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    This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
    This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


    Competences are developed in volunteering – but reliable validation is missing

    EU-Conference about learning through volunteering
    Volunteering is one of the most appreciated and experienced activities that people choose to feel part of the community and stay active. In this way a variety of experiences can be gained through volunteering activities – on the other hand competences and qualifications are earned which can be useful for ones’ professional career. With the new European RIVER Certification these competences acquired in informal learning can be made visible. This methodology was presented in the European conference “Recognition of learning though volunteering”, November 12 2013 in Vienna.

    European Certificate about competence development in volunteering
    Learning in volunteering mainly focuses on social competences – competences that are difficult measure or to validate. But a first step is to raise the learning awareness of the volunteers!  With the help of the RIVER certificate the impact and learning outcome of volunteering can be demonstrated. The Methodogoly is provided as a useful Management-tool for volunteering organisations and networks.


    EU Conference: Recognition of Learning in Volunteering

    Given demographic changes in our society and the rise of the ‘ageing population‘ it is becoming increasingly important to create opportunities for the active participation of seniors in society.  The contribution of volunteering as a strategy for active ageing and competence development for senior learners  is the focus of this European conference.

    Recognition of Learning in Volunteering

    In this conference volunteering will be considered from an intergenerational perspective.  The discussion will address the development of competences for volunteers – of all ages – and the way in which these can be recognised and validated.  In the afternoon workshops participants have the opportunity to learn about the RIVER methodology, developed as a bespoke competence  assessment system for the planning, development, documentation and recognition of the learning process in the volunteering sector.

    When: November 12 2013, 09.30-16.00,

    Where: Dachsaal Wiener Urania, Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Vienna




    Registration of participants

    10.00 - 10.30

    Welcome and Opening of the conference
    Holger Bienzle, bridges to europe/die Berater                     . Gabriele Sprengseis, MSc, Research Institute of the Red Cross/Vienna

    10.30 - 11.15 Uhr

    Input1: Volunteering as an instrument to promote active ageing  and competence development of seniors
    Dr. Elisabeth Hechl, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs


    Input 2: Validation and valorisation of social competences from a European perspective
    Udo Bachmayer, National Agency for Lifelong Learning

    11.15 - 11.45

    Coffee break

    11.45 - 12.30

    Validation of competences in intergenerational volunteering – experiences with the EU Project RIVER
    Maren Satke, Projectmanagement & Consulting, bridges to europe

    Round Table: Achievements and challenges in the validation of competence development
    RIVER project partners

    12.30 - 13.00

    Using competences for volunteering engagement – Grundtvig Projects SLIC I und II
    Charlotte Strümpel and Cornelia Hackl, Austrian Red Cross


    13.00 - 14.00

    lunch buffet

    14.00 - 15.30


    • Workshop 1: the RIVER Methodology - Perspective to the use of RIVER in the context of volunteering
    • Workshop 2: How to use assessment methods in working with different age groups?
    • Workshop 3: Validation and Certification of informal competences in volunteering

    15.30 - 16.00

    Summaryof workshops and closing discussion


    Participation is free. Please send an E-Mail to Maren Satke m.satke@dieberater.com. Registration deadline is November 05 2013. 



    Recognition of learning in volunteering

    Visit the FINAL CONFERENCE of the EU-project RIVER!

    WHEN? 12 November 2013, 09.30-16.00

    WHERE? Dachsaal Wiener Urania, Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Vienna

    You can find the conference programme here.




    The final RIVER conference will take place on November 12th 2013 in Vienna, AT.

    4th Projectmeeting in Budapest, Hungary, June 2013

    The dicussion of the piloting results as well as the finalisation of the RIVER methodology and the RIVER working documents were in focus of the 4th project meeting in RIVER, which took place from 10-12 of June. 

    This time an unexpected focus was also given to the river Danube which reached a record-breaking level!



    Piloting Experiences

    The RIVER Methodology had been tested in 5 different countries (Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Italy) through 13 piloting projects with the involvement of 27 senior volunteers acting in intergenerational settings.
    The projects piloted in the 5 partner countries had different characteristics.

    In Austria the partner organisation piloted the RIVER methodology in 4 different projects: an after-school centre for kids from 6 to 15 years old in which senior volunteers work as mentors; a council housing in which the residents work with health promotion activities to make them becoming “health advocates”; an international school project that provide students (aged 15-19) with education programs about entrepreneurship with the help of retired professionals acting as volunteer external consultants; a scouts organisation in which senior volunteers give support to the management on different issues like running of the local scout activities, doing the finances, and organisation of events.

    In Finland the partner organisation piloted the RIVER methodology on 2 quite different projects. The first project aimed to create a network for immigrants who already are entrepreneurs or who want to start their own enterprise and was involving two persons in charge of setting up and starting off the network: a middle-aged entrepreneur who knows the business world very well and a young entrepreneur who masters the modern techniques of social networking. The second project was carried out in a 2-days major cultural festival in Helsinki and the volunteers were involved in the preparation and delivery of the stand and the activities of a local non-profit organisation.

    In Germany the partner organisation piloted the RIVER methodology in 4 different projects: one sports club in which the 70 years old volunteer president had to leave his position to a younger man, as well volunteer; a collective house where people of any age can stay to work and live together for some weeks or long-term; a regional volunteering fire department, that in Germany are totally managed by volunteers of any age; an elderly home in Göttingen where, apart from the official program provided by the staff, they offer a lot of activities supported or directly organised by volunteers.

    In Hungary the partner organisation piloted the RIVER methodology in a senior volunteering exchange project between Germany and Hungary. The general aim of the project was to improve the key competences of senior citizens (social and civic competences and communication in foreign languages) and to contribute to the positive image of this age-group, emphasising their values and experiences.

    In Italy the partner organisation piloted the RIVER methodology with 2 projects: a training course and internship focused on specific competences for volunteers of any age, aimed to focus to what extent a mix of volunteering daily-life and training experiences could improve the senior volunteers ability in being helpful for their association; a international exchange for senior volunteers +50 years old which had the opportunity to learn specific soft skills and share their learning experience with young trainers.

    3rd Projectmeeting and Piloting Workshop in Rome, November 2012

    From November 7-9 RIVER partners met for the third project meeting in Rome, hosted by the Italian project partners CSVnet and Lunaria. In combination with the meeting a RIVER Piloting Workshop was organised, an important element of the preparation of the piloting. Project partners and other volunteering facilitators were trained in the RIVER methodology and got support for the planning of their piloting projects.



    Project Meeting and LEVEL5 Training Workshop in Göttingen

    The second RIVER project meeting focused on bringing all project partners up-to-speed on the use and application of the LEVEL5 method.

    The three-day meeting began with one day of strategic questions and planning of the next stages of the project work, whilst the following two days were centred on practical training in the LEVEL5 method.   This workshop, organised by REVEAL, a cooperation of numerous EU project actors who, through their projects and activities, have been involved in the establishment and expansion of LEVEL5, wasn’t only for RIVER project partners, but involved partners and contributors from various EU projects and networks.

    This diverse mix of participants from various professional fields, and with various experiences in LEVEL5 application, provided the sound basis for a really purposive and target-oriented workshop, as well as an inspirational exchange of perspectives and practice.

    Kick off meeting – 16th.-17th February, Vienna

    In the first project meeting partners got to know each other and started the project planning process.

    Project aims were discussed and a project plan was set up. The project started with a stocktaking phase, which includes research on senior volunteering activities and former experiences in the work with LEVEL5 in other EU-projects.

    The next partner meeting in Göttingen (DE), May 29th-31st, will be held in combination with a first training on LEVEL5 for all partners.