Volunteer management

The main aim of the EU Aid Volunteers programme is to have competent volunteers take part in humanitarian aid projects to support the most vulnerable populations, through both presence in the field and online volunteering action.

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Who an EU Aid Volunteer is/ EU Aid Volunteer identikit

An EU Aid Volunteer is a trained, highly motivated person over 18 (the only age limit), who is a European citizen or a long-term resident in one of the EU member states.

The Deployment projects involve participation by junior and senior volunteers

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2 Volunteers

Volunteer A

Junior

Are generally recent graduates with less than 3 years’ work experience in the sector specified in the vacancy profile

Volunteer B

Senior

have at least 5 years’ work experience, in qualified positions of responsibility.

Volunteer selection and role definition are carried out by both the sending and hosting organisations through vacancy advertisements on the EU Aid Volunteers platform, and require respect for Standards 2 and 5 listed below.

Requirements for the organizations on legal framework

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2 Requirements

Standard 2

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND NON-DISCRIMINATION

The organisations concerned shall uphold a zero tolerance stance to discrimination of any kind, offering all the people involved in the programme equal, fair and transparent access to the various opportunities. Thus the organisations must develop and implement equal opportunities and non-discrimination policies.

  • What forms of discrimination might exist in the country?
  • What measures are adopted to avoid these (training, briefing…)?
  • Are we in line with national and European legislation?
  • Who should I contact if a standard is not respected?
  • How does the staff and volunteer selection and recruiting process take place?

Standard 5

DATA PROTECTION

The programme candidates’ and the volunteers’ personal data collected during the selection process, training and activity implementation in the field must be handled in accordance with the data protection laws in force, in order to avoid any fine, reputation loss or suspension from operations resulting from non-compliance with the European personal data regulations.

  • Do we comply with the European directive and data protection regulations regarding our staff, our volunteers and our beneficiaries?
  • How do we ensure prevention of inappropriate personal data use?
  • How do we control and monitor that inappropriate use does not occur?

Definition of volunteer profiles (including the choice between junior and senior) takes place through careful evaluation of the needs of the hosting organisations and the beneficiary communities in the projects to be implemented. These may range from general profiles to other more specific ones (project manager, WASH specialist, gender or communication expert….). After a first-round candidate selection by the organisations, based on the documents sent in response to the vacancy advertisement, these candidates take part in compulsory training (on line and in person) as set out in the initiative, and which ends with simulation of various possible emergency situations. Only candidates who pass the training and assessment become eligible as EU Aid Volunteers. The hosting organisation, taking into account the candidate’s experience, skills and performance during training, then selects the volunteer accepted for deployment.   The sending organisation has to set up an induction for the chosen volunteer before sending her/him to the third country. This compulsory training and induction may also be paired with apprenticeship at the sending organisation’s offices in the case of junior volunteers (lasting maximum 6 months), with the aim of building the competences required for the fieldwork. When the volunteer arrives in the destination country, it is the hosting organisation’s responsibility to respect the standards required by the initiative, ensuring health, safety, security and protection measures as well as adequate living and working conditions.   Upon returning to his/her country of origin, a volunteer has to take part in debriefing with the sending organisation to discuss the experience, generate feedback on the initiative, finalise the learning and development plan, and inform the volunteer regarding further opportunities in humanitarian aid and in active European citizenship. Lastly, the volunteer may be involved in activities to publicise the initiative and give it greater visibility; these take place at the offices of the sending organisations and European institutions.

  • Remember! The costs of training, accommodation, visas, travel and insurance are fully covered by the project, and the volunteer is also provided with a monthly subsistence allowance for out-of-pocket expenses, the amount of which is set by the European Union based on the cost of living in the destination country.

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The path to joining EU Aid Volunteers

The volunteer deployment process involves various steps during which the candidate, besides undergoing assessment, is also trained and prepared for the experience

Path to become EU Aid Volunteers

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Phase 1

Search for possible volunteer opportunities on the DG ECHO official web page, in the section on the EU Aid Volunteers programme

Phase 2

Submit a request for EU Aid Volunteers opportunities (application form, letter of motivation, self-assessment questionnaire, CV in Europass format)

Phase 3

First-round selection process and interview

Phase 4

Participation in online and in-person training

Phase 5

Final selection

Phase 6

Induction at the sending organisation’s offices and contract signing

Phase 7

Start of activities (departure for the destination country, if pertinent, or apprenticeship)

Phase 8

Return to the country of origin

Phase 9

Debriefing (with both the sending organisation and European institutions involved)

Phase 10

Participation in publicity and visibility events

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Testimonies

During their period of service, the volunteers involved in the programme are asked to narrate their work experience, and to write up stories from the field for inclusion on the official DG ECHO portal and the sending organisations’ platforms. This enables volunteers to have the whole world hear their voices as well as those of the beneficiaries they have worked with. It also draws extra worth from the volunteers’ competences and accentuates the effectiveness of European humanitarian aid; it makes European citizens more aware about EU humanitarian intervention and its volunteers; and it encourages other potential candidates to take part in the initiative. The volunteers become authentic ambassadors for the initiative and European solidarity.

  • Remember! These communication activities are as compulsory as the others, and should be planned and completed either during or after deployment, with the assistance of the Communication Focal Point at the sending organisation or consortium.

To go further into the EUAV world, to discover the activities they carry out, to share with them the feeling of being part of something, you can find stories from the field at the following links:

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