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Yamal Tundra Brings Together Volunteers From the International Volunteer Expedition “Explore Yamal”

9 December 2021
Ямальская тундра объединит волонтеров международной добровольческой экспедиции «Explore Yamal»

Explore Yamal, a volunteer expedition to the Yamal tundra, will take place from 10 to 14 December, bringing together 20 volunteers from the Arctic Council member countries. The event is part of the plan for Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023.

The project was initiated by the participants of the first meeting of the Arctic Council Youth Project Office, which took place in Salekhard in October 2020. The Explore Yamal project will promote volunteerism and intercultural dialogue among young people, popularize the traditions, customs and comprehension of the philosophy of northern peoples, strengthen humanitarian ties between Russia’s Arctic regions, and make the Yamal Arctic more attractive as a territory open to development and new ideas.

The main activities of the volunteer will be:

— Medical assistant: conducting workshops on first aid training for Indigenous Peoples of the North;

— ‘Chum-improvement’: assisting nomads in everyday life, carrying out educational activities with children.

The project will involve 20 volunteers, aged 18-35, from Iceland, Sweden, the USA and Germany. The main selection criteria were volunteering, project or community work experience in one of the fields: media, pedagogy, medicine, veterinary medicine, fashion and textile design, as well as mechanics and culture.

A five-day volunteer expedition to the tundra will take place as part of the Arctic Council Young Leaders Forum ‘ICE: Inspiration. Communication. Efforts’. The expedition is integrated into the Forum’s programme as a special project of the Volunteerism Lab. Upon their return from the expedition, participants will discuss the results of the trip and plans for further cooperation at a meeting with the Yamal community and volunteers.

«The Explore Yamal project is not only an opportunity to obtain new practices and to scale up the experience gained in implementing initiatives in volunteer areas, but is also the beginning of cooperation between young people of the Arctic countries, understanding the philosophy and culture of the traditional way of life of northern peoples and applying them in the modern world», said Olga Podkovyrkina, Director of the Arctic Volunteer Centre.

The volunteers will help reindeer herders and their families, learn about the culture and traditions of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, learn the necessary skills to stay in the tundra and have the opportunity to explore Yamal in a new way.

During the project, all volunteers will keep a video field diary, which will then be shared with the Arctic Volunteer Centre for further use in the institution’s social media and the creation of a film about the project.

The event is organized by the state budgetary institution of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, the Arctic Volunteer Centre, as part of the plan for Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023.