Join the crew of Compagnons Bâtisseurs!
Looking for one volunteer
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, activities might be subject to modifications.
Hosting organization : Compagnons Bâtisseurs
The Association of Compagnons Bâtisseurs, aka CBB, is a non-profit, non-political youth organization recognized by the French Community of Belgium. The organization proposes different kinds of activities, mainly based on volunteering and non-formal education: local and international workcamps, medium and long term voluntary service, weekend workcamps, leisure time activities for and with disabled people, youth exchanges and local and international trainings.
All these activities would not be possible without a network of 420 Belgian volunteers, almost 200 international volunteers during the summer and a team of 14 employees.
We are a youth organization and most of our public is aged between 16 and 25 years, even if there is no upper age limit to integrate our groups of volunteers.
CBB especially promotes an inclusive approach of the public; we strongly believe in the richness of diversity and we take action to favour the heterogeneous character of our groups of volunteers. Therefore, the members of the association (+- 420 people) are from diverse origins and capacities.
CBB hosts a total of about 26 international volunteers around Wallonia. The ESC team of CBB try its best to connect this network of volunteers through different collective activities, seminars etc …
EVS (Erasmus+) and now European Solidarity Corps (ESC) experience
We have participated in the EVS Program both as Sending and Hosting Organization since 1997.
We believe that this program perfectly fits our organization goals and methods: non-formal education, active citizenship promotion, volunteering and multiculturalism are keywords in our daily activities.
We also particularly appreciate the learning opportunities that the volunteering program financed by the European Commission offer to all young people, regardless of their origin, background and economic means.
CBB is a member of the ALLIANCE of European Volunteer Service Organisations and the Coordinating Committee of the International Voluntary Service (CCIVS).
The volunteer’s tasks
The volunteer will be mainly involved in the promotion, preparation, implementation and follow-up of our voluntary projects (workcamps, youth exchanges….). They will also sometimes work in partnership with other local youth and social organizations. Being part of the CBB team, we will expect them to attend collective activities such as staff meetings, General Assemblies, team building days…
- Preparation of one-day long projects, weekly projects, weekend projects, international work camps and youth exchanges
– Visit organizations that would like to host an international camp organized by CBB;
– Maintain contact with our partner organizations via e-mail and send them regular updates about our projects (mainly about workcamps);
– Receive and answer the application requests of foreign volunteers who would like to participate in our projects in Belgium and follow-up their registration process (this is an important task from April to July that broadens your personal network, but can also be considered as very administrative);
– Support the staff in preparing activities for volunteers, materials for the camps, writing infosheets or with some manual tasks.
– Give support to the team during the events organized in order to prepare the volunteers for their volunteering project.
- Promotion of CBB activities
– Prepare and hold information stands in youth centres and fairs in order to present our activities and increase young people awareness about volunteering, non-formal education and intercultural exchanges;
– According to their knowledge, take care of the digital promotion of the organization (Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, writing materials for the website, support the communication officer in general);
- Co-animation of weekend and international work camps, as well as environmental weeks and one-day long volunteering projects
International workcamps are short-term voluntary projects gathering young people from different countries. During two or three weeks, these young people work on a voluntary basis for a non-profit organization or a local community. The tasks to realize during an international workcamp can be very varied: renovation, construction, environment protection, summer camps for children, work in the refugee centres…
Being a camp leader is going to be one of your responsibilities. With the help of another, already trained camp leader, you will maintain a good group dynamic and favour the learning experiences within the participants.
CBB organizes projects focused on environmental subjects in cooperation with partner organizations in Marche-en-Famenne and surroundings that can last from one day to one week. We expect our volunteers to regularly co-animate these events (at least twice a month).
CBB promotes social inclusion and openness toward all kinds of diversities. When a person with a special profile or facing any difficulty (social, cultural, educational…) participates in a project, the ESC volunteer will be expected to take part in the effort of integrating them into the group.
- As a volunteer working in the support organization for more than 20 volunteers in the French part of Belgium, you will also be in charge of creating a bond between volunteers. That will include:
– Keeping in touch with the volunteers and collecting the information in their associations for events that other volunteers can join in.
– Creating an ESC newsletter for all ESC volunteers to inform them about new opportunities and events that might interest them.
– Informing them about CBB activities that they can participate in
– Animate or create workshops online or offline to keep contact with the volunteers if needed.
- Activities according to the personality of the volunteer and to their desires
We really hope that the volunteer will bring us innovation and creativity. Depending on their preferences, their desires and their capacities, they may make a short film or a photo report presenting the organization, create posters or write texts about its activities, organize raising awareness activities about intercultural learning, equal opportunities, mobility…
Our ESC volunteer will be encouraged to develop a personal project as long as it complies with the values defended by our organization! We are ready to support them in its implementation!
Accommodation in Marche-en-Famenne
Compagnons Bâtisseurs asbl offers the unique opportunity to encounter plenty of international exchanges while being located in a small, 17.000 inhabitants town in the French-speaking part of Belgium. From our office, in the center square of Marche-en-Famenne, we organize projects all over the French Community of Belgium (Brussels and Wallonia) and maintain close partnerships with non-profit organizations from all over the world. This unique situation will allow the volunteer to share the semi-rural lifestyle of the area, but also to meet young people from different places of the country as well as to be in contact with people from the other side of the world.
During their ESC volunteering activity, the volunteer will live and mostly work in Marche-en-Famenne. The town offers all modern facilities (shops, supermarkets, sports centre, cinema).
For the urban-life-style-lovers, it is, however, IMPORTANT to know that our town is located in a semi-rural area. Even if it is not far away from the biggest Belgian cities (57 km from Liège, 106 km from Brussels, 47 km from Namur) and well connected by train, Marche-en-Famenne can sometimes look remote and very quiet.
The country - BELGIUM
Squeezed between the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is one of Europe’s tiddlers.
The north is flat, the South dominated by the picturesque Ardennes and the 65km North Sea coastline, monopolized by resorts, except for a few patches of windswept dunes. The 4 seasons are well divided, with a cold and white winter and warm and sunny summer… But be ready for a grey sky at least for a half of the year.
But the Belgian population is usually warm. A lot of cultural and free events happen in the streets during the year, which can make your journey in this little country fun and resourceful.
This project will be taking part in the South of the country which is French-speaking. Be therefore ready to learn and speak French!
- Specialities : FRIES, BEERS and FESTIVALS
- AREA: 30,518 sq km
- POPULATION: 11.492.641 million
- CAPITAL: Brussels (pop: 1.212.352)
- REGIONS: Flanders (North), Wallonia (South), Brussels – Capital
- COMMUNITIES: Flemish-, French- and German-speaking community
- LANGUAGE: Dutch (±59%), French (±37%) and German (±1%)
- CURRENCY: Euro
Working hours will usually be from 10:00 until 16:00 but we ask our volunteers to have some flexibility about this. Working during the weekends and the evenings will happen on a regular basis. Five days per week will be worked on average and days off will compensate for the extra shift hours if necessary to keep an average of 35 hours a week.
The ESC volunteer will always work under the responsibility of youth workers of CBB. They will have the autonomy they will need to develop their own initiatives and personal projects, but they will not be responsible for an activity on their own. They will always get the advice and support from a youth worker. The activities they will take part in will always be prepared with the staff. Preparation meetings will allow the staff to inform the ESC volunteer about the rules to respect, about risk prevention and safety.
Risk and crisis prevention
Risk prevention is firstly linked to a good preparation. We will provide the volunteer with complete and accurate information before they join our project. The sending organization will be in charge of following the volunteer during the pre-departure process, informing them about the ESC program, about the rights and responsibilities of the different actors involved, about the administrative obligations the volunteer has to respect before leaving their country, etc.
Having arrived in Belgium, the volunteers will participate in the on-arrival seminar and the mid-term evaluation organized by the French-speaking National Agency (NA). The seminars will be organized in French.
At the very beginning of the project, we will especially take care of welcoming the volunteer, showing them interesting places in our town and Belgium and presenting them to other young people.
We will also check that everything is in order with the insurance.
The ESC volunteer will participate in our weekly meeting in order to be integrated into the team and to have the chance to talk about the difficulties they live.
An evaluation of the ESC experience will be made on a regular basis with their mentor. If there is a problem, a meeting with the project coordinator will be held in order to solve it.
In case of crisis/emergency, we will ask for the intervention of the specialized services required, according to the situation.
The volunteer will be hosted in a house that will be shared with up to 6 other volunteers. It is located in the centre of Marche-en-Famenne and has all the modern facilities.
All participants in cross-border activities have to be covered, throughout the activity period, by the obligatory insurance plan (CIGNA) set up by the European Commission. This coverage is only complementary to the mandatory coverage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which must be obtained prior to departure. In certain cases, when national rules deprive participants of coverage under EHIC for the duration of the placement, CIGNA will provide full coverage. However, participants must provide proof that obtaining the EHIC in their case was not possible and they should contact their National Agency (NA) in order to seek tailored advice, for their specific circumstance. The participant must read carefully the insurance-related information found online here.
OLS+ French lesson: an online language course is provided as part of the project support from the Commission and allocated on the basis of a language proficiency test that is to be carried out before the activity. The volunteer is also encouraged to join free French lessons given in the municipality or its surroundings. It is recommended that the participant starts practising French prior to their arrival in Belgium and that they participate in as many activities as possible in order to get better at the language.
The volunteer will receive a monthly allowance and will take care of the meals on their own.
Participation in the European Solidarity Corps is free of charge for the participant, except for exceptional contribution to travel costs. The volunteer will receive free board and lodging during the whole activity. In addition, they will receive a small allowance (pocket money) for personal expenses throughout the duration of the activity, including holidays.
Profile of the volunteer
- The age requirement to take part in the ESC program: 18-30 years old.
- Prior to departure, the volunteer should be in contact with a support (sending) organization in order to receive information and preparation. Lookup for a support organization in your region via this link.
- Our project is open to anybody motivated by volunteering and who wishes to be involved in our organization and be in touch with people regardless of their nationality, religion, believes, diploma, professional experience. We expect the volunteer to be interested in international volunteering projects, be ready to build an atmosphere of confidence; be proactive and creative; be open to involve themselves in the several activities we do; be able to work together with the staff; agree with our philosophy of equality and openness to the differences as well as being ready for a substantial amount of important administrative office work (mailing, Excel, organizing material and the database, using graphic programs, …) and leading some non-formal education activities or even carry out some manual work.
Nabil, current volunteer at CBB
Hello, My name is Nabil and I volunteer at CBB, my project started in March of 2021 but due to covid related issues, I couldn’t travel to the location of the project (Marche-en-Famenne) until August.
I have a somewhat skewed point of view of this position due to that, for the first few months I contributed to the project from my home in Málaga, remotely, making mostly graphic design and research tasks, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do that since it was an extraordinary bad situation that was out of control but I was still able to participate in this great volunteering opportunity even though I did not enjoy the full experience for the whole duration of the project.
Once I arrived at Marche-en-Famenne my tasks diversified, I kept doing graphic design tasks but I also added to my schedule administrative tasks and web design tasks in my time in the office, but the main difference of course was my participation in volunteering camps and youth exchanges, so far I have been in refugee camps doing volunteering projects and helping the people that were left in need due to the floods in Belgium this summer through workcamps. I found these projects extremely fullfilling and great learning opportunities.
My life in Marche-en-Famenne is a quiet one, I go for walks and enjoy the company of my housemates and friends pretty much daily, my days are filled with interesting conversations, laughs and solitary walks around the city, even though there is a huge forest nearby where you can go hiking, I’m just a little scared of getting lost so I prefer to walk around the town streets.
Travel opportunities are great, I have been several times to Liege and Brussels and I quite enjoyed my time there, Namur is also a cool city to visit.
If you are wondering if this opportunity is right for you I would suggest you give it a try since I was in the same place and I ended up having a wonderful time!
Djordje, past volunteer at CBB
– Can you tell us something about you?.
I am Djordje (Vidojevic) from Serbia. I am now 26 and at the time of my project I was 24-25.
– When did you volunteer?
The project began early February 2018 and finished late January 2019.
– Where did you volunteer? Tell us something about the town you were living in, your house, your flatmates…
The town where I volunteered in is Marche-en-Famenne.
The thing I loved the most about the town is the presence of different second-hand shops, for example La Chiffonière. Usually sellers would give things for free. Another thing I liked so much is the forest which is close to the house of the volunteers. I liked to go run there or in other parts of the city, there was a period in which I used to do it every day. It was amazing, especially getting lost in the suburbs where all the large and fancy houses are.
Absolutely necessary to mention is the unicorn statue which is also close to the house, and the tourist office, great architecture and interior design. Another important thing is the fact that there are so many places where to get food, the best one for me was Le Nonna.
Among the things that I didn’t like is the fact that Marche being a small town is also a little secluded and it is not that easy to reach it. For example to get the train you first need to go to Marloie where there is a larger train station. Another thing is the lack of night life, everything closes earlier. Marche is also a small city where in the world of volunteering everyone knows each other.
In the house we were 5 at the beginning, 6 afterwards. Each and all of us where volunteers linked to CBB and the other volunteering organizations and living there was very nice. We cleaned every nook and cranny of the place, we helped renovate it, especially the creepy basement. I still have so many nice memories and we shared so many moments and experiences.
– Your organization (briefly): what is their goal, what do they do, some information in general.
The organization I worked with is called Compagnons Bâtisseurs (CBB). It is a NGO youth organization dealing with people with fewer opportunities, people with disabilities or simply youngsters which want to make experience abroad. They host people from abroad in workcamps or other formative experiences in Belgium and at the same time they send Belgians (mainly from Wallonia) abroad to do the same thing. The objective is to broaden the perspective of the youngster in order to contribute building a better future.
– A brief description of your job: what was your typical day at work, your main tasks, who were you working with.
My job consisted in different tasks. I worked in the communication part of the office, where I helped set up the Instagram account, I created leaflets and material using graphic tools for promotional purposes, I also sorted and edited videos. Plus, I took some part of the outgoing process (people from Belgium applying for workcamps abroad) and of the youth exchanges. During Summer I led 3 workcamps, the best one for me was Sugny in an asylum seekers center. I love workcamps so much that I took some days off to take part in two more as a simple participant. Another good thing is that you can think about everything as your personal project, they will never say no. Sometime there are not enough things to do at the office and it might get boring, that’s why there are so many opportunities to work outside.
– Why did you choose this project in particular?
I chose this specific project because I liked the program. Mainly because of the possibility to lead workcamps. I didn’t pay attention to the country the project was organized in because I think what you do is more important than where you are. But in the end, I liked Belgium so much. I actually would have wanted to enroll for the year after (2019), but the EVS platform was to be closed and no one knew what the future would have brought (actually there was only a reorganization of the program and a change of name, currently ESC), so I was forced to act quickly and enrol as soon as possible. I was very lucky to be accepted at CBB since I really wanted to spend some time outside Serbia.
– Positive (and negative) things: anecdoctes, experiences, what would you have liked to be different
I have so many memories of my project. First thing is that I traveled so much, both alone and with friends/flatmates. Belgium is such a central country in Europe and it is easy to reach everywhere else. There are so many activities and festivals that you are kind of forced to choose which ones to participate in and which ones to let go of. I am so glad I could continue the tradition of having Serbian volunteers in Marche. There are also some negative aspects to consider though. First of all the language. I didn’t know French, in the office they all speak great English and at home we found ourself in a situation in which we set up speaking Spanish, so my French didn’t quite improve enough. CBB should push more their volunteers to take up the local language. Being unable to effectively communicate in French, I missed out so many opportunities to get in touch with the local community, since in the city only few people can speak English, but again, being 5-6 people at home with all the activities you are involved with there is not enough time to really realize it. It’s different for other projects though, for example in the Maison de Jeunes the volunteers are always in touch with the local youth for examples.
– Some advice for future volunteers?
Cut your own hair, barbers are expensive! Buy the GoPass, go wherever you want. Explore Marche, connect with the people, enjoy your time in Belgium because it flies so fast.
How to apply ?
Deadline: 20th April at 23:59 (brussels time)
1. Answer the questionnaire below – scroll down a bit to see it (NB: you will be asked to attach a CV at the end of the form)
2. In the frame of the new program of the European Commission, the European Solidarity Corps, you first need to create a profile on the new data base: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en (“JOIN THE CORPS”).
3. Find the project and click on “apply” > HERE – To apply
4. (optional) if you’re feeling creative, please feel free to send us any additional material related to your application: firstname.lastname@example.org
The application through the ESC portal and fulfilling the form are compulsory for us to take your application into consideration.
In the days following the 18th April, the pre-selected volunteers will be contacted for a skype interview.