There is no better time to focus the spotlight on international volunteering. 2011 marks the 10th Anniversary of the UN International Year of Volunteers. It is also the European Year of Volunteering. In the Asia-Europe context, the establishment of an Asian Voluntary Service (AVS) as a counterpart organisation for the European Voluntary Service is on the cards.
The development of an action plan towards the creation of an AVS was one of the recommendations by the 4th Networking Conference for Asian and European Young Volunteers (4th NAEYV). Held from 6-11 February 2011 in Semarang (Indonesia), the conference provided participants with a stimulating environment to discuss how to promote the visibility and values of voluntary service as an important facet of non-formal education tools in Asia and Europe.
The conference identified a number of specific approaches to achieve more recognition for international volunteering. This includes the compilation of evidence showing the impact and benefits of international volunteering for individuals, as well as for their organisations. Formal guidelines on the implementation for such volunteering could also be established.
The 4th NAEYV was organised in partnership with Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS), in cooperation with the Indonesia International Work Camp (IIWC). There were 35 participants from various Asian and European international volunteering organisations, governments, universities and international youth organisations. They included the ASEAN Secretariat (Education, Youth and Training Division), European Youth Forum, Network for Voluntary Development in Asia, Solidarités Jeunesses France and Toyo University.