Raleigh ICS: Continuing Active Citizenship

15th April 2019
RV Event

Out of a total of 650 applicants, around 90 Nepalese volunteers were selected to take part in Raleigh International Citizen Service (ICS) in October-December 2018. They have since completed projects on the UK government funded programme and become leaders of Raleigh’s sustainable change. As part of ICS, participants take part in a Returned Volunteer event (RV) after completing their projects to reflect on challenges and achievements from their projects and to plan their next steps. Here, we follow ICS volunteers through their RV event and show how this is an instrumental part in making Raleigh’s work a continuous sustainable process which creates a new generation of active citizens in Nepal.

Why do ICS RV events take place after volunteering?

After the volunteering on projects is completed, various debriefs take place in Kathmandu. The debriefs include reflections, challenges, and learnings from throughout their time volunteering. However, volunteers are often not ready to step back and analyse what they have done as they have only just finished volunteering. Being away for three months is quite a long period for Nepalese volunteers. Most of the Nepalese volunteers witness reverse cultural shock after returning home after long gap. Due to this, RVs take place within 4-5 weeks of the placement. In that period, volunteers can reflect upon themselves and their projects.

RV Event
Volunteers involved in group discussion

Furthermore, they can also see the impact they have made in their communities. This span is significant when they come to RV event. They accept those changes within them.

Creating active global citizens

Whilst on placement, Raleigh ICS volunteers are engaged in various discussions about being active global citizens. They perform tasks in their respective teams on active citizenship and what this means. They learn and discover more about their role in society by taking part in an ICS development project and have time to consider how they can contribute towards sustainable change.

Volunteers are then encouraged to formalise this new knowledge and contribute positive social actions through Action at Home. Action at Home is a unique and crucial part of the ICS journey for young people. It sees volunteers undertake a sustainable project which positively impacts their home community. The basic idea is to transfer the knowledge they have obtained from their volunteering period to their own community and to encourage others to take up active citizenship.

RV Event
Youth Development Officers Looking at the reflections by volunteers

After carrying out their own Action at Home project, which must be completed within six months of volunteering in order to graduate from ICS, the volunteers become alumni members of the National Raleigh Society Nepal.

ICS volunteers are always welcome at Raleigh Nepal. The door is open and being Raleigh alumni gives them tremendous opportunities. We are part of a global community made up of almost 50,000 people, in over 100 countries, who have volunteered with Raleigh. In more than 15 countries, former volunteers have created national societies who support Raleigh’s work and develop their own activities. Furthermore, Raleigh alumni are made aware of opportunities and openings in our organisation.

However, it is not just limited to Raleigh, they can use their skills and knowledge gained in their daily lives, in other development fields, and the corporate world. Many also choose to implement this at their own community level.

RV Event
Volunteers sharing about reversed cultural shock
Reflections/ Excerpts from National Volunteers

Arbina- “Volunteering with Raleigh has taught me how to be patience. I have learned to respect different thoughts and different people.”

Manzil- “While leading the programme in schools, I felt special. I loved the skits, trekking phase, mountain view, everything! Volunteering with Raleigh has developed my personality in a tremendous way.”

Shrawan- “Things which I could not learn in my 18 years of life, these 70 days taught me! Raleigh has been a turning point in my life.”

Prajwan- “I was an introvert person. In the beginning, all I conversed with my room partner was- good night! By the end of programme, I got feedback from my host mother that I was the volunteer who communicated with her and community the most.”

Reflections/ Excerpts from Youth Development Officers

Baibhav Dhital 

“During selection process and interviews with volunteers, most volunteers are unaware of their strengths and weaknesses. Some lack confidence. I see their growth with this event. I feel positive that I have been a part of this meaningful change.”

Ashma Khadka 

“I see positive changes in volunteers. They do not get stuck in smaller issues of life such as complaining about food or having a bad mood due to torn bed sheets. They talk more about positive ideas, their ambitions in life. This makes me so much connected to them. I see them as my family.”

Shambhavi Poudel 

“Raleigh’s work is a continuous process. The RV event is not the end but a starting point. Furthermore, it is a wonderful platform for us to reflect and make programmatic changes. I would also like to request volunteers to continue doing the good work.”

To find out how you can volunteer with us, please click here

Post & images by communications officer Suman

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