Barcelona, London, Lisbon, Padua, Košice, Arhus, Sligo, and in 2021 Berlin. They all hold the title of European Volunteering Capital. They all celebrated the many committed citizens. The title "European Volunteering Capital" - awarded by the Brussels-based NGO CEV - European Volunteering Centre -was taken over by Berlin from Padua on 5 December, 2020.
However, the European Volunteering Capital is not just a title: it is about honoring voluntary work and making visible and further developing the interlinking of commitment, politics, administration andbusiness. Furthermore, part of the concept is to strengthen partnerships between cities participating in the competition and to use the potential of transnational engagement.
For the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, Berlin stood and stands for freedom, tolerance, and solidarity.The foundations for the stability of our democratic values are an active, critical and defensible civil society and a policy that supports it. Especially, in pst difficult times, the great willingness of citizens to help proved once again that volunteering is fundamental for social cohesion. The activities within the framework of the European Volunteering Capital were guided by these thoughts.
In consultation with representatives of Berlin's civil society, which met in the form of a so-called steering committee, the project office - a tandem of Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa and betterplace lab - had defined four topical focuses:
From Arbeiterwohlfahrt to Afrikamera, from Fairteiler to the fire department, from urban gardening to underwater ballet - Berlin's volunteerism is impressively diverse.
In 2020, no one was able to avoid digitization. It is important to build on the enormous push for innovation and experimentation and to give space to projects that use the potential of digital in the spirit of a society based on solidarity.
#EntdeckeDasWirInDir - What happened in concrete terms?
On February 18, 2021, the campaign year kicked off with a festive opening ceremony, accompanied by a social media campaign under the slogan #EntdeckeDasWirInDir. Committed people showed their faces and related their actions to the bigger picture. During the campaign year, their faces and voices appeared in publications, radio and TV reports, on billboards and, last but not least, here on a website specially designed for the campaign year to showcase the diversity of volunteering in Berlin and inspire more people to get involved.
This website gathers information on all activities that took place during the campaign year 2021: existing formats of networking and further education were further disseminated and new forms of exchange were created via discussion events, action fields, campaigns and awards. In spring 2021, our activities kicked off with the first action field, Mental Health. Over the course of the year, other fields of action followed:
There were many different events throughout the campaign year. They were organized not only by the project office, but also by partners and various Berlin organizations. The basis of all activities was the fundamental idea that civic engagement strengthens our coexistence and the stability of democratic values. The necessary promotion of engagement and democracy in Berlin was presented to a supra-regional and international audience and discussed and further developed with supra-regional actors. In the fall of 2021, an international study visit took place in Berlin. What began with a ceremonial act came to an end in December 2021 with a festive Closing Ceremony. Berlin also passed the baton to the next Volunteering Capital 2022: Gdańsk in Poland.