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US-Russia Volunteer Initiative (USRVI)

The US-Russia Volunteer Initiative (USRVI) promoted volunteerism and improved volunteer practices through the bilateral exchange of volunteers between the United States and Russia, trainings for Russian organizations working to strengthen their volunteer programs, and grants for community organizations and volunteer leaders to promote volunteer practices in their communities.

This project is now completed.

Project Activities

From 2004 until 2006, USRVI provided fellowships to Russian and American youth for volunteer work abroad promoting healthy lifestyles, community development, information and communication technology, and cultural and historic preservation. The program provided an opportunity for 86 Russian and 78 American volunteers to share experience in successful volunteer practices, address the needs of communities in Russia and the United States, and develop lasting partnerships between Russian and American youth. In total, USRVI participants volunteered more than 37, 000 hours at 72 organizations.

In 2007, USRVI trained 86 representatives of Russian community organizations in volunteer management and held a follow-on grant competition for training participants, funding 10 projects with core volunteer components. USRVI was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

In 2004-2006, volunteer activities focused on the following fields:

Healthy Lifestyles

• Tobacco, alcohol and drug use prevention

• Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS

• Nutrition, health and physical fitness

Community Development

• Youth and student governance

• Children with disabilities

• Assistance to vulnerable groups

• Development of volunteerism

Internet Communication and Technology

• Bridging the “digital divide”

• Instruction on the use of computers, especially to vulnerable groups

Cultural and Historical Preservation

• Stewardship of cultural and natural resources

• Preservation of historic landmarks