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GLOBE Students and Teachers Explore How to Volunteer for Change

Over 70 GLOBE students and 50 teachers took part in the Volunteers for Change Workshop held at the Shaikh Khalifa Institute for Technology in March 2006. The three-day workshop proved to be a very rewarding experience for all involved and included lectures in English and Arabic on voluntary work, development of community service projects, how to organize volunteers, and a variety of activities and discussions. This workshop brought together, for the first time in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a number of youths and organizations with a vested interest in volunteerism. They were able to share ideas and build mechanisms to promote local volunteerism. Objectives of the workshop included:

  • Clarifying the context and the role of volunteerism in Bahrain;
  • Mobilizing young volunteers and resources to promote shared community values;
  • Creating the mechanisms to facilitate involvement in volunteerism;
  • Enhancing the capacities of youth in community service.

Several local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were represented at the workshop.

  1. Injaz Bahrain, a non-profit organization aimed at educating and inspiring young people to develop their skills and meet market expectations.
  2. UCO Parents Care Center for retired and elderly people.
  3. National Institute for Disabled.
  4. The Orphans & Widows Sponsorship Committee.

The presentations and activities provided a wide range of benefits for volunteers, including the opportunity to develop and enhance skills that are essential for personal and professional development. It also provided excellent networking opportunities for youths to become more productive members of their communities.

The workshop provided excellent opportunities for youth to become more productive members of their communities.

While having fun, students learned about NGOs, volunteerism, strategic planning and teamwork, and ways to initiate, fund and execute projects. Salman Al-Hammadi, a GLOBE Student said, "this workshop developed our sense of responsibility and belonging to our society." Marwa Al-Eskafi, another GLOBE student added that "this workshop opened my eyes to the various ways in which I can serve my community."The Near East Regional GLOBE Program, operating within the Bahrain Ministry of Education and the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy, organized the event. Dr. Russell Cargo, Co-Director at Institute for Governance and Accountabilities, Virginia Tech, USA and Sawsan Abu Fakherddine, Program Coordinator at AFDC in Lebanon conducted the workshop. In addition, Dr. Saeed Al-Alawi, a Chemistry Professor at the University of Bahrain, conducted a mini workshop on Green Chemistry. Workshop facilitators included GLOBE Bahrain & Regional Coordinator and VFC Bahrain Coordinator Zakeya Ahmed Ali Zada, Siddiqa Abbas, Wafa Bin Dayna, Salaman Bucheeri, Shaikha Bu Ali, Sara Abulfateh, Marwa Al-Eskafi, and Yousif Al-Mahameed.

If students were impressed and inspired by what they had learned, the trainers were even more impressed with the students. Dr. Russ Cargo stated "I thought I was addressing senior university students rather than high school students." Sawsan expressed, "I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of the contributions from the participants and their dynamism that permeated every single session of the workshop."

GLOBE in Bahrain would like to convey their sincerest appreciation first to the Minister of Education, Dr. Majid Bin Ali Al-Nouaimi, for having agreed to host the workshop and for providing all facilities, and second to the U.S. Embassy in the Kingdom of Bahrain for their on-going support of the GLOBE Program activities occurring in the region. In addition, thanks are extended to Dr. Russell Cargo and Sawsan Abu Fakherddine whose untiring efforts played an important part in ensuring the ultimate success of the event, and to Charlie Kellett, Program Officer, Office of International Visitors - U.S. Department of State for recommending Dr. Cargo, and to the Shaikh Khalifa Institute administration where with workshop took place. Lastly, a special thank you to the participants and to the Volunteers for Change staff who continue to be an inspiration to all of us and whose contributions allowed this workshop to take place.

The challenge is now for volunteers themselves to move ahead and make the real difference!

13 June 2006