UNV organizes youth volunteer summer camp in Jordan
Deema Hamdan has been a volunteer since the age of 18. Her motivations have always been clear: to help those around her and make a difference. She was one of the 27 participants who attended the volunteer summer camp in Ajloun, Jordan, organized by Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future during the week 27 - 31 August, 2013.
“This camp was very powerful - it really impacted me to see how young Jordanian volunteers deal creatively with their local community. It made me feel relieved to see that nothing can stop such positive energy towards changing and improving the world, starting from our local Jordanian community and heading towards the international one”, summarized Deema, at the end of the Summer Camp.
The Summer Camp aimed at creating an atmosphere of pride in volunteerism, networking and encouraging collaboration between volunteer initiatives. For three days, the selected young volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 24, participated in workshops, games, debates and training to help strengthen their knowledge and volunteering capacities. Led by two specialized trainers, the participants discussed volunteerism as a necessary tool for development. “If [we don’t volunteer] now, then when? And if it’s not us, then who?”, reflected Sanad Abu Assaf, 26 year-old engineer and founder of a small organization called The Spirit of Jordan, which promotes and organizes volunteer initiatives in the country.
As the concept of volunteerism was discussed, the young participants felt increasingly confident about volunteering. They agreed that it is embedded in their culture, and that is necessary for the development of their communities. They learned though hands-on activities that a positive personality and attitude can affect and change their perspective about volunteering and their approach to it, giving them tools to think “outside the box”. The intensive training gave them the chance to change their perceptions on themselves: they felt more confident, increasingly comfortable to share their ideas and stories, and their social skills were significantly enhanced.
During a final discussion, the participants agreed that their diversity is their strength, as they felt that the wide variety of skills, ideas and educational backgrounds of the young volunteers was an added value to their experience.
But the camp doesn’t end there. The 27 participants concluded with potential initiatives and joint projects to serve different issues, such as environment, animals, education, heritage revival and health care. The participant’s different backgrounds and experiences was a huge factor to help creating partnership opportunities to exchange ideas, initiatives and motivations for the future.
The camp was organized under the UNV-led regional project “Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future”, to harness the power and energy of youth through volunteerism, drawing on the inherent core values of self-help, solidarity and social cohesion. The project seeks to strengthen the infrastructure necessary to build the skills and capacities of youth in the region. It aims to enhance their social inclusion and active participation in the socio-economic development of their countries. The project is implemented in five countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.