In 2008, HasNa played a significant role in the implementation of the Volunteer Network Project in Cyprus, a two-year project funded by UNDP-ACT and sponsored by the UN, which aimed to foster cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The Volunteer Network Project was implemented by The Management Centre, The NGO Support Centre and HasNa. The project aims to build local and international networks among organizations in Cyprus that work with volunteers. Volunteerism is an essential part of an prosperous and engaged civil society.
By promoting volunteerism in Cyprus, the Volunteer Network Project gathered the skills Cypriots already possess into a powerful force capable of accomplishing real change and improvement. Such island-wide cooperation has encouraged more individuals to invest in the peaceful development of their communities and to establish new relationships with one another based on common interest.
Crucial to the project’s success is the establishment of a strong infrastructure that is capable of effectively promoting, supporting and celebrating organized forms of volunteer action. In order to accomplish this, HasNa joined the efforts of the Volunteer Network Project and conducted a two-week training program in Washington, DC. The training program hosted two project coordinators participating in the Volunteer Network Project. One of the project coordinators was from The Management Centre located in North Cyprus and the other was from the NGO Support Centre in the South.
After receiving two days of conflict resolution training, the project coordinators visited several organizations in the Washington, DC area that work on women’s, youth, health and environmental issues. These visits provide the project coordinators with techniques for how to recruit, supervise, motivate and train volunteers that can be utilized to enhance volunteer action on Cyprus.
The participants visited with organizations including:
- Kids Power DC
- Experience Corps
- Sasha Bruce Youthwork
- Reston Interfaith
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Iona Senior Services
- Horton's Kids
- Doorways for Women and Families
- N Street Village
- American Diabetes Association
The participants also learned how to engage the nonworking sector (i.e., students, housewives, the unemployed, the retired) in volunteerism to further strengthen the volunteer infrastructure on Cyprus. The information and training gathered during these visits has been compiled into a brochure that will be used by similar organizations in Cyprus so that they may develop their own volunteer programs.