In our association, members’ desires are the starting point of our activities: their curiosity to be informed (for example via conference-debates), to be trained (via preparation for departure), to exchange (as during meetings between old and new volunteers, through collective writing of guidebooks or files, during thematic evenings), to set up collective actions (host worksites, retreat weekends and festive activities), to exert influence on society (political lobbying), etc. Our actions are representative of our association and its members: tremendously diversified and dynamic behavior.
Our projects and activities aren’t seen as passive consumption services but as projects to be built together, before, during and after. Each volunteer is invited to take part in the life of the association: simple participant in a workcamp, animator of projects, member of the staff, themed group, general assembly or administrator.
Since its creation, the SVI has gradually succeeded in bringing together young volunteers, involved at various levels: full membership of the General Assembly, Executive Board (2/3 of the directors should be less than 35 years old), thematic groups or occasional volunteers within the same association. Without these volunteers, it would be impossible for the association to make its projects real.
The organizational structure is open, easing a participatory democracy. Our role isn’t to lead or to condition volunteers but to give support and help them acting collectively. The SVI lets anyone find its proper place, take initiatives by stimulating teamwork. The act of carrying out its mission for a young association gives the opportunity to get involved in a more active and critical way of life, a possibility to awake and stimulate curiosity with the aim of becoming more responsible, active, discerning and supportive citizens (Citizens Responsible Active Critic Supportive).
Structure of the SVI
The SVI is composed of:
- A General Assembly
All our members whose contributions are in order can join the General Assembly, occurring 2times a year, at least. The G.A. is the decision-making body of the association.
- Board of directors (Administration)
This Executive Board is elected by the General Assembly. The role of the administrators is to come to fruition the decisions voted by the G.A.
It’s also in charge of the accounting management within the association and the coordination of staff and local volunteers.
They represent the heart of the SVI. Without their time spent for the association (from some hours per week to few months), it couldn’t work. They work by thematic groups or in pairs with a permanent staff.
- Permanent staff
As a youth association handled by and for young persons, the staff does not lead volunteers but it helps coordination, in order to achieve SVI’s goals. The volunteers hold onto the helm, otherwise it would be an empty shell. Today, the SVI employs 4 permanent in Belgium, one in France (CUI CAE), one educational support for the preparation to departures weekends, 3 civic services, supported by interns and volunteers all year long.