Member news

Youth work during a pandemic – Home office and youth empowerment

The Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and youth organisations had to adapt, all over the world. How are European youth organisations coping with this crisis? Here are the stories of some of our member organisations, our way of documenting this common page in our History, and mapping samples of the impact this pandemic had on youth work throughout Europe!

League of Youth Voluntary Service
Belarus

League of Youth Voluntary Service (LYVS) is a youth organisation based in Minsk, Belarus. It aims at encouraging young people to be active, creative, dedicated and open-minded thanks to non-formal education and volunteering.

Olga Gribova, International Program Coordinator at LYVS, accepted to share with us how the youth organisation adapted their work to the Covid-19 crisis in the context of Belarus.

There was no official quarantine in Belarus, though a mandatory 14-day-self-quarantine was still required from any person entering Belarus from countries where the virus is actively circulating.

Precautionary office quarantine

In light of the pandemic and to compose with their government’s response, LYVS independently took the decision to have their team members work from home in order to avoid any risk for their staff and the participants of their activities. They also chose to postpone all of their planned events, including regional trips, to September/October.

Digitalising youth work

This sudden change of context allowed LYVS to improve their digital skills. Their internal communication was converted into an online planning platform in which everyone was able to add infos or notes, tasks and deadlines. The live communication was maintained thanks to phone/skype/zoom.

To adapt their activity with the public, LYVS experimented with live broadcasts and video workshops. Unexpectedly, the crisis presented an opportunity to learn how to adapt more to each other and to the needs of their volunteers. 

Empowering youth through testimonies and opportunities

Encouraging youth to partake in volunteering is one of the main mission of LYVS, specifically through the European Solidarity Corps, previously known as the European Voluntary Service, a European programme that allows young people to volunteer abroad. During the pandemic, LYVS continued to provide positive inspiration to youth. To adapt the format of their testimonies of former volunteers, they launched a video challenge and called young people to share their experience abroad.

They also continued to share calls for participants and other opportunities (online English workshop, online trainings and conversation meetings) inviting young people to continue developing themselves and planning future mind-opening projects, as soon as the situation would go back to normal.

SOMETHING POSITIVE

It seems to us that during this challenging time we can see more solidarity and more help among our society and colleagues. We created a great webinar (in our opinion) 🙂 with our colleagues from a few Belarusian NGO's about European Solidarity Corps (ESC) projects: how to apply, what to expect, how to find the projects etc. to inform young people who want to become ESC volunteers. We received a lot of positive feedbacks 🙂
Olga Gribova
International Program Coordinator at LYVS