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EUROPEAN CIVIL PROTECTION AND HUMANITARIAN AID OPERATIONS
Diego in Saint Vincent
Stories from the field

Diego, EU Aid Volunteers in Saint Vincent

GVC - Gruppo di Volontariato Civile
Organisation
GVC - Gruppo di Volontariato Civile
About the Project
EU Aid Volunteers in action is a 24-month project strengthening the European Union’s capacity in humanitarian operations and strengthening capacities of sending and hosting organizations. It is run by two European NGOs, Gruppo di Volontariato Civile and Alianza por la Solidaridad and 13 third-countries organizations, with the support of one associate from the University of Bologna. The project aims at involving European citizens in Humanitarian Aid operations through the deployment of 38 EU Volunteers (20 juniors and 18 seniors) in 8 countries: Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, St Vincent and Grenadines, at strengthening the capacities and humanitarian response of 11 hosting organizations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries and Central America-Caribbean and training 220 local Civil Society Organisations on the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative.

I arrived to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), a country in the southern part of the Caribbean, with four other European Union Aid Volunteers (EUAV) at the beginning of November 2017. The project is based at the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), a different kind of school – as they like to call themselves. It is a community that strives to make a positive impact in the region by leading by example and by carrying out specific environmental actions.

As members of the community, we complete many tasks together and also arrange social gatherings and activities of various sorts. We take care of the organic garden, we clean, we maintain the premises, we cook, we prepare birthdays, etc. We work together for the common good.

The objective of the project is to build organic home gardens, based in the principles of permaculture, for single women. I worked with three other volunteers in the backyard of Clio, a single woman of 32 years old with two kids who works in her family nutmeg farm. Her garden was initially unused and dirty.

It took us around a month and a half to finish the garden. We received help from Clio, her children and neighbours, the local permaculture expert, a visiting permaculture professor, previous volunteers and our project manager, who worked 24/7 to ensure all the logistics were functional and the decisions taken appropriate. It was hard work and extremely rewarding. Clio is now proud of her garden and her family as well as neighbours are somehow jealous, in a good way obviously. I have been stopped several times on the street by people who want us to start a garden in their backyard.

 

We work together for the common good!
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