Thursday, May 15, 2008

Conference Schedule and Agenda

After email/weblog consultation with all of you, and following on from a few meetings with Alison, Ruth and I can now present a very basic schedule for the Volunteer Conference. It is as follows:

Wednesday the 18th of June

Leave on train departing from UB or Darkhan mid morning – handily the Equal Step Centre is on the train line between UB and Darkhan.

Arrive at Equal Step Centre at 13:30 (both the train from Darkhan and the train from UB arrive at almost the same time). The Centre is a short 10-minute walk from the local train station.

After settling in and having lunch this probably leaves us with about 3 hours of workshop time.

Thursday the 19th of June

Full-day of workshops (9:30ish-5:30ish)

Friday the 20th of June

Depart for home at 13:30 (handily the trains to both UB and Darkhan depart at almost the same time). For those that want there may be a possibility to stay on at the camp for the weekend – Ruth will send an email with details nearer the time.
After taking into consideration the time we need to pack up, eat lunch and then walk to the train station, we are probably looking at about 2 and a half hours of workshop time this day.

I hope that is ok with everyone. A few people were not keen on having three days of workshops, so we’ve gone for having one full day of workshops and two half days either side. Others were not keen on the idea of having a conference that would eat into the weekend. We should be back in UB and Darkhan by early evening on the Friday, so the weekend is free for those who want it. Get back to me if you’ve got strong feelings about the dates/times.

AGENDA – your help needed! The two sessions that will definitely happen are the programme area discussions (which should take half a day) and the Q&A session between volunteers and the programme office (which will probably take 1 and a half hours). But we need to put more things on the agenda!

Do you have any ideas of topics that we should be talking about, or do you have any experience/training that you would like to share with other volunteers? Sessions can be just for volunteers, or can include the VSO staff as well. It’s up to us to decide what we want to do.

It would be great if you could leave ideas/comments on this blog entry. Just clink on the ‘comment’ link below. If you experience some problems with this then please don’t hesitate to communicate by email (my email address is I’ll then post the comments up on this blog if you want.

I hope that’s clear, but get back to me if you want something clarified. All the very best, take care of yourselves,



Robert Slinn said...

Happy to discuss / workshop / develop training around existing work on

1. Comics in Development

2. Mainstreaming disability and building access assessment

Also suggest someone could cover

3. Blogging for VSO Mongolia incl SL programme



Robert Slinn said...

Hi, all looks fine to me. I second the agenda item on Comics in Development. Sarah and I recently piloted a training workshop with Health Volunteers, so we've got some experiences to share. Ok with you, Sarah?


nomadologist said...

Thanks Rob for the outline and posting the responses.

Sounds like Clare and Sarah are putting their hands up to discuss 1. Comics in Development (see also this fantastic resource they used).

Ruth and Aliyyah are preparing an access assessment as I write, after consulting widely, so might be able to reflect.(2)

And I would be happy to run over the 3.blogs - totally offline of course using flipchart and pen.


Robert Slinn said...

1. If Clare's document about what "VSO PO Can and Cannot Help Quick Guide for Vols" is ready, than i think is would be nice to present it to the whole group.

2. If PO can present current changes re: VSO policies and if possible for them to conduct a workshop on how volunteers can actively comment and/or suggest to improve the policies to make it more practical and fair to all vols.

This is all for now,

Robert Slinn said...

A good suggestion Glenn, I haven't heard back. I will ask what's happened.



Robert Slinn said...

The one I definitely thought we should do was sharing resources and information amongst vols particularly in relation to passing on info from vol to vol in placements where there have been vols before. Also NOT M&E in terms of what the procedure is, but some proper discussion on what happens once the M&E is done i.e. what the procedure is on actually using all the M&E info that is gathered to make actual changes. Think those are the only things that really are a bit of a bug bear for me!


Robert Slinn said...

Stuff that Ruth, Alison and I talked about:

1. Programme area presentations - each programme area can give a short 20 minute presentation updating other vols on what's going on. Question & answer session about programme areas can follow this.

2. How can we share our resources & trainings with other volunteers and colleagues in their work placements?

3. Discussion on issues that effect Mongolia greatly - e.g. corruption (VSO could introduce their anti-corruption policy), food price increases.

4. Mainstreaming disability (done previously at last year's volunteers' conference, but we now have some volunteers who are specialists in this area)


Karen said...

Hi all,

Good suggestions so far. I'd like to talk about sharing resources too. I've been trying to find a way for the teachers here to access the materials I am using rather than handing out precious photocopies. More proactive on the part of the teachers too. And indeed, handover notes from vol to vol.

Another session I'd be happy to facilitate would be on success stories, little things that have made a difference or a change, any impact that has happened in our placements. This could be combined with frustrations and solutions to those frustrations. Andie and I are happy to run this session.

Thanks and see you all soon.

Robert Slinn said...

- When disability is on the agenda again. please don't let it be about raising awareness as that is what we did last year. It would be useful to have someone to talk about inclusion of disabled people. So practical things.

- Communication in the P.o among the staff there and from PO to vols and partners should be improved. And also from the vols and partners back to VSO of course. What are everyone's responsibilities and howcome do things go wrong (for example: vso and partner discussing and arranging for things without the volunteer knowing about it, no consistency in the PO so partners expect different things)

- How can we improve continuity in the placements? There supposed to be forms, but not everyone fills these up? what about the short term placements? There is nothing to see what has been done and from where to continue.

Linda & the Darkhan Volunteers