Volunteering

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Volunteering within EU – guidelines – a must read for every to-be a volunteer.


Important note – EVS has been reframed and renamed as European Solidarity Corps.

Before you leave for volunteering or before you decide to apply to an volunteering project, please, consider this information as something that might allow you to feel more secure and see yourself as a partner in a volunteering project.

Check also the video at the bottom of this page!

European Solidarity Corps is only one form of opportunities to provide volunteering services in the world, and more specifically in the European Union.
If you don’t comply with those principles and guidelines, it is better to consider other options, too.

We are sure you can find the best project that fits your goals for growth and need to contribute.
If you need assistance, please, use the contact form on this website and we will do our best to support you by giving information, connecting to partner NGOs which have placements etc.
And remember – volunteering is serving. Join only if you are ready to serve and learn.

Informal volunteering – is giving unpaid help as an individual to other people who are not relatives, such as getting an elderly neighbor’s shopping, clearing snow from the streets, and so on. There are many theories out there in the world wide web related to this type of volunteering, however the bottom line is that this is a productive and vigorous way to be mentally and physically healthy. Helping others and working on a community projects is proven to bring more joy and meaning into peoples’ lives.

Find out volunteering opportunities and information:
https://smokinya.com/news/volunteering/

Learn more about our local initiatives here:
https://smokinya.com/join-us/

Preparation platform for new volunteers:
https://www.iprepare.eu/

Our own guide for successful application (in Bulgarian language):
https://smokinya.com/2018/01/erasmus-plus-successful-participation-guide-for-youth/

Read below and check-out the files.

European Solidarity Corps Programme guide


What is Volunteering?

In the context of the European Solidarity Corps, Volunteering is a solidarity activity that takes the form of a full-time (at least 30 and not more than 38 hours per week) voluntary unpaid activity for a period of up to 12 months. It provides young people with the opportunity to contribute to the daily work of organisations in solidarity activities to the ultimate benefit of the communities within which the activities are carried out. As the main mechanism for promoting solidarity as a value, volunteering helps to overcome important societal challenges and addresses the needs of local communities. It also enables young people to acquire useful experience, skills and competences for their personal, educational, social, civic and professional development, thereby improving their employability and active citizenship.

Volunteering can take place in a broad range of areas, such as in the fields of environmental protection, climate change mitigation and greater social inclusion. It does not include activities that are part of curricula in formal education, vocational education and training systems and activities for emergency response, and must not interfere with the functioning of the labour market.

Activities supported under Volunteering must constitute a rich experience in a non-formal and informal learning context, which enhances young people’s competences. They must not substitute traineeships or jobs and should be based on a written volunteering agreement.

Volunteering should cover the participants’ expenditure arising from participation in such solidarity activities but should not provide them with salaries or an economic benefit. Participation in volunteering activities must be free of charge for the volunteer, with the exception of possible contributions to travel costs (if the grant does not fully cover these costs) and additional expenses not linked to the implementation of the activity.

Volunteering activities are open to all young people, including people with fewer opportunities. Volunteers are to be selected in a fair, transparent and objective way, regardless of their ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, political opinion, etc. No previous qualifications, educational level, specific experience or language knowledge must be required. A more specific profile of the volunteer might be drawn up if justified by the nature of the tasks of the activity or by the project context.

The following activities are not considered as volunteering activities within the framework of ESC: occasional, unstructured, part-time volunteering; a work placement in an enterprise; a paid job; a recreation or tourist activity; a language course; exploitation of a cheap workforce; a period of study or vocational training abroad.

Individual Volunteering is a solidarity activity ofa duration of 2 to 12 months. This type of solidarity activity provides young people with the opportunity to contribute to the daily work of organisations in solidarity activities to the ultimate benefit of the communities within which the activities are carried out.

In duly justified cases, especially to encourage the participation of young people with fewer opportunities, volunteering activities of 2 weeks –2 months can be accepted and implemented. Individual volunteering activities can take place:

– Cross-border i.e. activities taking place in a country different from the country of residence of the participant(s); or
– In-country,i.e. activities taking place in the same country as the country of residence of the participant. For instance, to encourage and facilitate the participation of young people with fewer opportunities, to provide opportunities where national schemes do not exist.


Volunteering teams are solidarity activities that allow teams of participants coming from at least two different countries to volunteer together for a period between 2 weeks and 2 months. Such solidarity activities could especially contribute to the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in the European Solidarity Corps. At least a quarter of the volunteers must come from a country other than the one where the activity takes place. In volunteering teams, European Solidarity Corps’ volunteers will carry out tasks for a project over a short period of time (usually, but not exclusively, during holidays, breaks between study periods, transition from education to work, etc.). Despite their shorter duration, these activities willbe valuable both for the individuals and for the communities benefiting from this service.

Examples of the valuable work that can be accomplished even over a short period of time include: e.g. restoring cultural heritage damaged by natural disaster, catering for species threatened by extinction; organising educational activities in refugee camps, etc.

The advantages of this specific type of group activities compared to standard individual volunteering activities include the following:

– Volunteers will carry out the activity in a group. This can be an incentive for youngsters who do not feel ready to embark into challenging experiences on their own;
– The activity will be shorter in its duration. This can foster the participation of those youngsters who cannot commit for a long period of time because of their studies or jobs, but still want to be of help for the community.


Useful documents and links:

Freaquently Asked Question about European Solidarity Corps

European Solidarity Corps Charter

European Solidarity Corps Info kit website

European Solidarity Corps Info kit PDF

European Solidarity Corps Mission and Principles

CIGNA in ESC VOLUNTEERING

CIGNA details PDF

Youthpass in volunteering

European Youth Portal

European Solidarity Corps

Find Volunteering projects

Erasmus+ Programme Guide

Erasmus+ Opportunities and How to apply

Database of accredited volunteering organisations

EVS Galaxy Guide for Volunteering

Hopscotch Plus in EVS

Mentoring and Pre-Departure Training in EU volunteering. Ideas, tools and suggestions for practice


Other important volunteering links:

Mentor’s Guide European Voluntary Service

Guide for (EVS) Mentors

Erasmus+ Programme Guide

Erasmus+ Programme Document Library

Bulgarian National Agency Human Resource Development Center

 

Thanks to Olde Vechte Foundation for this video!

 


Alberto Nalda – EVSer in Norway, has made videos about his experience.