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EU Aid Volunteers Initiative ‘an opportunity to show solidarity’ (PR)

The EU Aid Volunteers Initiative commenced in 2016 and has since been connecting volunteers and organisations around the world becoming a platform to facilitate the provision of professional support to humanitarian aid projects, strengthening the local capacity and resilience of affected communities.

This initiative gives European citizens the opportunity to show their solidarity in ways that actively contribute to the work of the civil society and organisations operating in a developing country. Volunteers involved in this initiative can come from a wide range of backgrounds and have a diverse range of skills and professional experience, which are utilised to cover the needs of humanitarian aid projects.

This initiative is not a volunteering experience that individuals can take as part of their holiday break, nor is it similar to other humanitarian aid volunteering projects. Instead, it provides on-field professional help to meet the stipulated needs of local organisations. All volunteers are trained staff members who apply their academic and professional expertise to help local communities and organizations strengthen their capacities and boost their work. Volunteering positions are long-term and planned in such a way so that they can actively contribute in the action plans, activities and the everyday work undertaken by the hosting organizations. Volunteers employ their experiences and expertise to assist in developing tools, resources and to provide meaningful and tangible aid. The latter is what makes the scheme stand out from the unskilled volunteer labour offered via voluntourism opportunities and programmes.

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative, by its nature, allows both organizations and individuals the opportunity to participate.

Civil Society Organizations, based in EU countries, who are interested in joining the programme need to apply and get certified as sending organizations while the ones based in a third country need to get certified as hosting organizations. This is a process that guarantees high standards and procedures for volunteer management that will ensure the safety of volunteers during their deployment. Having received their certification, the organisations will build a transnational consortium or partnership and submit applications for funding to support the sending or the hosting of volunteers or deployment projects.

On the other hand, at an individual level, all European citizens or long-term residents of an EU member state that are above 18 years of age are eligible to apply for the volunteerism opportunities available. There are two types of opportunities on offers:

  1.    Full-time volunteering deployment in a humanitarian aid project around the world for between one and 18 months
  2.    Online volunteering opportunities to support humanitarian aid projects through the provision of knowledge and expertise to an organisation on the field. This option is open to any nationality.

All volunteers deployed will receive financial coverage which will cover the period of training before deployment, the training on their location of work, travel costs and travel insurance. The financial support package to volunteers while on deployment includes accommodation, local travel, insurance, ongoing learning, development, a monthly allowance while on deployment, and a resettlement allowance to help with expenses when returning home.

Applications for volunteering positions on the field follow the standard procedures of a work position. All vacancies are announced on the central page of the initiative including the vacancy requirements. Volunteers are expected to submit their CVs, undergo an interview and participate in the training process required. Even though volunteers do not need any aid experience to apply, they do need to meet the specific requirements mentioned in each vacancy. Positions are divided into junior positions (less than 5 years of experience) and senior positions (more than 5 years of experience).

The EU Aid Initiative, through its structure and support, is inherently investing in the capacity building of humanitarian organisations, local communities and first responders in disaster-affected countries to create a more effective, principled humanitarian response. More information on the initiative and how to participate can be found on the following EU websites:

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/humanitarian-aid/eu-aid-volunteers_en

https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/echo/eu-aid-volunteers_en/

For further assistance you can also contact Natasa Ioannou, NGO Support Centre, [email protected] and 22875099

 

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