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Service Programs

Lake Baikal Project 2010 Focuses on Value-Oriented Volunteerism

Russia-2010-08-06-Lake Baikal Project 2010 Focuses on Value-Oriented Volunteerism

Slyudyanka, Russia - The yearly volunteer Lake Baikal Project promoting ecology and tourism took place in the Irkutsk region of Siberia from July 1 to August 6. It began with a workshop on the theme of “Value-oriented volunteerism” for the NGO activists and volunteers from Irkutsk, followed by two periods of ecological projects and tourism along the tourist path from the Slyudyanka Mountain along the northwestern shore of the lake to the Chersky Peak, the highest peak in the Baikal mountain range. This path provides access to unique natural locations around Lake Baikal for tourists from all over the world.

This year 40 young people participated in the project. They built two pedestrian bridges across the Slyudyanka River and a number of smaller stream crossings with solid platforms paved with stones. Slyudyanka is a town of about 20,000 people on the southern tip of the lake; it is a stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

During the second part of the project, the volunteers visited beautiful mountain sites around the lake and received education in the form of lectures, discussions, and training sessions. The main themes were personal development of a volunteer and a value-oriented approach to volunteerism.

The project was initiated by the Ural-Siberian volunteers of the Youth Federation for World Peace and supported by the Research and Rescue detachment of the Ministry of Extraordinary Situations of Russia and a number of NGOs.

The Baikal Project is meant to become an international educational center for all who would like to enjoy the unique Baikal ecosystem, acquire some practical experience in volunteerism, and find like-minded friends and partners. Volunteer service is the base for creating healthy relationships and developing tolerance. The project is aimed at training volunteers able to promote a culture of service and peace in local communities, and applying problem-solving strategies to intercultural cooperation. Project organizers and participants currently see the necessity to develop it in cooperation with the local community and with the support of local ecological and volunteer initiatives.

See the report of UPF-Russia's 2009 Lake Baikal Project of building and repairing bridges on tourist trails, which won first place in the ecology category of the Volunteer 2009 All-Russia competition.

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