Debates in Riga
Cooperation between voluntary organizations and local governments
The meeting started a day earlier in Riga. We met with part of the group that would participate in the debates, and got to know each other, having a taste of Latvian cuisine.
But the real thing started in the morning of the 16th. You looked around, and you had people from all around Europe. All ages, all nationalities, one same aim: discussing how to improve the relation between local governments and voluntary organizations.
Moderated by American professor Thomas Bryer, the participants exposed their main ways of working and their concerns about the relationship between these two entities, from three different points of view: the organizations, the governments and the volunteers. After exposing the ideas we all engaged in a discussion about what are some necessary steps that should be made to make the cooperation more successful. What is volunteering? Should volunteers receive money? Up to what point should local governments promote volunteering? These are some of the topics that we raised.
The biggest conclusion that we made is that, against all the problems that social work has to face, the three sides –government, organizations and volunteers- are willing to a collaborate to create a system that will work for everyone, and make volunteering an easy option for everyone.
Ana Maria Gongadze EVS volunteer