The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) partners with organisations in South and in Norway to conduct an equal youth sport exchange program. NIF partners with the following organisations:
Sport in Action, Zambia
Zambia Handball Association, Zambia
Response Network, Zambia
National Sport Council, Malawi
Sund folkehøgskole, Norway
Norwegian Rugby Federation, Norway
Western Province Rugby Union, South Africa
2. About the program
NIF has been involved in sports development projects with Southern African countries since 1982. Since 1997 NIF has sent about 300 Norwegian volunteers to Southern African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. The volunteers have worked in these countries supporting different sports development projects and using sports as a tool for development for six months or one year period. We are currently sending Norwegian volunteers to Zambia and Malawi on what we call the North-South exchange. In addition, we send volunteers from Zambia on exchange to Norway. This is called the South-North exchange.
From 2001, Fredskorpset (FK) became the main partner and financier of the Youth Sports Exchange Program (YSEP). They are part of the Norwegian Foreign Department, and give financial support to exchange programs within different fields.
In 2002 NIF started receiving volunteers from the Southern African countries on the South-North exchange. All volunteers work as resource persons in sports clubs, sports federations/associations and schools depending on the needs and the volunteers’ competence. They also share their cultures with the communities they live in and in return learn about the local culture.
The learning aspect of the exchange is equally important as the implementation aspect. They are sent both to contribute and build the organization they work for and for their personal development. The young volunteers are to make use of the exchange period to gain knowledge, competence and experience they can continue developing at home in their sending organization. With this emphasis, we hope the devotement and commitment for sports and community development is long lasting.
At the moment, we have partners in Zambia and South Africa and recently we have also entered into partnership with an organization in Malawi. For the exchange period 2017-2018 we will send Norwegians to Zambia and Malawi on North-South exchange and South Africans and Zambians on a South-North exchange. The period lasts from August to June.
YSEP is funded by Fredskorpset (FK). FK are part of the Norwegian Foreign Department, and give financial support to exchange programs within different fields. See their web page here: http://www.fredskorpset.no/en/
YSEP gets funded through the program run by the department for Civil Society. The funds provided follow the participants and do only cover enough to support the budget lines assigned, such as travel, insurance, visa, food and accommodation and some training. There are no funds for salaries or activities. The support given is the human resource provided by a volunteer and his/her effort over the course of ten months.
The funds covering the costs of the volunteers is transferred from NIF to the partner organization hosting the volunteers. The partner distributes the funds during the exchange period. Each partner is thereafter responsible of providing an audit report to NIF and report on results at the end of each round of exchange. Only one partner in each country can do the audit, so if there is more than one partner in each country, one organization must be the coordinating partner of that country.
4. Who are the volunteers
The volunteers are selected by the sending organization based on some set criterias. They are active youth between 20-30 years old. They have proved themselves skilled as coaches, peer leaders or facilitators in their community, sports club, federation or organization. They must have basic administration and computer skills and master English well both written and orally. Personality is maybe the most important factor. They must be positive, eager to learn, with the wish to contribute and an interest for sports.
They must be allowed to stay away from their chores and responsibilities for the entire ten months, and it is important that the selected candidates are informed well about their role, so they can share this with their family and friends. The participants are not employed nor on a salary, this is a one time opportunity and is 100% voluntary. Being selected does not mean they are professional in their fields and it does not entitle them to further jobs or positions in the host organization or in the sending organization after their return. However, when selecting candidates it is important that the organization looks ahead and identifies youth they want to see return into their structures upon return, and someone who has the potential to prosper through such an opportunity. It is great if the exchange can be a door opener to the participants.
5. What do the volunteers do during the exchange
Volunteers are placed with a host organisation and will work with already existing programs. The volunteer is to be an asset where they best fit in, and a work description should be provided by the host in advance. Once the volunteers gets familiar with the organisation and its operations the work plan can be adjusted accordingly.
The volunteer is to work full time and be treated as any other employee in the organisation. As many sport organisations have events during weekends it is also expected that the volunteer works on weekends.
A volunteer can have many different tasks and roles, such as:
Facilitator in workshops
Assist with reports and administration
P.E. in schools
Conduct sport sessions
Report to host organisation and NIF according to agreed dates and templates
The volunteers stay in local host families identified by the host organisation. This is the best way to learn about culture and to be close to work and the community. In the household the volunteer is entitled to their own room and three meals a day, but should otherwise be treated as any other family member. They take part in family meals, events, celebrations etc. The support a local host family can give the volunteer is also important to ensure the emotional health and well being of the volunteer. The host family should communicate well with both the volunteer and the the volunteers coordinator.
The volunteer will have their own pocket money and be responsible for any costs not related to their free time outside of the house. The volunteer might be involved as a player for a local sports team, go out with friends or do other activities. This should be discussed with the host family so they always know where the volunteer is, and when he/she is expected back home. Expoloring and getting to know people is an important part of the cultural exchange.
6. What responsibility lies with the host organization
The host organization is responsible for the following:
Create a work plan for incoming volunteers
Find host family for incoming volunteers
Follow up with the volunteer throughout the exchange period
Plan, host and implement training moments and evaluations
Report to NIF
Facilitate the visa applications for incoming volunteers
7. What responsibility lies with the sending organization
Together with the volunteer identify working areas the volunteers should improve on during exchange
Follow up with the volunteers after the return
Provide NIF with all documents necessary for visa applications needed
Prepare the volunteers for departure
8. What responsibility lies with NIF
Apply for funds from Fredskorpset for the exchange
Propose a plan for who sends and receives
Report to FK
Financial follow up
Develop reporting tempaltes together with partners
Plan and conduct partner meetings
9. Contact information
NIF has the overall responsibility of the YSEP and should be contacted if there are any deviations:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com