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Korea volunteer programme meets with local partners over expansion

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Nov 15,2017 - Last updated at Nov 15,2017

AMMAN — The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on Wednesday held a workshop to discuss ways of improving the World Friends Korea (WFK) programme with their local partners in the Kingdom and to introduce activities to potentially new partner organisations. 

WFK is the Korean government’s overseas volunteer group, which sends volunteers to developing countries to share their expertise with local residents. 

The workshop was opened in Amman by Korean Ambassador Lee Bom-yon, who expressed his gratitude to the participants’ support to the programme, highlighting that “over 200 Korean volunteers cooperated with 70 Jordanian institutions over the past 11 years”.

For his part, KOICA Country Director Byun Sook-jin announced that Jordan will be hosting a total of 20 KOICA volunteers by December. 

“We are here today to look into our volunteer programme and ways to increase the efficiency and satisfaction over the WFK. We are ready to listen to your enquiries, concerns and petitions regarding the continuation of our cooperation,” the director said. 

Byun told The Jordan Times that KOICA is aiming to send 30 new volunteers to the Kingdom by 2018, noting that Jordan was chosen as the destination for volunteers in the Arab region “for the sense of security and stability that the country provides despite the regional turmoil”.

Regarding the areas where the programme is more active in Jordan, the director explained that “education is one of the most targeted sectors in the Kingdom because, after visiting the public schools, we felt like the offer in subjects such as arts or physical education was not enough, and we wanted to fulfil the educational needs in this curricula”.

The WFK programme was introduced to potential partners by programme manager Inseong Kim, who outlined its mission to “contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthen mutual understanding and friendly ties between Korea and partner countries, and foster global citizens through volunteerism”.

Kim also introduced the activities conducted in Jordan, noting that KOICA volunteers are present in the governorates of Irbid, Ajloun, Balqa, Amman, Petra and Aqaba. 

Kim Miah, a Korean language professor at the University of Jordan, Kim Sharon, a social worker at the Ajloun centre, and Lim Jisun, a physical therapist at the Zay Centre in Balqa, were some of the volunteers currently working in Jordan present at the workshop. 

During the discussions, local partners exchanged a series of ideas to improve the programme, pointing out to the challenges posed by the language barrier between volunteers and host communities as well as the mismatching between organisations’ expectations and the volunteers’ scope of work.

Programme manager Baek Jo presented the satisfaction surveys on KOICA’s WFK programme, noting that the organisation performs various types of evaluation in order to “secure accountability, achieve better development and meet the goal of contributing to improve the life of those in need through sharing volunteers’ knowledge, skills and experience”.

 

He highlighted that KOICA has recently implemented a regular call counseling service for WFK partners, and a fast-reach hotline for the mediation of issues between volunteers and host organisations.

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