the webinar Euro-Mediterranean Youth Voluntary responses to the COVID-19 hosted by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). AER programmes coordinator, Andrés Muñoz, joined a discussion panel on the role of regions and municipalities mobilising young volunteers to contain the spread of the virus. Two examples from AER member regions were featured in the discussions: Lepoglava municipality in Varazdin County (HR) and Ajara region (GE).
Regions mobilising youth voluntary work!
Regional and local authorities are at the frontline of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic engaging with communities to avoid the spread, delivering healthcare and other essential services and supporting the most vulnerable population, including young people. But youth has also proven to be a highly effective partner to respond to such sanitary emergencies and a valuable asset to the frontline actors for vital livelihood support.
Regional and local authorities rely on the contribution of the organised civil society and community groups, including young volunteers, together with international or private organisations to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. Many young activists and volunteers across the globe have embarked on exemplary initiatives and are generating innovative ideas to save countless lives within their communities and help in the longer-term recovery process.
AER examples of youth voluntary work
Lepoglava, Varazdin County (HR):
The region allocated resources and organized lots of young volunteers for food and medicines delivery, prioritising the most vulnerable segments of the population. Starting from helping the elderly people in bringing them groceries, medicine and other essential goods to include people in self-isolation into such a solidarity campaign. Special attention was paid to very poor communities who were delivered free warm lunch every second day.
The organised youth took also an active part in “patrolling” the streets to inform the local stores, retailers and businesses about the distancing rules, disinfection and hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Besides that, during the “patrolling” the young volunteers distributed free masks and gloves to those citizens in need of prevention equipment.
Regional Youth Centre of Ajara (GE)
With the pandemic outbreak, activities of the Regional Youth Center of Ajara region (GE) shifted from planning and executing youth projects to coordinating young volunteers in the crisis management strategies to respond to the COVID-19.
The youth centre launched a call to recruit volunteers and, in cooperation with the Georgian Red Cross Society, trained over 400 volunteers who delivered food and medicines to over 10.000 families. As a result, the Ajara’s Youth Regional Centre has successfully acquired new skills in the field of crisis management. This solidarity youth response reaffirms the commitment of the Ajara region towards young people’s inclusion in public life.
The Eurodyssey example:
Eurodyssey’s joint actions to contain the COVID-19 crisis were also featured in the discussions as an example of interregional response to protect young people in mobility.
Share your success story!
AER is mapping further youth voluntary initiatives from member regions to give visibility to the role being played by young activists in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The main goal is to showcase more success stories and, ultimately, organise an online workshop to exchange lessons learnt and best practices in this area.
Please, just answer a brief survey to share your story and upload any relevant pictures or files for social media purposes:
Thanks in advance for contributing to this initiative!
Photo credits: @Lepoglava municipality / @Ajara