EVS program supports youth participation in various forms of volunteer activity, both in the European Union and beyond. Such projects include youth volunteers in non-profit activities for the benefit of countries other than their country of residence.
EVS is a service that provides an opportunity for a long-time volunteering abroad or in a non-profit or social organization without incurring the special financial costs because program is granted by European Union! EVS is implemented in the first key action of the European Union programs in the field of international youth mobility. This action is called Erasmus+.
The objectives of Erasmus +:
- Personal, educational and vocational development of young people through non-formal education;
- Development of partnership relations between the two countries;
- Promotion of tolerance and civic engagement among youth.
The motto of the program – “Learning by doing”, ie, “I’m learning, working.”
European Voluntary Service is based on the following principles:
- increasing your own skills through the practical experience of volunteering abroad;
- encouraging the learning of another language;
- developing the ability to interact with persons of different language and culture;
- spreading tolerance among young people of the European Union;
- promoting active citizenship;
- supporting the development of local communities.
Conditions of participation:
- Volunteers can be only from 17 to 30 years (30 years at the time of submission of the grant application by the project);
- Projects can be short terms (from 2 weeks to 2 months) and long terms (lasts from 2 to 12 months);
- It’s possible to participate in EVS only once in life (BUT if at first time it was short term project, it’s possible to participate one time more however overall duration on two project must be no more than 12 months).
- Volunteer working hours are 30-35 hours (5 working days) per week;
- Volunteer can’t earn money during the project;
- Volunteer has 2 days off per month during the project (besides weekends) that can be used separately (every month) or together;
- Knowledge of foreign language is necessary for communication with host organization. It must be at least a basic level of English or the national language of the country where project holds.
- Projects have different topics but mostly links with social spheres: children, young people, people with disabilities, the elderly; animals and the protection of their rights; ecology; protection of human rights, the fight against racism, etc.;
- The motto of the program – “Volunteering for all”, so there are no strict requirements to skills of volunteer. Target group is youth, so it’s a cool opportunity for them to gain valuable life and working experience, which will help in the future to find vocation and work. The most important requirement to volunteer – a great motivation, a strong desire to help, to be a part of the program, to take the initiative and enthusiasm in carrying out their tasks;
Besides, during the EVS project the volunteer have the space and opportunity to implement their own ideas. It means that 20-30% of working time volunteer can do what he/she wants to the own project – to lead language courses, make a presentation about native country, organize events, write cook book – what you and the organization seems to be important and necessary.
EVS is NOT:
- Random, unsystematic, part-time volunteering;
- Internship in company;
- Paid work (the EVS volunteer may only be a helper, assistant. It’s not usual paid employee);
- Vocation or tourist trip;
- Language course;
- The use of cheap labor;
Most often, EVS projects is individual program. It means that organizations prefer to take a group of volunteers from different countries, one from each, or invite only one volunteer. So it’s not big possibility to go to the project with friend.
Exception is short term projects: sometimes organization can take about 10 volunteers per time, where 2-3 people from country. But there are not so much projects like this.
1) Project Grant covers 100% of transport costs of volunteer from hometown to the project within the limits:
- For travel distances between 100 and 499 KM: 180 EUR per participant
- For travel distances between 500 and 1999 KM: 275 EUR per participant
- For travel distances between 2000 and 2999 KM: 360 EUR per participant
- For travel distances between 3000 and 3999 KM: 530 EUR per participant
- For travel distances between 4000 and 7999 KM: 820 EUR per participant;
Distance calculator is here. Often host organization asks participants to buy tickets by themselves and reimburse money when volunteer comes to the project. It’s like an “airbag” for host organization that volunteer will really come and not refuse.
2) The visa costs are reimbursed at 100%;
3) During the project, a volunteer receives pocket money (the specific amount depends on the country and varies from 90 to 120 euros per month);
4) The host organization provides accommodation in a rented apartment (in most cases with other volunteers) or a host family;
5) Food for volunteer is also provided: almost always host organization just also gives money for that but it can vary (this is discussed in advance);
6) If the volunteer needs to get to work from home on public transport, these costs are paid;
7) During whole time of project volunteer has ‘Cigna’ medical insurance;
8) NO registration fee for participation in EVS project.
Finance conditions are the same for short term and long term projects.
What gets a volunteer from participation in EVS program?
This is a unique experience that will allow volunteer to live abroad, learn the language and customs of another country, “dive” into the local culture. During the project, it’s usual to break some personal stereotypes in head about other countries, expand horizons, meet interesting people from all over the world, gain experience in area of interest and much, muuuuuch more!
An official confirmation of participation in EVS is Youthpass. Youthpass is a European recognition tool for non-formal and informal learning in youth work. With Youthpass the participants of projects can describe what they have done and show what they have learned.