CBB's Volunteers Messengers – Marche-en-Famenne
Looking for two volunteers
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, more than 100 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 25 international volunteers around Wallonia. The ESC team of CBB tries 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 participate in the promotion, preparation, implementation and follow-up of our voluntary projects (workcamps, youth exchanges etc). Being part of the CBB team, we will expect them to attend collective activities such as staff meetings, General Assemblies, team building days.
- Promotion of CBB activities
– Help to 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;
– Take part in promotions of CB in schools
– Help with the digital promotion of the organization (Facebook, Instagram, writing materials for the English website, creating on Canva or other programs, support the communication officer);
- Co-animation on international workcamps
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.
- Placement (international work camps)
– Together with the colleagues, volunteer will visit organizations that would like to host an international camp organized by CBB;
– During spring and summer volunteers will be involved in placement work: 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, help to select volunteers for summer worckamps, contact partner organizations via e-mail and send them regular updates about our projects (this tasks seem to be administrative, but it can help to broaden your personal network and receive valuable professional experience)
– Give support to the team during the events organized in order to prepare the volunteers for their volunteering project. Help to prepare materials for the camps, writing infosheets or with some manual tasks.
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.
- Creating a bond between ESC volunteers and other tasks:
– Keep in touch with the volunteers and collect the informations about their associations for events that other volunteers can join in;
– Run ESC Buddy app, a multifunctional app destined for the ESC volunteers. You will create and add the new profiles, add events happening in Belgium and other small back office tasks;
– Create, plan, organize activities for the events dedicated to the ESC volunteers
– Help international team with administrative tasks for selecting and welcoming volunteers
– Take care of the info packs for volunteers.
– Help at the CBB garden (community garden) during the Permaculture Days and learn about gardening (cleaning, planting, harvesting etc.)
– Help with planning intercultural activities where all the inhabitants of the town (but not only) can get together. For example: bread making, walk in the beaver area etc.
- Personal projects
We really hope that the volunteer will bring us innovation and creativity. Depending on their preferences, their desires and their capacities, they will be encouraged to develop a personal project as long as it complies with the values defended by our organization and 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 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.
The volunteer will live and mostly work in Marche-en-Famenne, which offfers 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, with a beach of 65km along the North Sea full of resorts, except for a few patches of windswept dunes. In the south you will not find mountains, but the hilly forests of the Belgian Ardenne. We have 4 seasons well contrasted, cold winter and sunny summer… But be ready to look up to a grey sky at least half of the year.
Despite the rainy clouds, Belgian people are usually warm. A lot of cultural and free events happen during the year, which makes your journey in this little country entertaining and resourceful.
This project will take part in the south of the country where we speak French. 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. You will have an average of 35 hours a week.
You will receive a budget and will prepare your own meals.
Participation in the European Solidarity Corps is free of charge, except for exceptional contribution to travel costs. You will therefore receive free board and lodging during the whole activity. In addition, you will receive pocket money for personal expenses throughout the duration of the activity, including holidays.
You will live in a house that will be shared with 6 other volunteers. It is located in the centre of Marche-en-Famenne and has all the modern facilities.
You get covered, throughout the activity period, by the obligatory European Solidarity Corps insurance plan (Henner) that the European Commission sets up. This coverage is only complementary to the mandatory coverage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which you must obtain prior to departure.
In certain cases, when national rules deprive participants from coverage under EHIC for the duration of the placement, Henner will provide full coverage. However, you must provide proof that obtaining the EHIC in your case was not possible. You should contact your National Agency for advice on your specific circumstances. You must read carefully the insurance-related information here.
EU Academy + French lesson. We provide an online language course as part of the budget from the Commission. You will need to complete a level test before the activity starts. We encourage you to join free French lessons given in the municipality or around if possible. We recommend that the participant starts practicing 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.
- Aged 18-30 years old
- Open-minded, curious, enthusiastic, empathetic
- Able to work in a team, with different target groups, and in a multicultural environment
- Willing to learn French
- Ready to propose, take initiative, discuss and give your opinion
- Flexible in terms of working hours, which sometimes do not correspond to a classic schedule
- Before departure, being in contact with a support/sending organisation to receive information and preparation
> Look up for a support organisation in your region via this link
- Able to give copy of certificate of good conduct related to the work with minors before starting the activity
Andreea, volunteer at CBB 2023-2024
Hello you future volunteer! I am Andreea, I come from Romania and currently I am at the middle of my project here at CBB.
Although time passes very fast, I can already say that I learned so many new things here, such as site editing, creation of content for different events or the other ESC volunteers; I helped with the promotion of our organization to young people, co-animated a work camp and helped with organization and logistics for other shorter events. I can say is that you will never get bored here! I also did two trainings, one on being a leader in environmental projects and the other one about media (how to edit videos/films). The work is very diverse, you get so learn from different people on different subjects, departments and see how an NGO works.
Besides the work part, I have the chance to be in an International environment, to be with people from so many different countries. CBB has around 25 ESC volunteers in the whole region so you will surely meet them as well! I heard so many interesting stories and perspectives and I know some of these people will remain my friends even after the end of this volunteering program. I also got to travel and explore other parts of Belgium like the big cities and traveled a bit abroad (trains and buses are well connected with other countries).
I would recommend this experience to anyone who wants to try something new, or different, even if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. In this long term volunteering program you will learn a lot and probably after you will have a clearier perspective of your life. You also get to enjoy a beautiful country, ones of the best beers in the world and tasty fries!
Just be prepared for speaking French, moody weather (rain, rain and rain) and to live in a quiet place in the south of Belgium!
Dana, volunteer at CBB 2022-2023
My name is Bohdana, I’m 25 and I’m Ukrainian. Currently I’m doing my volunteering project with CBB in Belgium.
A year ago I was working in the business sphere in Kyiv, Ukraine and at some point I started to feel overwhelmed by lack of the opportunities for growth and lack of social impact, so I decided to completely change my life and applied to this project.
The first moment when I felt gratitude to CBB was February, when Russia started a full scale war against Ukraine and I found myself on the occupied territory. Of course, this experience changes everything in my life, changes my priorities. But I received bunch of letters from CBB with the words of support and warmth. I felt that there are people who don’t give up on me even despite the circumstances, even if it was easier to find another volunteer who would definitely come to the project. So, I decided not to give up on myself as well and started to search for the ways to come there.
Sure, this year was not an easy journey for me, but it was so fulfilling and so worth to live. I tried so many things and also learned a lot about myself.
So, to begin with the fact that I shared house with 6 people from different countries, and at some point I have found myself in a new family. Because even if by any chance you are annoyed by these people, you will never find a better support system for this year. We walked in the forest, played this annoying Italian card game, watched trendy and not so trendy series in French with Italian Netflix, decorated house for Christmas in October, cut each others hair, drunk perfect Belgium beers, cooked pizza, tortila, borscht, deruny. We laughed, cried, gave each other shitty love advices. And traveled. A lot.
I learned from these people and teach them a lot as well. Even if you already had the experience of sharing cultures, this one will be soooo much deeper.
Second thing I want to share is an amazing CBB team and all experiences you can go through with your volunteering. I already mentioned that CBB people are the ones who never abandone you. I have more. We had this team building in Liege and someone had an “amazing” idea to do kayaking. I’m not sportish person at all, also during the last months I lost a lot of weight. And at some moment I found myself in the middle of the deep river one kilometer behind everyone fighting against wind and flow. And what do you think? Of course my supervisor found out me in this awkward situation and she was staying close, making jokes on me but encouraging me to go till the end. And it was so perfect!
And with the tasks, I will say that I have variety of them. I’m doing some administrative work, helping with placement, ESC volunteers welcoming, managing ESC Buddy App, updating infopacks, helping with promotion in social media. Also I had an opportunity to lead youth exchanges and summer work camps. And for me it is a perfect balance between computer work and people work. For me the most touching were projects in refugee centres where we were doing some renovations but also we were talking to people and playing with kids. And this were the moments of humanity that a lot of us needs in our lives. If you are there, definitely go to the refugee center work camp.
Some tips from me:
- you are the owner of your experience. Try to participate in as many things as you can. It’s a one life time opportunity that can help you to try different things and decide what is closer to you.
- know who is your support system for the down moments.
- learn how to use train. There are a lot of discounts especially during weekends and holidays. If you don’t understand, ASK how it works.
- live the moment, time flies super fast
- cut each others hair.
Nabil, volunteer at CBB 2021-2022
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, volunteer at CBB 2018-2019
– 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: 10th of October 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 need to create a profile on the new data base: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en (“JOIN THE CORPS”).
3. (optional) if you’re feeling creative, please feel free to send us any additional material related to your application: email@example.com
The creation of a profile on the ESC portal AND fulfilling the form are compulsory for us to take your application into consideration.
In the days following your application, the pre-selected volunteers will be contacted for a skype interview.