- Mobilising Volunteers
Disaster Management Phase
The project "Volunteers for Education" responds to the educational crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic to support learning and motivation of children aged 9-17. The project provides the support of an adequately trained volunteer matched with one or more children for online study accompaniment. The project manages to provide children with personalized study support exploiting the potential of online support. Collaboration with schools is the cornerstone of the project. Volunteers work in a network with families and schools, and their commitment to study support is constantly supervised by a central team of professional educators. Save the Childrnen was able to recruit and train 2,360 volunteers, activate within 1 year approximately 1,600 volunteers and reach 3,100 students. The support has a duration of 25 hours which can be extended if there is a proven need. Each support will have a specific thematic focus, depending on the needs of the minor involved and starting from the indications of the school: humanities, scientific subjects, L2 Italian, foreign languages, preparation for middle school, homework support during the summer.The objectives of the support can be different: strengthening basic skills and motivation to learn or making up for gaps in specific areas. If the child does not have a tablet, this will be insured as part of the project.
What was the overall goal of the Use Case?The project "Volunteers for Education" responds to the educational crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic to support learning and motivation of children aged 9-17.
What worked well and could be recommended to others?
The project can be considered innovative for several reasons. For Save the Children this was the first volunteers' based project, i.e. a project mainly implemented thanks to the direct commitment of thousands of volunteers. The intervention was based online in a virtual space.The online came to have a huge potential impact during the lockdown period. It allowed us to stay connected - distant yet close - by feeding the deep need of the human being to enter into relationship with the other. The online allowed to break down distances and travel difficulties, also reaching deprived contexts and hard to reach areas. The online, for example, allows you to relate a student who lives in a small town of province of northern Italy with a volunteer who lives in the deep south and who, in addition to the time and commitment, avails his/her skills and abilities to help the child recover specific gaps in school subjects, to develop a study method, to regain self-confidence and to re-gain hope for the future. For some students, for example those with Special Educational Needs and/or with Specific Disorders of Learning, the digital environment can even facilitate learning; for other children or kids who have developed problems related to social anxiety, the online setting is felt to be safer.
What limitations were identified?
- Disengagement once the emergency period is over. This process is delicate and needs to be planned accurately. How do you keep the volunteers periodically engaged to ensure they will be available for the next emergency?- Control over volunteers. As the project grows in scale and volunteers are directly in contact with beneficiaries, you need to ensure a similar scale up of control and reporting mechanisms to ensure safe programming.