Written by Alina Dobreva with Philipp Wegner,
Volunteering brings practical relief to communities hit by natural or man-made disasters. It also raises volunteers’ awareness and strengthens their sense of solidarity with victims, and helps them to acquire professional skills and experience. The EU Aid Volunteers initiative (EUAV) promotes volunteering among young Europeans, breaking down the barriers volunteers face, including non-recognition of skills and social security entitlements gained in the role, lack of information, proper training and preparation, to satisfy the increased need for well-trained and skilled volunteers. The EUAV’s main objectives are ‘to contribute to strengthening the EU’s capacity to provide needs-based humanitarian aid’ and to communicate the EU’s aid principles. The EUAV is also meant to increase the capacity of hosting organisations in third countries, and improve cooperation among volunteering organisations across the EU.
The EUAV is endowed with a budget of €148 million for the 2014-2020 period, with around 40% of this to be spent on deployment, around 50% on capacity-building, and the rest on technical assistance. Deployed volunteers will be supported by funds for training, insurance, travel and a monthly subsistence allowance. Following a pilot phase in 2011-2014 (12 projects around the world), the initiative launched officially in 2016 and is expected to support 4 000 volunteers from different professional backgrounds until 2020. Additionally, the EUAV will provide an online volunteering platform that allows volunteers and organisations to communicate and work on disaster-related assignments in a collaborative way, without leaving their country or job. Over the same period, 10 000 online volunteers are expected to use this platform.
Read the complete briefing on ‘How the EU budget is spent: EU Aid Volunteers initiative‘.