The Youth in Action programme offers young Europeans the chance to make a real difference to the world – and to their own lives – through the European Voluntary Service.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) provides young Europeans with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. In this way, it seeks to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, thus contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the European Union and to promoting young people’s active citizenship.
Learning for life!
Open to all young people aged 18 to 30, EVS is a true ‘learning service’. Beyond benefiting the local communities, by participating in voluntary activities, young volunteers can develop new skills and, therefore, improve their personal, educational and professional development. Volunteers can benefit from specific training throughout the activity and agree on their expected learning outcomes, processes and methods in advance. Their learning experience is formally recognised through a Youthpass. Participation is free for the volunteers (except for a possible contribution of a maximum of 10% of the travel costs) who also get board and lodging, insurance cover and an allowance for the duration of the project. Special conditions apply to encourage the participation of young people with fewer opportunities. For instance, they can participate as of the age of 16. Further information can be found in the Youth in Action Programme Guide as well as in the Inclusion Strategy of the Programme.
Co-operation and friendships
A successful EVS project requires close co-operation among at least three key players: a sending organisation, a host organisation and the volunteer. One of the organisations involved in this partnership also plays the role of coordinating organisation and applies for an EU grant on behalf of the partnership. Organisations perform a number of roles: they identify volunteering opportunities and develop projects that benefit the local community. They also recruit and prepare the volunteers, host them, and ensure follow-up.
EVS activities can be carried out both individually or in group. Up to 30 volunteers can now participate in the same EVS project!
The European Voluntary Service spans a wide range of areas, such as culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, the arts, civil protection, the environment, development co-operation, etc. One thing all the activities have in common is a clear European and intercultural learning dimension. EVS is a mutually beneficial process, where everybody gains from getting to know the other’s culture.