Each year the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) celebrates innovation and excellence in adult education. The EAEA Grundtvig Award highlights projects that produce new ideas, new partnerships, new methodologies and a new understanding of how we can work in adult learning.
The theme of the 2011 EAEA Grundtvig Award was "Innovative Approaches in Adult Education and Learning - Learning Experiences through Volunteering". 2011 was the European Year of Volunteering, and the topic for the EAEA Grundtvig Award followed the same theme.
According to the European Commission in the European Union close to 100 million citizens make a positive contribution to their community by volunteering. Volunteering can be seen an active expression of civic participation strengthening common European values such as solidarity and social cohesion. The European Commission sees that volunteering provides important learning opportunities, because involvement in voluntary activities can provide people with new skills and competences that can even improve their employability. EAEA also regards volunteering as essential for non- and informal learning. The learning can be for active citizenship, social inclusion, employability and personal development. We particularly appreciate volunteering in and for civil society organisations and associations which are part of participatory democracy.
For the 2011 Grundtvig award we were looking for projects that either had volunteering as their main topic or projects that enhance their learning potential by a volunteering period. In the call for submissions a wide range of topics was accepted: learning material and courses for potential volunteers in order to prepare them, projects that have volunteering periods in the range of activities and projects