EVS with Haritas

Are you 18-30 years young European Citizen, passionate about culture and human rights and planning to get involved in European Voluntary Service programme?

Would you like to:

  • spend 9 months in Latvia,
  • get to know how NGO’s work there,
  • develop your intercultural, social and communication skills,
  • learn about project and event management in small budget conditions,
  • promote accessibility of culture as one of the human rights?

Then read further and get to know how your EVS with us could look like!

Where would your EVS take place?

Vidzeme Culture and Art Association “Haritas” ( EVS accreditation nr. 2014-1-LV02-KA110-000468) is located in Valmiera, Latvia.

Valmiera is the largest city of Vidzeme region, Latvia, with a total area of 18.1 km². It lies at the crossroads of several important roads, 100 km to the north-east from Riga, the capital of Latvia, and 50 km south of the border with Estonia. Valmiera lies on both banks of the Gauja River.

Valmiera belongs to the oldest cities of Latvia and is located about 100 km on the north-east from the capital Riga, is one of the oldest towns in Latvia with the population of about 27 000 people. The first evidence of Valmiera goes back to the 11th century, but the symbols of the town today are the 13th century Lutheran church, called St. Simanis Church, and the ruins of a Livonian Castle.

The industrial and economic life has always been busy along the river Gauja. Today Valmiera is famous for its industrial enterprises – the joint stock company (JSC) “Valmieras stikla šķiedra” that produces glass fiber and JSC “Valpro Corp”- the producer of fuel cans and fire extinguishers. Valmiera has become the educational and cultural centre of Northern Latvia with its Vidzeme University for Applied Sciences, that is offering study programs of Public Relations, Political Science, Tourism Management and Information Technologies since 1996. The centre of professional culture of the city is Valmiera Drama Theatre.

Valmiera has a good public transportation system, for example to capital city Riga, public bus runs every hour.

Premises of the organization are located in very centre of the city – in the building of Valmiera Culture centre. Volunteer will live in a rented flat not far from the office.

 

What would you be doing during your EVS with us?

Project will take place for 9 months, from September 2015 to May 2016.

After the arrival of the volunteer our organization will provide an initial training where we will put an accent on two topics, i.e. our organization and the city of Valmiera and Vidzeme region. First of all, we will introduce the work of our organization, e.g. programs, activities, staff, target groups, cooperation with other organizations, tasks during the EVS. We will also introduce volunteers to local community and the city. They will able to learn Latvian language during their stay.

The volunteer will have the opportunity to take active part in the activities of the association. Volunteer will be able to implement information campaigns, to create promotional materials, to give information to the young people about EVS and other opportunities European Union provides for youth, to organize workshops for different audiences promoting volunteering and creativity, take part in organization of cultural events for different audiences promoting accessibility of culture. Also volunteer will be asked to document his tasks and experiences through the project in a blog.

Main task of the volunteer will be development of his own project on accessibility of culture. At the beginning of the project volunteer will receive training on culture rights and accessibility of culture. During the training he/she will develop a “check list” that cultural institution and/or event should meet to count as “accessible”. After the training volunteer’s task will be to visit different culture institutions and events of Vidzeme region and evaluate their accessibility. Volunteers experience will be documented in his/her blog. At the conclusion of the project general evaluation of all the visited institutions and events will be done and the most accessible cultural institution and event will receive a special prize.

In general volunteers will work from Monday till Friday and will have weekends off for their personal time and possibilities to travel around. The schedule may change according to the general activities planned, in this case, volunteers might have to work on weekend and have 2 days off during the week.

How to apply?

We welcome volunteers 18 – 30, interested in culture, culture policy, human rights and culture accessibility, who are willing to learn and experience new things, challenge themselves and others, share what they know and can do, and who they are, be creative, take initiative and responsibility. At least basic knowledge of English or Russian would be highly appreciated.

 

What would you gain during your EVS?

In terms of service and learning opportunities the EVS volunteers will be able to develop several competencies, in order to improve their performance. Such as:
Responsibility and project-related attitude: develop responsibility for the project; become more open to new ideas; develop the sense of initiative; ability to plan and organize activities to the project; flexibility/adaptability and coping to new challenges; proactive attitude and independent work.
Personal development: maintaining a positive attitude on the work; ability to act responsibly; ability to share information willingly; ability to make judgment and to make decisions;
Leadership abilities: ability to face problems; ability to manage conflicts; develop positive attitude in difficult situations; positive attitude in order to take initiative in team performance; team work with colleagues to achieve desired goals; ability to maintain open communication; ability to contribute to an environment of motivation;
Team orientation: work effectively with other volunteers and other members of the team; active attitude to contribute to the achievement of group and organizational goals; acceptance of shared responsibility and ownership of projects; maintenance of open communication among team members; assume commitment to team success; consistent contribution with new ideas to the organization;
Innovation and creativity: ability to develop and implement innovate ideas to the projects; ability to provide unique/different perspectives to improve activities; ability to encourage innovation in themselves and others;
Intercultural skills: knowledge about Latvian culture; knowledge about different techniques of other youngsters cultural dynamics; willing to show volunteer’s their culture and spread among the youngsters of multicultural environment;
Communication in a foreign language: ability to communicate in Latvian in order to feel more integrated among the others; positive attitude in learning process of Latvian language; persistence to improve communication in Latvian language.

Risk prevention and safety

Valmiera is quite small and rather safe town with a low crime rate and mostly friendly people. However, right after the arrival the volunteer will have a brief instruction and introduction with the local situation, local customs and general background, written and unwritten laws he/she should follow.

Also, volunteer will be instructed where to look for help if needed, and how to act in the case of emergency. Volunteer will be shown where the closest police department and hospital is. Regarding the working environment, it will be made sure that everything is according to state work safety laws.

Regarding the emotional and psychological working environment, the volunteer will be able to receive all the support needed, especially in the first months of the project since that is the most challenging time for a person to adjust to a new environment. Volunteer will have support from mentor (regular meetings and help to integrate to society).

We will ensure that volunteers take part in on-arrival and mid-term trainings organized by National Agency where they will receive professional training on formal criteria of the EVS program, communication, crisis and conflict management etc. Project is planned for volunteers not younger than 18.