Since we started our activities in Greece in 2015, there has been more than 6000 international volunteers assisting our operations. It is necessary for all volunteer field workers to be as well prepared as possible for their assignments among refugees. Acknowledging this, we have seen a need for an in-depth Training Program. The summer of 2018 we started developing an online training program, with wonderful pro-bono support from the Norwegian design agency Design Container.
This mandatory online training will provide new and returning volunteers with relevant information and preparations prior to their arrival in Greece. It aims to prepare volunteers for what they can expect when being a field worker; both practically and mentally. It also provides insight and reflection before volunteering in or around refugee camps. The training consists of three sections, which are completed when having passed an exam. After completing the training and volunteer assignment with A Drop in the Ocean in Greece, volunteers may receive a certificate, which will be advantageous in future humanitarian career. – We strongly believe the training will contribute to improving the quality of our services in Greece as well as making the experience for our volunteers even better, says Birgit Hjelmtvedt, HR- and Emergency Manager of A Drop in the Ocean.
Our Training Coordinator, Trine Jåstad says: The process of creating the course have been interesting and educational, and we have learned a lot throughout this past year. We have been lucky to work together with Design Container along the entire journey taking care of the technical aspects and training us when it comes to maintaining the course. We could not have done it without them!
“A Drop in the Ocean manages around 2000 volunteer assignments annually. Every volunteer works for an average of two weeks which means that enormous resources are spent on training and managing the volunteers. We wanted to help them automate this process. This winter, we digitised their volunteer training program. The new system will launch on 20 June. Our hope is that this will give A Drop in the Ocean more time to concentrate on their important work supporting refugees. We are deeply impressed by the commitment and impact of the work carried out by A Drop in the Ocean,” says Linn-Cecilie Linnemann CEO of Design Container.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Design Container for making this possible, and for their expertise and service minded attitude throughout this interesting journey!
During the development of this program, we did have a pilot group of volunteers, testing ang giving us feedback. Without their assistance, the training would not have been that successful.
Mark Tanner, from Colorado, USA. Volunteered at Lesvos, Nea Kavala and Skaramagas:
“I felt the content of the training was excellent and the program was easy to use. It gave me an idea of how to prepare, what to expect once I arrived, and provided a base that my volunteer experience could thrive upon. Particularly, it prepared me to be aware of possible uncomfortable situations, so I could react in a way that did not add more stress to the situation. The advantage of taking this course was that it answered some of my questions before I arrived, and with these answered my personal volunteer experience was enhanced. Furthermore, the training emphasized the importance of communication and cooperation; a great emphasis for everyday life no matter where I am.”
From other volunteers, we have received the following feedback, which we are proud to quote here:
- I liked how the lessons are constructed; they are not all the same, but have different layouts, including interactive maps, videos, information and pictures. And of course – the best thing is that the training is online, ready to be taken whenever the volunteer has the time to go through the program.
- I liked that it was comprehensive and that it was both practical and theoretical. I particularly liked the overview of refugee situation and the description of a typical refugee camp, as well as the reflective questions.
- The training provided a good overview for volunteers as to what to expect. I liked the ethical dilemmas. It allowed me to reflect on potential scenarios that could happen when you’re in the field and how to react in different situations.
- I like all of it, but the “mental preparation” section I felt was excellent due to the factors a volunteer should consider before entering the camp environment.
- Very good design interface. Very comprehensive and clear to understand.