This research is based on a form that was launched at the beginning of April 2020, which was intended to verify how local organizations that deal with European projects related to the youth area, deal with issues related to Wellbeing.
This form was distributed to several Facebook groups that operate within the area of international and European youth projects, mainly linked to the ESC and ERAMUS + program. – Erasmus Plus Projects ;Erasmus+ partner search ; Erasmus Internships, Erasmus+ ; Erasmus + PROJECTS PARTNER FINDING ; ESC – European Solidarity Corps – EVS – European Voluntary Service. It was also distributed among partners and on the Facebook page and blog of our organization – ACTOR.
With 83 responses coming from a good representation of the European reality – participating countries: Bulgaria; Belgium; Spain; Portugal; France; Ireland; Germany; Greece; Serbia; Northern Macedonia; Lithuania; Estonia; Romania; Italy; Poland; Austria; Finland.
Most answers to the question: What is your position inside your organization?
It come from Youth Workers connected with ERAMUS+ / ESC projects (divided into different categories: Mentors 22%; Project Coordinators 35%; Volunteer Coordinators 19%; Staff Coordinators 20%) – the remaining answers were people linked to the organizations work in the project fields – Stakeholders (Teachers; Nurses; psychologists).
The ages of these individuals range from 21 to 52 years, with the majority of respondents being 25 ~ 30 years old – 80 %.
What or Which tasks you consider more stressfull?
Most respondents responded that the most difficult tasks were linked to the volunteers’ emotional issues. Also referenced, how to deal with problems related to young people with behavior risk or with young people more mentally vulnerable (depression; intellectual / cognitive / learning disabilities).
– “… One task that is usually or, very often, stressfull, is identifying those methods/tools that suit best the volunteers that are more difficult to handle or encounter emotional and cultural/adaptation issues”
– “…It’s quite challenging to single out these methods as we basically lack psychology/adjacent studies.”
– “…Having to deal with volunteers who want to quit the programme. ”
– “Trying to motivate volunteers who aren’t really motivated, giving them tasks they like to chear them up.”
– “Trying to advice them or help them with problems that they have during their staying in the ngo/country ”
These are some of the explicit examples of many of the respondents about the problem of the lack of methodologies or strategies to deal with these types of challenges – most of the answers came in this direction.
Other responses are linked to administrative issues.
Do you lead with volunteers/ participants from disadvanged backgrounds/ fewer opportunities?
Most respondents deal with youth from disadvantaged backgrounds of different categories: Educational difficulties; Health problems; Social obstacles and Cultural differences (with the highest percentages).
These categories were based on ERASMUS + aims – Equity and Inclusion.
What are the most challenging facts to deal with this participants?
“… overall emotional barriers, such as sadness, anxiety, or, further on, depression episodes”
” – emotional distress stemming from personal, usually sentimental relationships”
” – Adapting to a new background and cultural shock.”
” – To ensure that they are feeling totally comfortable in the new country/ to help them overcome obstacles relating with personal issues.”
“- They have sensitivities that unbalance in surprising way the very clear strategies”
“They are really difficult people to understand, with their inner problems, who maybe need a really professional approach that i’m not able to give them.”
The answers to this question met the need for specialization or to find methodologies or strategies to deal with the emotional challenges of young people in situations of inequality.
In your organization do you have a wellbeing plan ?
71% answered NO – the remaining 28% answered affirmatively.
Why do you belive that is important to have a training about youthwork and wellbeing?
“For sure it’s needed, especially during crisis like the one we face now. It is great to be prepared and to help mentally yourself in order to be able to help and support others. ”
“Any methodology in this direction is essential for the quality of the work with sensitive people”
“The Training about youthwork and wellbeing is really important for the staff that is a precious ingredient for the quality of the organization.”
“It would be nice to have such a training, as wellbeing is very important for everyone, volunteers, mentors or coordinators. As a mentor it is very important to help the volunteers acquire a good state of wellbeing. ”
“Because youth workers need to be fully aware of their role and responsibilities. Since a ‘job description’ rarely exists, they need to know what’s expected from them. Plus, emotional support and special care about wellbeing is absolutely necessary within every organization. ”
“Wellbeing gives energy and motivation which leads to succeed your goals( in case of the volunteer to able to help with no distractions and have a better impact in the community etc)”
This assessment was assessed on 1 MAY 2021. However, the project continues to receive responses to continue developing activities and projects on the subject.
Written by Inês Vasquez
ESC JOB in ACTOR 2020