Volunteer engagement during the pandemic crisis in Spain

The global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has forced social entities to adapt and modify their organisation in order to respond to the new needs of the population with whom they work. Thus, new initiatives are emerging to address the challenges posed by this crisis. 

The ALFA association (Almanjáyar en Familia Association ) is a social services institution rooted in the Almanjáyar neighbourhood in the northern zone of Granada, one of the areas of especial social risk in the city. Its mission is to enhance the capacities of the people attended through a comprehensive accompaniment for they can improve in any aspect of their lives.

One of the greatest backbones of the association is volunteers. People from the very Almanjáyar neighbourhood offer their knowledge and skills to support the association’s different projects. In that way, ALFA succeeds not only in helping those in vulnerable situations but also in encouraging the active participation and mobilisation of all the residents towards the improvement of their own living conditions, coexistence and the feeling of belonging to the neighbourhood.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the association has adapted their projects or has boosted new initiatives to have the current needs of the population responded to. In each and every one of them, volunteers are the key part. Some examples are:

  • Social-educational cooperative. It’s a temporary resource consisting of supporting families in economic need to find solutions to help them upgrade their living conditions through a personal commitment. People receive financial aid to pay for groceries and clothes and, in exchange, they commit themselves to engage in actions for their progress (active job search, training, others).
  • Digital volunteering. The objective of this project is to offer educational support to the children of the neighbourhood as well as to reduce the digital gap, providing material and digital platform training, especially now that the pandemic forces the development of scholar classes online.
  • Youth project. The young people who have been taking part in the child and youth care program during the academic year become volunteers in the summer and offer accompaniment to other children, turning into their mentors and giving continuity to their social insertion process. 
  • Get-together project. It offers a space for lonely or dependent older people to enjoy leisure time and acquire a support network. The pandemic forced to end or reduce the group meetings, so volunteers follow up with them through telephonic attention in order to ensure their wellbeing and reduce their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

As it can be seen, even though the pandemic has posed important difficulties for social entities, new initiatives erase to cope with the crisis where volunteers are the essential anchor.

(Author of this post: Catalina Moragues of CRISISS partner Aldaima – see also on Facebook )


Picture credits: ALFA