Volunteering in LDA

What Our previous volunteers say about doing EVS in Brtonigla:

A.C.T.I.O.N! – Acquisition of Competences to Improve Opportunities Now! (2016-2017)

“I spent in the Local Democracy Agency in Brtonigla 11 months as a volunteer for a project ACTION. Those 11 months gave me a lot in terms of both professional and personal development. The EVS was for me something between Erasmus and a first job, mixing the nice features of both. I had a great opportunity to get to know Croatia from a different perspective not as a typical tourist, also I was able to explore the neighbouring countries of Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Montenegro and see a lot of nice places.

I was very lucky regarding people I shared my time in Croatia with – staff of the LDA Umberto and Eric, my fellow volunteers in the LDA Mattia, Simona and Kimberly, and also other volunteers from other organisations in Croatia. It was an amazing time for me mainly because of the fact that we in Brtonigla were working not as colleagues, but as a big family, including Eric and Umberto.

The EVS in the LDA also gave me a lot in a professional way. I gained an outlook into project management that can be very beneficial for my future career. Also I improved my presentation skills, language skills in English and finally on a third attempt managed not to quit learning Italian. I learned how to make and edit websites, tried how to organise an event for the local people (even though almost noone came), or found out all the options that EU and Erasmus+ gives to young people.

Personally, it was a great school of life. I didn’t just meet a lot of amazing and inspiring people from all around Europe, but also, and not less importantly, learned a lot about myself, my weaknesses and strengths, and also about the good and bad sides of my personality, and found again an inner peace and tranquility. I found new friends from all around Europe and again realised that, even though coming from different countries with different background and life stories, we have much more in common rather than divides us. This is great on projects such as EVS, because it helps to remind us Europeans of the common  identity, need for unity, cooperation and respect to the others, and helps to build bridges rather than walls, which I see as very important, especially nowadays.

Coming for an EVS to Brtonigla was a big step into the unknown for me, but I have a feeling that it brought me into the right place at the right time. Grazie!”

Written by: Michal Vávra

Fighting together against corruption: IRRESISTIBLE? A symposium on the phenomenon of CORRUPTION Berlin, 16 – 18 June 2017

As academic of International Relations it was a duty to participate in the “Irresistible, A Symposium on the phenomenon of corruption” as well as a honour to be chosen as one of the few Italian participants to witness how to the World is currently tackling this persistent social phenomenon, which undoubtedly undermines state economic and political modernisation. In fact, as Italy is currently ranking among the last countries in the world for the externalities caused by corruption it was crucial to gain insights of this persistent issue to learn its origins, the current forms and methods adopted by public institutions to tackle it. Furthermore, as member of the Croatian NGO Local Democracy Agency which strives to develop active citizenship and more inclusive and transparent decisional processes, it was compulsory to take inspiration from and possibly emulate the best practices highlighted by other eastern European countries because of the temporal proximity since the birth of their independent statehood from communism. 

The event organised by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung was held in the DBB forum (Berlin) from the 16.06.2017 to the 18.06.2017 . The occasion represented the eminent opportunity to learn from pivotal international figures and institutions the past, present and future trajectories of corruption. To this extent, the Symposium started with a once in a lifetime throughout excursus by Peter Eigen, who assessed the main externalities occurred in totalitarian and democratic states since the foundation of his internationally recognised NGO: Transparency International. The second day began with a panel concerning the different lenses whereby analysing the phenomenon of corruption to trace its origins and try to forecast possible evolutions. To this extent, academics from highly valued Universities gave insights of respectively anthropological (Davide Torsello, CEU Business School Hungary), statistical (Andreas Baghenhalm, University of Gothenburg Sweden) and historical (Jens Ivo Engels, University Darmstadt Germany) explanations of how culture and society are not root causes of corruption but could be fertile grounds for its sprouting depending on social norms. Panel two dealt with the actors, forms and methods currently adopted to fight state corruption. Hence, figures from public institutions (Anna Dolidze, President’s Parliamentary Secretary from Georgia; Ioan Amariei, National Anti-Corruption Directorate from Roman; Artem Sytnyc, National Anti-Corruption Bureau from Ukraine) and academy (Alena Ledeneva, University College London)  intervened to show how  successful the fight against corruption has been so far in countries which  are generally recognised for being persistently affected by the phenomenon and how the public perception of and trust in state institutions have been evolving accordingly. After the break, the day continued with the Panel “Corruption and Civil Society” where Ryhor Astapenia from NGO Ostrogorski Centre (Belarus) and Vitality Shabunin from the NGO Anti-Corruption Action Centre (Ukraine) described and assessed the role of their national civil society actors in minimising inequalities in resource distribution and what legitimise NGOs in countries with fragile democracies and autocracies. The day ended with guided city tours in historical places of Berlin and with the event held in the Forum Factory Besselstraβe in cooperation with the Goethe Institut (Ukraine) where cultural receptions of political or civic phenomena were proved to be able to unfold a subversive aesthetic power. The following day, the Symposium ended with a further panel highlighting opportunities and challenges for democracies in the fight against corruption with the aim to create models and projects for future implementation. 


In conclusion, I believe that the possibility to attend this conference was a unique opportunity of personal and professional development. In just 3 days I had the chance not only to listen to eminent figures active in the fight against corruption, which allowed me to further my pre-existing knowledge of the phenomenon, but also to share ideas and network with the geographically and professionally diverse community participating in the event. I trust that this experience would enable me to have a positive impact for the private, public and international institutions where I hope to carve out a career able to make the world less biased than unfortunately has been since the beginning of what we consider the modern society. 

I take this chance to renew my greetings for Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung which organised the event. 

Mattia Giubilei
EVS volunteer

S.M.I.L.E. – Social, Multicultural and Inclusive Life in Europe (2015-2016)

My experience in EVS was rewarding for me because I learned Italian, I improved my level in English, I had the chance to teach French for the first time.
I had the opportunity to meet lots of people from all of Europe.
It was interesting to live with people coming from three different cultures. I could see how it’s working in other countries and I had the opportunity to learn more about them.
I know now that I’m able to stay away from my country for long periods of time and without any fears.
Because of my experience, I know that I want to work in Tourism and I would like to keep traveling because there are many places that I want to see.

I recommend to everyone to try EVS. It’s a good way to explore all Europe and to discover new cultures.

Written by: Guillaume Charriere

V.I.S.A. – Volunteering In Small Areas (2013-2014)

Volunteering at the LDA was something of great significance for the ensuing development of my life. It gave me several opportunities to broaden my overall knowledge about other cultures and languages and, in the process,  it helped me to enlarge my international network of friends. Of equal relevance was the fact that I had to work cooperatively with other young foreigners, something that implied the necessity of building a cohesive team. Overall, the EVS was a very formative experience, something that i may define as a groundwork for my future. Our everyday occupations improved my competences in many different areas and sectors. I learnt how to write  European projects, how to organize and manage events, lectures and public debates over a very diverse array of topics (concerning the EU and the related opportunities, but also democratic values and principles, minority rights, gender equality). We also promoted and spread the concept of European active citizenship and we tried to explain the importance of partecipating to democratic processes. Of course it was not easy to deal with such an amount of work and to operate in an environment that was unfamiliar to me, but this was an essential part of the project, something that has made me grow more conscious about my abilities and human qualities.

Written by: Alessio Ghelardini

G.I.L.D. – Get Involved in Local Democracy (2012-2013)

I recall collaborating with LDA-Verteneglio as a mix of most essential experience in my youth – curiosity, excitement and satisfaction; being part and supporting Croatian-Italian community was a very valuable lesson on my path of life. I suppose I’m not alone, right?

LDA has provided a wide range of opportunities and possibilities when it comes to invention, own projects and initiatives. As a group of 4 people from different countries (Poland, Macedonia, Italy, Spain), we were struggling with the typical challenges for European youngsters such as: language barriers, different culture background and in general, the different understanding of our world. 
I’d say that our common – as a group –  achievement was the dialogue, the need to work things out and finally – awareness.
LDA-Verteneglio is an interesting point on the EVS-europe map, open for all, providing any kind of forms of support and what’s most important – making things different.
Written by: Dawid Cierocki

B.R.I.D.G.E. – Building Resources In Democracy and Global Environment for Youth Future (2011-2012)

EVS represented a cornerstone in my life, as it had considerable impact on my personal and professional development.

I was a volunteer in Brtonigla in 2011-2012. I was used to life’s customs, habits and mindset typical of villages, as I come from an little French island call Ouessant, approximately as big as  Brtonigla. This experience started with a significant cultural shock. I moved there few hours after finishing my master degree. At first, I could not speak neither Italian nor Croatian. However, I started working with children in the kindergarten which helped me to learn the language. I think I have never been a good Italian speaker; maybe what I was speaking was more similar to dialect than real Italian.

About my personal development, the people I had the chance to meet there has a considerable positive impact and I will always have a special relationship with Istria and its inhabitants. Sometimes it was hard not being able to move as I wanted, because I didn’t have a driving licence and the car was not available at first, yet this problem was solved and I could enjoy the region by exploring it. Furthermore, I met my wife, Lada, in Istria. She was an EVS volunteer in Buje. Currently we have a son, Alex, who is almost two years old. We can consider him as an Istrian EVS baby.

Professionally speaking, Evs helped me to find my current job. Whilst I was in Istria I decided to become a public officer. After going back to France, I obtained a degree in law and I became a” public finances inspector” (I know, nobody is perfect). The experience of Evs was crucial in my job interview.

In conclusion, EVS was a great experience and I recommend everyone around me to try to get it.

Written by: Laurent Garroy