EU Aid Volunteers is an initiative which has been developed by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) of the European Commission and is grounded on the Treaty of Lisbon. Its overall aim is to provide international volunteer opportunities for Europeans to engage in humanitarian aid and civil protection activities around the world. The EU Aid Volunteers project is sponsoring several pilot projects which will contribute to laying the grounds for a community of European volunteers active in the field.
The European Commission set out its plans to develop a global initiative that will create opportunities for some 10,000 people from 2014-2020 to volunteer worldwide in humanitarian operations.
The Commission proposed to develop European standards for managing volunteers in humanitarian projects and a European training programme. Trained volunteers will be deployed as EU Aid Volunteers in humanitarian projects worldwide. A network of EU Aid Volunteers will be created, so they can interact with and support each other before, during and after deployment. Other people can also get involved through online volunteering supporting volunteers already in the field or helping humanitarian organisations with tasks that can be done from home on a computer.
The Commission proposed to certify humanitarian organisations that adhere to the European standards of managing humanitarian volunteers. These organisations can identify suitable humanitarian projects and apply for EU grants to deploy EU Aid Volunteers.
EU Aid Volunteers are trained together and will be examined after the training as to their readiness to be deployed. Where needed, the training can include office-based experience in a European humanitarian organisation, before going into the field.
The proposed initiative also includes training for local staff and volunteers of organisations in countries hit by disasters where the EU Aid Volunteers will work.
Legal basis: Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps ("EU Aid Volunteers initiative")
€ 147,94 million (current prices)
The budget will be used for an extensive training package, deployment, capacity building in communities hit by disasters and supporting activities.
EU Aid Volunteers have to be over 18 years of age and have to be citizens or long-term residents in the EU and certain other European countries.
The initiative is open for different profiles of candidates: They can be newcomers, i.e. people who want to gain experience in the humanitarian sector, and experts or retired citizens who want to help out with their specialist knowledge. Preparation and deployment opportunities will depend on the level of skills and competences. Inexperienced volunteers will not be sent to projects where security is a concern.