Vojislav Prkosovački: Volunteering builds community

Photo: Matej Vidmar

Coordinator of Novi Sad Voluntary Service (NVS) and co-founder of the International Network of Coordinators of European Capitals of Culture Volunteer Programmes (EVCN). 


“We see volunteering as a path to community building. Through volunteering THE participants became part of the European Capital of Culture project, they got to know the cultural and artistic scene in Novi Sad. They got to know the institutions and vice versa: the cultural workers got to know the volunteers who added new values to the city’s culture,” Prkosovački explains, adding that volunteering also made exchanges with other capitals possible, with Rijeka, Plovdiv, Timișoara, Veszprém etc. Through the volunteer programme they learnt what it means to organise, to produce, to work in a big team. 


He started as an activist. Soon he founded, together with others, the Vojvodina Volunteer Centre, worked as the coordinator of the youth office in the municipality of Bečej, near Novi Sad, then spent seven years at the Ministry for Youth and Sport of the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade. In 2017 he studied at the School of Education and Communication at the University of Jonkoping in Sweden, and then was called to be the coordinator of the Novi Sad Volunteer Service (NVS), established by the European Youth Capital 2019 and the European Capital of Culture 2022, both in Novi Sad. The idea was to work with volunteers in a systematic way, so they decided to offer volunteers five thematic areas: health, ecology, sports, youth and culture. 


Since 2017 to date, they have managed to create a base of 2,200 volunteers aged between 10 and 76. They seek them out through appeals on social networks, through the online platform nvs.rs, by visiting schools, fairs, conferences. The partners using this database are institutions, NGOs and informal groups, and during the European Capital of Culture itself, project managers used it. Most of the volunteers were university and high school students, while 20 percent were senior citizens. 


“The greatest contribution of the volunteers is in bringing a smile to the project, a positive energy that transfers to the public and makes the whole event more enjoyable and human”.