International Event in Malta - November 2021

Genista Research Foundation hosted the fifth ERAS project international partner event. The event was held in Gharb on the island of Gozo, Malta between 25 and 27 November 2021. 

Genista Research Foundation hosted the fifth international partner event. The event was held between 25 and 27 November 2021, in Gharb on the island of Gozo, Malta. The fifth international event was attended by partners from Croatia, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia as well as local participants from the island of Gozo and was aimed at learning about good practices in the field of building social inclusion through voluntary activities and cultural events. At the event, participants learned about numerous good practices from Gozo, all of which were oriented to serving the local community and the organisation of events by volunteers.

The event started with the introductory meeting where participants introduced themselves and their organisation, followed by a tour of the voluntary organisation Ghaqda Banda Vizitazzjoni Gharb. Ghaqda Banda Vizitazzjoni Gharb is a local NGO, a band, formed in 2003. Participants learned about their good practices and voluntary activities. Ghaqda Banda Vizitazzjoni Gharb provides free music lessons for brass instruments provided by qualified musicians. Throughout the year they organise various band marches and concerts for free in their local community and abroad. The highlight of their work is the organisation of the annual event - Opera in the square. The Opera in the square is organised in conjunction with other NGOs and their volunteers and the local council.

The Opera in the square is an important event for the local community in Gharb as it focuses on the involvement of the local people as a way of promoting active citizenship and building social inclusion through voluntary activities and cultural events. The participants of the fifth international event had the opportunity to attend the Opera in the square and see first-hand how such events can be implemented with the help of volunteers and how they benefit local communities. The Opera in the square is produced by a mix of professionals and new beginners as the professional opera singers and music maestros give the opportunity to local youth and others to learn and have an active part in the production of the opera. The annual event is attended by an audience of approximately 200 people including the Minister of Gozo, members of parliament, high church officials, regional council councillors, local councillors, various directors from the culture ministry, local government and other elected officials.

While in Gozo participants also met with the Mayor of Gharb, Mr David Apap, to discuss the role of the Municipality in the development of volunteering. While at the meeting they also discussed the initiatives taken to foster volunteering, how the council assists VOs and the collaboration network between the municipality and Voluntary Organizations (VOs) in Gharb. Participants learned that The Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector ensures that VOs are informed of all opportunities that may benefit them. There is a dedicated page that brings together all the relevant funding opportunities for VOs, including local, European and Third Country Opportunities. The page serves a dual purpose, to inform of funding opportunities for VOs and funding results.

The event was concluded with a workshop titled Knowledge of European programs and opportunities and sharing of good practices. At the workshop, the participants got an overview of the various opportunities available for collaboration, through various funding opportunities and how we as partners could further work together to further strengthen our networking, building synergies together through identifying new projects and using our strengths as a network to jointly produce new projects. Participants visited the workshop of Ghaqda armar Gharb where representatives shared good practices done by this volunteer group from Gharb. Ghaqda armar Gharb focuses on building replicas of traditional designs which are mostly used during the annual traditional Festa and also voluntarily restores art pieces that are displayed in the locality, the participants later visited a chapel to see the traditional style stained glass art pieces they produced.

The last site visit was to the Ta’Dbiegi Crafts village which now houses various crafts workshops working on pottery, glass, filigree, lace and metal. The participants got to know how the municipality applied for funding to organise traditional crafts lessons, where master craftsmen mostly old village people provided free tutorials to the younger generation to learn the crafts. This was followed by restoring an old army barracks area which were turned into small workshops. Now the trainees have opened their own business initiatives on the crafts learned and this traditional crafts centre has become a top tourist destination.

Participants left Malta full of pleasant impressions and with a bunch of good practices that they want to share with others and transfer some of them to their local environment. This is also the purpose of the Europe for Citizens program, to learn about the practices of other European cities and to connect in common themes.

Follow the Facebook page of the ERAS project, where we will share with you volunteer stories and good practices from other European countries.



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