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Seminars for project volunteers: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Delivering workshops is not the only thing Mahlzeit Austria project volunteers are doing this Summer. When they are not teaching youth about food waste or working with Wiener Tafel, they are improving their skills through workshops hosted by Pulswerk and project runners. Volunteers are taught to improve their own workshops and see the value in self improvement as they become global citizens.

Workshop by Pulswerk

Pulswerk, founded in 2012 by the Austrian Institute of Ecology, has partnered with AIESEC on this project to promote the United Nations’ twelfth SDG (Responsible Consumption and Production). This week, they met at the Pulswerk office to share their thoughts on the project thus far and discuss areas of improvement.

Mahlzeit Austria volunteers receive a workshop delivered by Sabrina Lichtnegger of Pulswerk.

It’s important that we value the process self improvement and work actively to deliver excellent workshops to Austrian youth. We are the leaders of tomorrow, after all!

Meeting with Anna and Valerie

The Mahlzeit Austria team also met with project head Anna Balashova and AIESEC team member Valerie Christ to discuss similar subject matter. At the AIESEC Vienna office, we reflected on the project’s first couple of weeks and openly shared what could have gone better. As a “part 2” of our meeting with Pulswerk, ways to implement our ideas into the workshops were discussed.

Volunteers discuss how to improve their workshops on food waste.

Lessons learned

Firstly, we all agreed that we are fortunate to be teaching to children a topic that is so important to our future. Volunteers have a positive attitude and we hope the children feed off of that (no pun intended!). But we also agreed some things can be improved, and we shared those too.

For instance, more activities should be implemented into the workshops to engage children and create a more dynamic presentation. While the current workshops already includes some activities, it was decided that more could be added to make them even more fun.

We all know that children under 10 have limited attention spans, so a long PowerPoint presentation would feel more like a lecture than anything else. And who needs that, especially during the Summer? We want to make food waste an interesting topic, because it’s an important one.

Here’s a list of ways we decided could make the workshops more engaging for children:

  1. Games
  2. Quizzes
  3. Dances or other physical activities
  4. Arts and crafts
  5. Music (song about food waste, for instance)

A few of these ideas will be implemented into the workshops to help children stay focused and absorb more information about food waste.

The importance of reflection and improvement

When reflecting on these team meetings, fellow volunteer Elena says, “they are actually useful. We can meet all together and discuss.” As we worked together, we got a little bit further along on our journey to self-improvement. Being in Vienna on this project has taught us that while we should always do our best, improvement is an ongoing process.

While the workshops on food waste to children were good to begin with, they can always be made more effective. So it seems to me that self-improvement was the theme of this week, and we’re sure to see a lot more of it before the project is over.

 

 

 

 

 

First workshop completed! Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

This week, global volunteers debuted their workshops on food waste…

After spending the week preparing their workshops for youth on food sustainability, Mahlzeit Austra volunteers put their skills to the test for the first time. (Learn about the workshops and their creation process here).

At Mahlzeit Austria, volunteers such as Daria and Olia are promoting one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to youth. Here’s a run down of the some volunteers’ experience with their first workshop. What did they learn and what will they do differently in the coming weeks? Let’s find out.

Mission success: Mahlzeit Austria Volunteers Olia, Maria, Lasha and Daria at their first workshop about food waste.

My roommate, Daria, is sitting on the couch as we discuss the results of the first workshop. “For me it was cool, because children were really quiet and good,” she says.  BTW, Daria is my friendly roommate who may appear many times in this blog. We’re lucky we get to hear her input on a lot of these important matters!

Fellow volunteer Olia tells me about her lack of experience with children and speaking German. It was no surprised then that teaching children in German was even more daunting. Fortunately, they pulled through using teamwork. Despite the challenges, she tells me, the “children understood us and we felt their support and interest.” I guess this is my chance to thank any child who listens attentively and enthusiastically. They make all the difference!

Never stop improving

As we walked out of our first workshop,  we immediately discussed how to improve ourselves. Our final consensus is to include more games. Daria tells me, “maybe it can be more fun for children, because sometimes it’s like a lecture and they need to move more. I think children need it.” I agree. Children don’t want to listen to a lecture. Neither do I. 

When asked what she would have done differently, Olia reflects, “I would have probably added more games, but it went well in general. the amount of feedback we received was priceless because children liked us and listened to the things we told. The best is that they realized how important the topic is.” The SDG Mahlzeit Austria is promoting (responsible consumption and production) is important to volunteers and youth alike (or anyone who cares about humanity’s future, tbh). That’s why these volunteers welcome feedback and improvement.

That’s because the most important part of anything we do is getting better at it. Taking an event as a learning experience is at the heart of any AIESEC opportunity, and it’s why they are committed to providing youth with global experiences.

Teamwork > Flying solo

Remember enjoying participation? It’s one of AIESEC’s core values and ties in nicely with what we’re doing in Vienna with these workshops.

Though working with other people can be tricky (you have dealt with lazy group members and annoying partners, because haven’t we all?), I was happy to see my colleagues work together successfully. They also seem to notice the benefits of doing so.

“Benefits of working in a team environment are obviously in a number of ideas which we can produce together. We can also all participate in a project which makes our job easier because we don’t have to do everything on our own.” You said it, Olia! I couldn’t agree more.