How to become a ME + ntor_ESC?
Last week, 17-23 February 2020, 4 associations that operate within youth international mobility programs met to discuss strategies within the ME + ntor_ESC project. This project is the result of a need that all the associations involved felt within the context of ESC – European Solidarity Corps – which leads to the question: How can the mentoring process be enhanced in a European and local reality?
This project started a meeting in Athens last summer to discuss the objectives of this cooperation and to align ideas. This time the process was more intense and in a different reality. The organization A.C.T.O.R. organized this Seminar in a small town in the heart of Transylvania (Codlea, Romania), which lives a particular reality: it is home to several ethnic communities – Saxons, Romanians, Hungarians and Gypsies – and religious communities – Christians, Orthodox, Anglecans, Jews.
In this sense, this cultural and social context was important to reflect on the new challenges that the ESC program proposes to organizations – Create solidary relationships between organizations and the local community based on voluntary practices.
In the transition of programs (EVS – European Voluntary Service) and ESC, organizations have to adapt and demand new dynamics and reflections to the elements that are in the front line of contact with the volunteers: the mentors.
The role of the mentor is clear in the guides of European programs, but the reality is more challenging, as organizations live in a constant mutation and in different rhythms (between management of volunteers, stakeholders, partners, policies …).
There was a need to share each particularity and the organizations’ modus operandi in terms of mentoring processes – among the participants there were mentors, project managers, volunteer coordinators and official representatives – and to align languages and concepts so that a common basis was established. to work on this topic. The heterogeneity of the various realities offered a rich and interesting understanding of the mentor’s role as essential elements in facilitating learning processes and understanding the importance of volunteers in communities.
This seminar also contributed to support a better understanding of the new opportunities that ESC offers – jobs and internships – that will require new mentoring strategies.
There was space for exploration and sharing of practices and methodologies that, when compiled and studied, will be published on an online platform – METODOTECA, giving access to materials for all those interested in the topic. This result is essential to invest in practices and individuals committed to mentoring at a higher quality professional and social level.
The Seminar was also the first step of many, for an innovative cooperation between organizations: the creation of online strategies within the project. In addition to facilitating communication, this cooperation is making use of digital tools that will contribute to more effective and faster practices that could be integrated into associative contexts.
This new phase of the Me + ntor_ESC project will last for 5 months to develop METODOTECA and prepare a Training course for mentors in November.
Like a puzzle, little by little we are building a new understanding of the Mentor’s role in the ESC reality and that those who are already involved will grow as individuals and better youth workers.
To conclude, the challenge is launched: Do you want to become a Me + ntor_ESC?
This project has the financial support of the Erasmus + program.
Article written by Inês Vasquez ( Romania)