HOPE – Hands-On Project for Europe – Mikhail Baranov – 2 weeks group volunteering in Italy
Name of the project: HOPE – Hands-On Project for Europe
Dates: 30.05.2022 – 14.06.2022
City/Country: Altamura, Italy
What was the main topic of the event?
Environmental topics: zero-waste farm production, sustainability, European Green Deal, greenwashing. Cleaning and regeneration of outdoor spaces and green areas. Intercultural events aimed at cultural exchange and promotion of project’s aims across local population.
What were the biggest learning moments of the event for you?
Counterintuitively, the biggest learning moment was the day when there was no facilitator to guide me. All I knew is that we have a public event, and we need to present anything to our liking.
We started brainstorming as a group but somewhere along the way I realized that there is not much more input for me to bring to the planning, so I took myself a topic and a couple of activities that I really wanted to prepare and separated myself from the main group to have more time. It was extremely interesting to develop a semi-independent presentation in-parallel with discussion of the whole event. With absolute freedom of action, both our plan as well as selection of topics and activities were very flexible and constantly changing. The ideas were bouncing back and forth – you pick up and adopt some of the ideas that others gave up on and simultaneously give out those that do not fit into your presentation anymore.
I am more used to either producing presentations one after another or preparing the set of presentations and then trying to fit them together however best we can. Instead, this was the first time when we were able to organically adapt our presentations to each other as we went and even enrich them to the level we weren’t expecting initially.
Do you have any plans to continue being active in the field? If yes, what?
I am very passionate about sustainable environment topics, and I hope to align my professional future with it and I am too hyped about volunteering projects not to be actively looking into them. Although, I will look into volunteering opportunities across various fields.
Would you recommend it to your friends? If yes, why? If not, why not?
There is no question about it I will. I have already went above and beyond to get anyone who is willing to listen into volunteering (my friends could be annoyed with me already) and I don’t see myself stopping anywhere soon.