KVT’s Volunteer Weekend 2024 – Sign up now!

Hi KVT’s volunteer, alumni, partner, or a young person interested in volunteering, peace and/or climate matters,

Here is something to mark in your calendar: KVT’s annual volunteer weekend is coming again on October 4th-6th, this time in the midst of the beautiful nature of Aulanko in Hämeenlinna! The event will start on Friday evening and end in the afternoon on Sunday.

The theme of this year’s volunteer weekend is climate justice. Join us for a weekend full of exciting program from evaluation of this year’s projects to discussions and workshops on topics such as peace work and climate justice, and storytelling as a tool for climate activism. We will also get to hear tips for sustainable travel and for processing difficult emotions evoked by climate change and other global crises of our time. You will also have a chance to enjoy rantasauna, forest walks and, of course, good food and company!

Leirikeskus järven rannalla
Kuva: Evon Luonto Oy

Registration for the event is free and participants will be provided with either bus transportation (from the capital area) or reimbursement for their travel expenses (more details to come later). The ride from Hämeenlinna onwards will be organized in either case.

Registration is now open, so reserve your spot by filling out the registration form by September 27th!  

If you need to cancel, we kindly request you to do that before the registration ends to avoid a 25 € cancellation fee (excluding unexpected incidents of sickness or injury).

All KVT’s members are welcome to join the weekend; if you are not yet a member or have not yet paid this year’s membership fee, you can do that at any time before the event. 

If you would like to help with practical arrangements of the event (kitchen help, workshop facilitation, evening program..), feel free to contact Anni ().

Hope to see you in Aulanko in October!

Training for volunteers going to long-term projects or camps in the Global South Sat 24.8. in Helsinki

Build solidarity in the world? Gain experiences that carry through life? Learn new skills for the future? All these are a part of international voluntary work!

All volunteers planning to apply to voluntary workcamps in the Global South or long-term volunteering projects of 1-12 months are expected to participate in KVT’s training. Anyone who is planning to do a volunteering project during the year 2024 or 2025 is welcome to sign up, you don’t need to know the exact project yet. The next training will take place on Saturday 24th August 2024 from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

The training will be in Helsinki (the exact location will be announced later). The training day consists of getting to know KVT, learning about different aspects of volunteering abroad, practical arrangements, responsibility and the purpose of volunteering. You will also meet other people who are in the process of preparing for their volunteer experience. All participants are expected to actively take part in the activities and discussions during the day. The trainers will be experienced KVT volunteers, who have themselves also volunteered in different parts of the world.

We will offer breakfast and lunch during the training for a small participation fee.

Before the training day you will first go through an online module. This can be done at everyone’s own pace and it will take approximately 2 hours in total. Bear this in mind when planning your schedules! More information will be sent to you with invitation to the training day.

Sign up to the training by Wednesday 21st August by sending email to . In the email tell us where and how long you are hoping to go in your volunteer project. More detailed info and info for the online module will be send to everyone two weeks before the training. All participants must have their KVT membership paid by the day of the training.

Welcome!

KVT office on holidays during Christmas and New Year

As the year is coming to and end KVT office will also take a break, enjoy Christmas time and get ready for the coming year.

KVT office will be closed from 22.12.2023 to 7.1.2024. We will be back at work on 8.1.2024.

Many thanks for all the active volunteers, KVT members, camp leaders, camp hosts and other partners for your cooperation! Happy Holidays, see you next year!

KVT’s annual Fall meeting on Tue 28th November at Peace Station

Kansainvälinen vapaaehtoistyö ry will have the annual Fall meeting on Tuesday 28th of November at 5:30pm at Peace Station (Veturitori 3) in Helsinki.

The Fall meeting will cover issues according to our rules, such as annual activity plan and budget plan for 2024 and choosing the chair and board members for 2024. Read more about the board member applications.

The annual meeting is open to all, but only members of KVT can vote. Please make sure you are a member before the meeting. Invitations will be sent to members directly, so if you have any doubts, make sure your contact details are updated too.

KVT signs umbrella organization SCI’s statement for peace in Gaza

We follow with sadness the escalation of violence between Palestine and Israel. Our hearts go out to all families and individuals who have suffered losses. We condemn Hamas’ attacks on Israel and its civilians, just as we condemn Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians. Violence against civilians is never acceptable.

We also want to highlight the decades-long roots of the conflict, in which Israel has occupied and controlled Palestinian areas and violated international agreements and Palestinians human rights. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not a conflict between two equal parties.

We therefore call:

  • upon the Israeli authorities to reach an immediate ceasefire and urgently allow humanitarian support for Gaza, including restoring water, fuel and electricity.
  • upon Hamas to stop the indiscriminate attacks towards unarmed civilians.
  • upon the international community to take the necessary responsibility and put strong pressure on the Israeli government to reach an immediate ceasefire and urgently allow humanitarian support for Gaza.
  • upon all parties to start a genuine peace process.
  • for civil society organisations and governments all over the world to speak out strongly against all forms of racism and antisemitism.

As peace organizations, we stand for non-violence and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Peace does not come overnight, but it requires continuous and active work and people dedicated to peace work. However, the first step must be to end the destruction and violence, end the occupation and ensure fair treatment for the Palestinians.

Read the full statement on the website of our umbrella organization Service Civil International (SCI).

This week we also celebrate International Disarmament Week. As the UN Secretary General has stated, “…disarmament and arms control have played a critical role in preventing and ending crises and armed conflict. Heightened tensions and dangers are better resolved through serious political dialogue and negotiation—not by more arms.”

The Peace Union of Finland has put together some tips on how you can help (in Finnish) through peaceful means and support the Palestinians in Gaza.

Applications open for camp hosts

Do you know a task that needs some helping hands to get done?

A village house in need of painting, an outdoor area in need of tidying up, a local event without enough organizers or program… Or maybe an online project in need of help or collectors for background info and resources?

Become a host for an international voluntary workcamp or share the info to a friend! KVT is looking for camp hosts for 2024!

KVT organizes about 10 international voluntary workcamps in Finland every year, which support the activities of various non-profit organizations. Volunteers arriving through KVT might work on organic fields, play with children, help with the renovation of common areas and the restoration of traditional landscapes, as well as with the organization of cultural events and all kinds of other work as needed.

What is a voluntary workcamp?

  • Camp consists of 6-16 volunteers from Finland and abroad and 1-2 volunteer camp leaders
  • Camp lasts from 10 days to 3 weeks
  • Work at the camp is simple enough so that volunteers don’t need any special skills
  • Camp host has to be a non-profit community, e.g. an NGO, educational establishment, public institution, cooperative or a congregation
  • Camp host offers volunteers food, accommodation, working instructions and tools
  • Most camps are organized in the summer when people have holidays, but a camp can be organized in other times of the year too
  • KVT will recruit volunteers and camp leaders and support the camp organization if needed

How does a virtual workcamp differ from a traditional workcamp?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic our international network started to develop online/virtual workcamps in 2020 to enable volunteer projects also when people can’t travel.

The duration of a virtual workcamp can be shorter, for example 5-7 days, and the camp host only provides work instructions and the necessary programs for the work. No food and accommodation. In a virtual camp volunteers meet and work mainly online.

ihmisiä pukemassa linnunpelättejä

Why should I host a voluntary workcamp?

A camp is a great way to get work done, when it is difficult to find suitable time and enough people to get it done alone. With the help of the camp, you will also gain visibility for the activities of your organization, spread your knowledge and inspire new people to work within the theme of the camp.

At their best, camps bring a lively and energetic atmosphere to local communities and create multicultural encounters in smaller places. If your association or community is lacking some helpful hands, don’t hesitate to contact us!

What does the camp cost to the camp host?

Camp hosts pay KVT’s community fee, which is 220€ in 2024.

In addition on traditional workcamps the camp host is responsible for providing food and accommodation to the volunteers. For a camp that lasts 10 days and has 10 volunteers, the food budget could be around 1500€. Virtual workcamps don’t generate food or accommodation costs for the host, so the organization is likely to be cheaper. Other costs at a camp can come from tools needed for the work, transportation to get to the work site etc.

KVT will take care of the training for camp leaders and provide insurance to all volunteers who come through KVT. Volunteers take care of their own travels as long as public transport is available.

What kind of camps have been organized previously?

Yle’s video about Äijälä family home camp (in Finnish)

Video of Mankila camp 2017

Collection of videos from camps of 2016

Video of Tavastkenkä camp

KVT’s blog also has some stories from previous camp hosts in Finnish (e.g. Porvoo, Mäntsälä, Veneskoski, Forssa). 

Are you interested?

Fill out the preliminary questionnaire for traditional workcamps (in Finnish) or for virtual workcamps (in Finnish). If you need help with filling the form, please contact us! You can also fill it in English. We have a camp host guide in Finnish also, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about organizing a voluntary workcamp. You can reach us at for any camp related questions.

ihmisiä hiomassa Rauhanaseman tuoleja

Volunteer opportunities in Finland outside the camp season: join KVT’s working groups!

Working groups have an important role in keeping KVT’s core activities going, for example by coordinating long-term volunteering exchanges and workcamp activities in Finland. Working groups are also a great opportunity to learn more about KVT’s work outside the workcamp season and about the field of international voluntary work in general. At the moment we are looking for new members to two active working groups:

Koordis

Ihmisiä pöydän ääressä. Pöydällä paperilappuja, joissa tekstiä.

Koordis is the coordination group for KVT’s international voluntary workcamps in Finland. Koordis searches and keeps up contact with our local camp hosts, recruits and trains camp coordinators, visits the camps during summer time and evaluates the camp season. In Koordis you get a chance to have your impact on what kind of camps KVT organizes and to participate in shaping the camp experience of our volunteers and camp hosts. If you got interested or would like to know more, please contact our volunteer and exchange coordinator Gweal Monykuany:

Pave

Pave is the coordination group for KVT’s long-term volunteer exchange (in Finnish ‘pitkäaikaisvapaaehtoisvaihto’, hence the name). Pave group consists entirely of volunteers and its tasks include processing applications for long-term volunteering projects, interviewing and training our outgoing volunteers, collecting feedback from returning volunteers and keeping up contact with our partner organizations abroad. If you have some existing experience or knowledge of long-term volunteering and are interested in joining the group, feel free to reach out to Anni Lamponen ().

Social media and working group for equity issues

In addition to these two working groups, we are looking for new volunteers with at least some existing knowledge of KVT’s work to join our social media group. Volunteers in the group take care of updating content on KVT’s social media channels (Facebook, Instagram) in one-week shifts according to predefined themes. For more information, please contact Hanna Rask: . Also: if you have a new idea that you would like to make become reality in KVT’s communications, we are more than happy to hear about that!

KVT has also had a separate working group for advancing equity in our work and improving accessibility of our activities to volunteers of diverse backgrounds. In the past the equity working group has, among other things, helped with communicating about KVT’s workcamp opportunities in Finland to asylum seekers and immigrants. The group has been inactive for a while, but we hope to restart it in the near future – if you would like to be part of that, feel free to contact Hanna (see email above) for more information!

Join KVT’s board for 2024!

Would you like to get to know how a small NGO operates? Do you wish to have a greater impact on what KVT is doing? Join our board for 2024!

KVT has worked for peace through grass-root level voluntary work already for more than 70 years. On our voluntary workcamps we bring together people from different backgrounds to contribute to a common cause and to learn from each other, which we believe helps to create understanding and combat harmful stereotypes and prejudice. This grass-root level peace work is based on ideas of cooperation, equity and promoting of active citizenship.

KVT’s work is planned and coordinated by our board that consists of 10 to 12 active volunteers. As a board member, you will learn about KVT’s activities and peace work on both local and international level, get experience of how a board of a small organization operates, and get to do meaningful voluntary work in inspiring company. In addition to ‘traditional’ board activities, you will also get to participate in different events, trainings and seminars.

The board meets about once a month, either in person or online depending on the board members’ preferences. It is also possible to attend the in-person meetings online if needed.

The board is open to people with all levels of NGO experience; whether you have years of experience in different NGOs or are just beginning to learn about the field, you are welcome as you are. Tasks are divided among board members according to everybody’s own interests, and you don’t need to know everything beforehand. The most important that you are interested in having your impact on KVT’s work, share our values and are ready to commit to be an active part of the board.

If you are interested or would like to know more, please contact the chair person Hanna Rask () to provide a short introduction of yourself, of how well you know KVT and why you would like to join the board. The new board members will be elected in our annual meeting on Tuesday, November 28th.

Are you already familiar with KVT and board work, and into broadening your experience of both?

We are also looking for a chair person and two vice chairs for 2024! Some of the tasks of the chairs are chairing of board meetings, preparing the meetings together with the executive director, representing the board as an employer, coordination of the annual plan of action and annual report, and closer follow-up of KVT’s finances together with the executive director. The chair person will be elected in the same annual meeting on November 28th, and the new board will select the vice chairs at the beginning of the year. Contact Hanna for more details!

Join KVT Volunteer Weekend on September 30th and October 1st!

Ohoy KVT volunteers and supporters! 

Did you do a workcamp or long-term project during the summer? Are you a former KVT activist and would like to find yourself back in the beloved KVT community? Are your friends and family sick and tired of listening to your stories about your volunteering project? Or are you interested about international voluntary work? Worry not, KVT’s legendary Volunteer Weekend is here again!

What’s to come is two days of awesome program, chilling in great company and, of course, wonderful food! Whether you already know us or are a new volunteer, all are welcome.

Come meet old friends and get to know new ones!

What?

A two-day community event at the Peace Station in Helsinki: with the aim of getting to know KVT, other volunteers and share experiences about volunteering and peace work in Finland and abroad. On Saturday we will visit the Ukrainian aid center, evaluate last year’s projects and learn more about non-violent communication.

On Sunday well spend time in nature and then come back to the Peace Station to hang out and make some button pins for ourselves and for KVT fundraising. You can attend one day only or come for the whole weekend!

If you come farther away and you need a place to sleep in, please let us know in the registration form and we’ll see if we can arrange a couch to sleep on.

For whom?

For KVT members, alumni, volunteers and everyone interested in KVT activities. You are welcome to join us whether you have only just gotten to know us or have been active for a while – or even if it has been some time since you last saw us.

Where and when?

Saturday-Sunday September 30th-October 1st
Rauhanasema (Peace Station)
Veturitori 3
00520 Helsinki

Program (changes possible)

Saturday September 30th

Breakfast 9:30, 10:00 onwards the program starts

  • Evaluation of past year’s projects in small groups
  • Visit to the Ukraine aid center in Vallila
  • Lunch
  • Volunteer experiences from near and far – come join our activities!
  • Nonviolent Communication workshop

Starting from around 18.00 chilling and hanging out, possibility to watch a documentary, sauna, etc.

Sunday October 1st

around 11.00-14.00  

  • nature trip in Viikki and picnic (possibly birdwatching, at least partly potluck lunch, time to be confirmed)

around 14.00-16.00 

  • hanging out and making button pins at the Peace Station

Sign up

Sign up to the Volunteer weekend at the latest on September 25th 2023 through this form

Tell us whether you’ll join us for one or two days and if you need a place to sleep in. It’s possible to being donations to the Ukraine aid center – we’ll let you know what might be needed later.

See you soon!


Voluntary workcamps in Finland

Voluntary workcamp is a possibility to get to know Finland from a new perspective, meet new people and participate in the activities of a local community. You don’t always need to travel far to gain unforgettable experiences and learn something new. You can check the camp descriptions for workcamps organized in Finland from our webpages.

There are three ways to participate in a workcamp in Finland as a national volunteer: apply for camp leader position, join with the reduced camp fee as a national volunteer or apply for our supported camp places. Read more about applying as a camp leader. Below you can read more about how to participate as a national volunteer with reduced camp fee or supported places to Finnish workcamps. For more information and questions you can contact out office (). All camps offer accommodation and food for the volunteers.

National volunteer with reduced camp fee

You can apply to the Finnish camps the same way you would apply to a camp abroad in the camp database: register to the database, search for camps in Finland, fill your application and make the payment to KVT. When you participate in a Finnish camp as a resident in Finland, you don’t pay the normal camp coordination fee, but a decreased fee of 60€ and the KVT membership fee. You can read more about voluntary workcamps and applications or how to become a KVT member. You will also organize your own travels to the camp. Anyone minimum 18-years old are able to apply as volunteers to camps in Finland.

National volunteer with supported camp places

KVT offers some free places on our workcamps to immigrants with fewer opportunities. The supported camp places are offered to e.g. asylym seekers and youth with immgirant background, who couldn’t participate otherwise (e.g. no work or study place, no own networks to get to know Finland). A supported camp place means that the volunteer doesn’t pay camp coordination fee and KVT membership is free. KVT also covers the cost of travel tickets to the camp. More info and application instructions are here.

vapaaehtoinen työntää toista kottikärryissä