SCI Austria (Youth NGO) has launched an Online Seminar with focus on the relation between volunteering and colonialism. This is of present interest, as colonialism still survives in the Western mindset when it comes to volunteering for Global-South countries.
Background of the Online Seminar
Colonialism created the political and economic context, in which we live today. Some countries have accumulated resources and wealth over centuries, while other countries have been colonised, their resources exploited, their cultures destroyed and their people murdered, marginalised and structurally discriminated against. Countries of the Global South are still today disadvantaged in their participation in the global economy. In international organisations – and people of color still face discrimination following the concept of “race”, coming from the colonisers themselves. In order to change the heritage of colonialism, we need to create global justice.
What the Seminar aims to
International volunteering takes place in this context: white Europeans go as international volunteers to the Global South, often with neo-colonial motivations of imposing Western values and mindsets onto local realities. In this seminar, international volunteering and youth organisations will gather to discuss, learn and exchange about this issue. Some questions that we ask ourselves and that we would like to discuss in this seminar are:
- How can we as international volunteering organisations respond to colonial mindsets and motivations of volunteers? Is there a way to make them aware in an appropriate way about the power structures at hand?
- Can we work with ideas of “development” and “self-development” in a constructive way?
- Is it possible to make volunteers active citizens around global justice rather than passive believers of colonial narratives of developing, helping and saving?
- How do we as critical volunteering NGOs relate to commercial organisations around us that do not critically prepare volunteers (“volontourism”) – should we compete with, ignore, collaborate with or train them?
As an outcome, we will create a new 4th version of the toolkit “Picturing the Global South: The Power Behind Good Intentions”.
When and How
The seminar will take place on 12-14 March and 18-21 March 2021 from 13:30-17:00 Central European Time (CET) (find out what this is in your time zone here). It will be on Zoom with an optional evening hangout as well as with individual tasks to do in the morning.
You need a good internet connection that works with video calls, a camera and microphone.
It is crucial for us your motivation to participate throughout the whole project, that you are not missing on any day of the project.
The participants will be staff, activists and volunteers from volunteering and youth organisations.
All participants selected for this project must meet the following criteria
- be 18 years old or older
- work with volunteer management or sending volunteers as well as voluntary leaders
- be able to work in English
- be interested in the seminar topics (volunteering in a North-South context, colonialism, global justice)
- have a strong motivation to act as a multiplier
- commit to implement the learned knowledge and skills in practice back home
- commit to be present in (almost) all sessions of the seminar
We explicitly encourage participants of all genders, sexual orientations, abilities, races and ethnic backgrounds to apply.
How to Apply
The deadline for application is February 14th, 2021. You can send your application to [email protected], whit this questionnaire filled in attached. Those shortlisted will then receive a detailed infosheet.
If you have any question regarding the project and/or your application, please contact SCI Austria at [email protected].