How to be a Volunteer? - A Transfer Story from Arcos de Valdevez

In 2018 our Municipality joined the network of transferring good volunteering practices. It should be noted that the Municipality of Athienou is a lead partner of this Volunteer Network, of which Arcos de Valdevez is already part, as well as municipalities in countries such as Poland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Croatia and Italy.

This exchange and cooperation aims to strengthen the feeling of identity and concerns with social issues among the participating Municipalities, intensifying the relations, around the practices, knowledge and experiences of each Municipality, in order to share, transmit and capitalize on them. carrying out joint actions and projects.

With this network, cities had the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and experiences in the scope of volunteering, through contact with other realities and programs designed to support children, young people, the elderly and the most needy and the fight against poverty and social inequalities.

For the Municipality of Arcos de Valdevez, this is a project of interest to the municipality and to the people of Arcuense, due to the dynamics created around inclusion and social cohesion between generations, cultures, practices and knowledge. This project will allow the creation of an international volunteer network and a stock of measures and social support, among the participating municipalities, essential to the development of a strategy to combat poverty and social inequalities, as well as to encourage volunteering and social responsibility of people and companies.

The aim of the project is to develop a voluntary policy that responds to the various emerging social needs, namely, geriatric and child care, social isolation, poverty, etc., creating collective learning procedures based on exchange and peer learning.

In each of the cities that make up this network of volunteer cities, there is a work team, responsible for the development of a set of activities, taking into account the objective of the project, and in the case of the Arcuense team it is composed of representatives of the Municipality, Social Security, the Youth Association of Vila Fonche, the Portuguese Red Cross - Arcos de Valdevez Delegation, the Social Center of Grade and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Arcos de Valdevez.

At this time, in 2019 this team implemented a Municipal Volunteer Committee, responsible for the management, articulation and promotion of volunteering in the municipality of Arcos de Valdevez, created, on December 5th, International Volunteer Day, a campaign to raise local volunteers.

Entrepreneurship and the role of volunteering in companies is one of Arcos de Valdevez's contributions to sharing good practices.

The Mayor says that this network and the work resulting from it will culminate in a strategy for volunteering as a preponderant element for the sustainable development of territories. “Volunteering is important in the development process of the territories”, says the mayor, who requested the inclusion of the role of emigrants, in the project, as voluntary partners because they contribute to territorial and social cohesion.

The extreme importance of the way this project went was seen in the way the Municipality managed to organize itself and managed to respond to its population, based on volunteering, especially throughout the period of combating COVID-19.

Submitted by s.georgiou on 28/05/2021