PODGORICA – Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović participated in the panel discussion ”Re-thinking of solidarity and volunteerism” which was organized on the occasion of the International Volunteer Day by the Association for Democratic Prosperity – ZID. The event took place in Montenegro, on 16 December.
The discussions were focused on the importance of volunteering and the need for more platforms where ideas and experiences on the development of volunteerism in Montenegro and the region can thrive. In addition, the panelists also spoke of the importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences on thematic areas such as the reaffirmation of solidarity and volunteerism within the “new-normal” and the promotion of volunteering in the community.
Mr Koljenović took the opportunity to introduce RYCO’s work on regional volunteerism and present the ROUTE WB6 Project, which will strengthen the existing volunteering practices and regulations in the Western Balkans.
From the perspective of RYCO, this endeavour is not coincidental and its importance lies on the need for more volunteering practices that can effectively tackle existing problems in the region.
“This program, alongside intercultural exchanges, contributes to RYCO’s mission, and helps in connecting youth which belong to different ethnic, religious and national groups. They strengthen their skills and capacities, and become immune to divisive narratives that are still present in our region,” Mr Koljenović stated.
The panel discussion was attended by representatives of ministries and relevant public institutions in Montenegro, prominent organizations, high schools and individuals who work on community development through activism and volunteerism.
In recognition of key contributions to volunteerism in Montenegro, the event also featured volunteerism awards, which were presented for two categories: Volunteer of the Year Award and Annual Volunteerism Award. These awards are designated for individual, civil society organizations, companies, media houses or institutions that contribute to the development of volunteerism in Montenegro. This year, the Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Mr Milo Joko Radović, whereas the Annual Volunteerism Award to the Bajkeri dobre volje Foundation in Montenegro.
To support and enhance regional volunteerism, RYCO and six partners from the Western Balkans, with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are implementing the ROUTE WB6 project. This project aims to improve the volunteering infrastructure, develop a regional volunteering program, and promote volunteering as a means to achieving peace and reconciliation in the Western Balkans.