AVS ACHIEVEMENTS: October 1998–December
The Association for Volunteer Services was founded in 1998 and was licensed by the Lebanese government in 1999 (99/m/738) to promote, facilitate, and improve volunteering and community service throughout Lebanon. In its brief history, AVS has established itself as an important center and clearinghouse for volunteerism, providing services to individuals and organizations throughout Lebanon. Through the efforts of its staff and a core group of dedicated volunteers, as well as the collaboration of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and government agencies throughout Lebanon, AVS has achieved the following:
§ Workshops: AVS has held workshops on volunteer recruitment and management, as well as on fundraising, corporate volunteering, and public purpose partnerships.
§ School programs:
· AVS has provided many outreach presentations to schools about volunteering and has provided guidance and assistance to those schools which have service requirements for graduation.
· In 2002-2003, AVS implemented a pilot training program in Service-Learning with one public and one private school.
· In May 2004, AVS held a one day conference entitled “Learning to Serve: Education, Volunteering, and Community Service”. At this conference, AVS introduced the basic ideas of what later became the AVS Learning to CARE Program.
· In 2005-2006 AVS launched its Learning to CARE Program to help schools develop programs of volunteering and community service, based on the book Learning to CARE: Education, Volunteering, and Community Service. The program, funded by the European Union and the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR), provided training materials to over 80 schools in Lebanon.
· As part of the LTC Program, AVS organized its first Youth Volunteer Leadership Training Camp in summer 2005 for 25 secondary school students.
§ Corporate Volunteer Council of Lebanon: In 2004, AVS established the Corporate Volunteer Council of Lebanon to train companies in corporate volunteering. In 2005, five companies of the CVCL launched the “Lebanon reads!” campaign (www.lebanonreads.org) to collect books for public libraries in Lebanon. Thousands of books have been distributed to Lebanese public libraries through this program.
§ Global Youth Service Days: AVS has served as Lebanon’s National Lead Agency for Global Youth Service Days since 2001. Through its efforts, schools and youth groups throughout Lebanon have organized service activities which highlight and celebrate the contributions that youth can make to improve their society. Thousands of youth each year have been engaged in these service activities.
§ Outreach Presentations: AVS provides outreach presentations on volunteerism, service-learning, and community service to schools, universities, organizations for the disabled, volunteer youth summer camps, and service organizations.
§ Referral: AVS provides referral services to potential volunteers in Lebanon and from abroad, linking them with volunteer opportunities in Lebanon.
§ Research: AVS undertook a Survey of Lebanese School to find out what service programs and activities they have. Many of its results have been published in the book Learning to CARE: Education, Volunteering, and Community Service. In addition, the AVS Director served as an advisor to a study on volunteerism undertaken by students at the Lebanese University – and has provided assistance to others doing studies on volunteerism in Lebanon.
§ Media: AVS fosters greater awareness of volunteerism through extensive media coverage of AVS programs and the volunteer programs of affiliated NGOs (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and electronic media).
§ Volunteer Opportunities Fairs: AVS has organized six annual Volunteer Opportunities Fairs at UNESCO Palace, Beirut. Patrons of the Fair have included: the Minister of Education (once), the Prime Minister (twice), and the President of Lebanon (three times). In addition, it organized a Volunteer Opportunities Fair at Saint Joseph University in Beirut in May 2004 in conjunction with the Learning to Serve Conference.
§ Global Youth Service Days: AVS has served as Lebanon’s National Lead Agency for Global Youth Service Days since 2001 (see above).
§ International Year of Volunteers 2001: AVS held a celebration to launch International Year of Volunteers 2001 at UNESCO Palace on December 5, 2000 under the patronage of the Prime Minister. It held many events to celebrate International Year of Volunteers and encouraged other organizations in Lebanon to also hold IYV2001 events.
§ Volunteer Directory: AVS has published six editions of the AVS Volunteer Directory in both Arabic and English, providing general information on volunteerism, details about AVS programs, and the profiles of affiliated NGOs (97 organizations in the 2004-2005 Directory).
§ Book: Learning to CARE: In 2006, AVS published its first book: Learning to CARE: Education, Volunteer, and Community Service. The book provides schools and their community partners (NGOs, service institutions, municipalities, ministries, and service-minded companies) with guidance on how to develop a diversity of programs that engage students in volunteering community service and develop in them a lifelong spirit of civic engagement. The book is forthcoming in Arabic in mid-2008.
§ Training Materials: As part of the Learning to CARE Program, AVS developed training materials (PowerPoint Presentations and handouts) in Arabic and English to explain and complement the teachings in the book Learning to CARE.
§ Database: AVS has developed a database of information on over 5000 contacts in Lebanon and abroad representing non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, businesses committed to corporate citizenship, and socially concerned individuals. It has a database of all the schools in Lebanon (over 2700) through the Ministry of Education, contact information on all private school networks, and additional information on schools participating in its programs. It has also begun to develop a database of NGOs in the Arab World that might have an interest in promoting volunteering in their countries and the region.
§ Library: AVS has an extensive library of publications related to volunteerism, audio-visual materials, archives of affiliated NGOs, and sample materials on volunteerism from organizations in Lebanon and abroad in English, French, and Arabic. The library is available to the public.
§ Translation: AVS has begun a translation program to make materials on volunteerism from abroad more accessible to people in Lebanon.
§ AVS Updates: AVS provides timely information on volunteerism and volunteer programs through AVS Updates, in Arabic and English, to over 3000 email addresses. By the end of 2007, AVS has distributed 70 issues of AVS Updates.
§ Website: AVS has a website (www.avs.org.lb) with over 100 pages of information on volunteerism, AVS programs, affiliated organizations, and links to an extensive list of websites concerned with volunteerism. While most of the website is in English, an increasing number of pages are in Arabic, and we hope, in the future, to have a completely parallel Arabic and English version of the website.
NETWORKING WITHIN LEBANON
§ Affiliated Organizations: AVS has created a network of over 100 affiliated organizations that share an interest in promoting, facilitating, and improving volunteering in Lebanon. These organizations reflect the range of organizations existing in Lebanon in terms of geography, religious and sectarian affiliation, areas of service, and size.
§ National Committee: AVS helped in the establishment of the National Committee on Volunteerism for International Year of Volunteers 2001. AVS subsequently became a member of the Permanent National Committee on Volunteerism established by the Lebanese Council of Ministers under the direction of the Minister of Social Affairs.
§ UNESCO Palace Accessibility Project: In 1999-2000, AVS initiated and coordinated a campaign, in collaboration with different government agencies, businesses, and NGOs, which made the primary government conference and performance center in Lebanon, UNESCO Palace, accessible to the physically disabled.
§ Local Volunteer Center in Saida: In 2007, AVS began a program of consulting and training with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development to help them establish a local volunteer center in Saida.
§ International Conferences: The AVS Director has represented volunteerism in Lebanon at international conferences in the United States (2000), Holland (2001), Korea (2002), Spain (2004), Hong Kong (2005), and India (2006) and has visited volunteer centers and programs to promote volunteering in the US, France, England, Korea, Hungary, Egypt, and the Czech Republic.
§ Global Youth Service Days: AVS has been the National Lead Agency for Global Youth Service Days (GYSD) since 2001.
§ UNV Meetings in Germany: The AVS Director was one of 30 people worldwide selected to participate in meetings at United Nations Volunteer Program headquarters in Bonn, Germany in June 2002 to discuss the results of International Year of Volunteers 2001 and consider ways to continue to promote volunteering worldwide.
§ International Association for Volunteer Effort: AVS has been Lebanon’s National Representative for the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) since 2002.
§ Consultancy in Egypt: The AVS Director traveled to Cairo as a consultant on volunteering in August 2003 at the invitation of Egypt’s National NGOs Center for Population & Development, giving two major presentations on volunteering in Arabic to Egyptian leaders of civil society, education, and government. She returned to Egypt to provide further consulting and training in 2006.
§ Consultancy in Kuwait: In March 2004, the AVS Director traveled to Kuwait at the invitation of Kuwait’s Women’s Cultural & Social Society to give workshops and presentations, and to meet with those involved in promoting volunteering in Kuwait.
§ Intern from Iran: In April and May of 2004, AVS hosted a delegation from the Rahpooyane Saba Institute for Volunteering Development in Iran that came to Lebanon to observe our operations, use our library resources, and meet with us to help them in their efforts to promote volunteering in Iran.
§ Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service: In June-July 2004, the Secretary of the AVS Administrative Board, Ms. Talar Kandoyan, attended the 2004 Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Services organized by The Fund for American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She simultaneously interned at Greater DC Cares, a leading volunteer service center in the DC area.
§ Malaysia: In September 2004, Rana Sanyoura, a member of the AVS Education Committee, visited Yayasan Salam Malaysia, a volunteer center in Selangor, Malaysia. She informed them about our programs, received publications for the AVS library, and gained a better understanding of the possible programs and activities of a national volunteer center.
§ Symposium in Syria: In June 2005, the President and Director of AVS was the main lecturer at “The First Symposium on Promoting Volunteerism Among School Students” organized by Junior Chamber International, Syria and in November she was the speaker at a follow-up training event.
§ GYSD Paris: In 2005, Lebanon also celebrated Global Youth Service Days by sending six youth from to France (four Lebanese and two Palestinians) to participate in the World Tour de France, a GYSD program of AFEV (National Association for Volunteer Students (AFEV), the National Lead Agency for GYSD in France )
§ Arab Federation for Voluntary Activities: In July 2005, Dr. Nabti participated in meetings of the Arab Federation for Voluntary Activities held at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt and represented the Federation at the IAVE conference in Hong Kong in November 2005.
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