NGOs in Constanta and the challenges of the pandemic

NGOs in Constanta and the challenges of the pandemic

For organizations in Constanța, the pandemic was a challenge. So far, all activities and events have moved to the online environment, but with the relaxation measures, volunteers have been able to participate in activities and actions. The Youth Vision Association, member of the implementation team of the Constanța – Romanian Youth Capital (CCTR) program, carried out within the “Shape Your Future” project developed in partnership with youth associations and organizations from Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Poland, several online activities such as round tables, consultations, focus groups in which young volunteers and representatives of youth associations and organizations were forced to answer questions about the pandemic activity, the problems encountered by NGOs during the pandemic, how the pandemic changed NGO activities what types of courses or materials would NGOs need to adapt their methods / activities to existing conditions, whether we are talking about the online or offline environment, possible obstacles in the use of digital tools in the NGO’s work, which are the main advantages and disadvantages of these online tools, what strategies you use to motivate young people and how they worked online with young people.

During the round table, discussions with the participating organizations (Together for the future, Adapto, AGLT, AISEC, FONT, Ovidius University Student League, Creative Plus, Mare Nostrum) focused on how the participating youth organizations managed the activities with young people during quarantine and in the pandemic context in general, with an emphasis on the situation of volunteers and members, the situation of projects (youth exchanges) and adaptation to online. Some organizations mentioned that they lost the number of volunteers, as they did not find their purpose, did not get involved and even the number of active members decreased.

Regarding the projects, the representatives of the organizations stated that some of the projects have been postponed indefinitely – due to uncertainty, that they have not received information and / or clear information, support, from the financier and have uncertainties regarding the development on further of those projects. The youth exchanges were very affected, noting that these actions are more difficult during this period than last year. Among the young people, there was a reluctance to participate due to fears and context.

The organizations mentioned that they have adapted relatively well to the online environment, which they discovered as an interesting alternative but it was found that for young people (volunteers, young people involved) it is difficult to be online, because they have too many such activities.

At the same time, within the “Shape Your Future” project, which aims at the social inclusion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, integration into the labor market, facilitating access to educational and innovation programs and developing entrepreneurial skills, NGOs were forced to disseminate a questionnaire among young people, a questionnaire that included questions related to age, occupation, the need to improve or not some skills, pandemic training and education, support in identifying a job during the pandemic, we can conclude that the most many young respondents are between 18 and 26 years old (96%), over 60% are young, over 50% of them work as volunteers in NGOs or institutions, unpaid, while 19% are unemployed . Over 80% of the interviewees expressed their desire to improve their digital and communication skills and abilities, as well as managerial and entrepreneurial skills. More than 50% of respondents said they did not receive any training to help them carry out their work or work during the pandemic, and the rest were trained to use social and psychological tools, but they would have liked it. receive training related to digital and communication skills. Most respondents said that they did not receive any help to keep or find another job during the Covid-19 crisis, and most put their digital and communication skills to good use and find a new job.

Taking into account their answers and needs, the “Shape Your Future” project will create and make available to young people in the target group, from the five partner countries, the necessary tools to enable them to develop their social, entrepreneurial and professional skills on the market work.

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