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Aid workers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for aid workers.


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EU development policy seeks to foster the sustainable development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty. Providing over 50 % of all global development aid, the EU and its member countries are collectively the world’s leading donor. For example, development assistance provided by the EU and its members totalled €75.5 billion in 2016.

© Joseph Sohm / Fotolia

If you work or volunteer for an NGO (non-governmental organisation) in the field of development you and your organisation may be benefiting from a number of EU programmes and measures.

For instance, NGOs can get funding via grants and contracts under various humanitarian aid and assistance programmes and initiatives. Grants are direct financial contributions to organisations, or to projects carried out by them. Contracts are meanwhile awarded for the purchase of services, supplies or works.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) provides funding for NGOs, international organisations and United Nations agencies carrying out humanitarian work on the ground in many countries around the world. In addition, the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), regularly publishes open calls for tender.

The EU Aid Volunteers programme offers people from all over the EU opportunities to become EU aid volunteers in humanitarian projects worldwide. NGOs can also use Erasmus+ to attract young people from around the EU who might be interested in taking part in volunteering projects.

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