About EVS

What is an EVS project?

The European Voluntary Service enables young people to carry out voluntary service for up to 12 months in a country other than their country of residence. It fosters solidarity among young people and is a true ‘learning service’. Beyond benefiting local communities, volunteers learn new skills and languages, and discover other cultures. Non-formal learning principles and practice are reflected throughout the project.

An EVS project can focus on a variety of themes and areas, such as culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, arts, civil protection, environment, development cooperation, etc. High-risk interventions in immediate post-crisis situations (e.g. humanitarian aid, immediate disaster relief, etc.) are excluded.

What is an EVS Activity?

An EVS project has three essential components:

The Service: the volunteer(s) is/are hosted by a promoter in a country other than their country of residence and carry out voluntary service for the benefit of the local community. The service is unpaid, non profitmaking and full-time. An EVS project can include between 1 and 30 volunteers who can do their Service either individually or in a (or several) group(s). For any given group, volunteers carry out their Service in the same time-frame and the tasks they carry out are linked to a common thematic.

Ongoing volunteer support: the promoters must provide personal, task-related, linguistic and administrative support to each volunteer involved in the project. For further information, please consult section ‘What else should you know about EVS?’ under this Action.

EVS Training and Evaluation Cycle: besides the support provided to the volunteers by the promoters involved in the project, the National Agencies or regional SALTOs organise the following Training and Evaluation sessions to be attended by each volunteer:

– on-arrival training

– mid-term evaluation (for a Service lasting more than 6 months).

Who can participate?

Young people aged between 18 and 30, legally resident in the country of the Sending Organisation.

Volunteers are selected regardless of their background.

Volunteers with fewer opportunities can participate from the age of 16.

A volunteer can take part in only one EVS project. Exception: volunteers who have carried out an EVS lasting less than 2 months can take part in an additional EVS project provided that the total duration of the combined periods of Service does not exceed 12 months.

In which Countries?

A distinction is made between Programme Countries and Partner Countries.

Programme Countries

The following are Programme Countries:

Neighbouring Partner Countries

The Youth in Action Programme supports cooperation between Programme Countries and the following

Other Partner Countries of the World

Cooperation is possible with the Other Partner Countries of the World listed below which have signed agreements with the European Union relevant to the youth field. Only volunteers from Programme countries can take part in EVS projects in Other Partner Countries.

How long?

Services carried out by a group of at least 10 volunteers: the Service lasts a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 12 months.

Services of young people with fewer opportunities: the Service lasts a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 12 months.

Any other service: a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 12 months.

Any Service lasting more than two months has to start at the beginning of the month (i.e. within the first seven days of the month).
Who are the promoters?

Each promoter must be:
– a non profit/non governmental organisation; or
– a local, regional public body; or
– a body active at European level in the youth field; or
– an international governmental organisation; or
– a profit-making organisation (only when it organises an event in the area of youth, sport or culture).

Each promoter must be from a Programme Country, a Neighbouring Partner Country or an Other Partner Country of the World.

Each promoter must sign the Preliminary Agreement included in the application form.

The project promoters established in a Programme Country, in South East Europe or in Eastern Europe and Caucasus must be accredited.

Two or more promoters from different countries, of which at least one is from an EU country. In case of projects developed in cooperation with Partner Countries, the number of promoters from Partner Countries cannot exceed the number of promoters from Programme Countries.

What is the role of promoters in an EVS project?

Promoters involved in the EVS project perform the following roles and tasks:

– Coordinating Organisation (CO): the CO assumes the role of applicant and carries the financial and administrative responsibility for the entire project vis-à-vis the National or Executive Agency. The CO doesn’t necessarily have to be an SO or HO in the project (although it may be). In EVS projects involving only one volunteer, either the SO or the HO is CO. There can be only one CO in an EVS project.

– Sending Organisation (SO): an SO recruits and sends one or more volunteers. There can be one or more SOs in an EVS project.

– Host Organisation (HO): an HO receives one or more volunteers. There can be one ore more HOs in an EVS project.
What EVS is not?

– occasional, unstructured, part-time volunteering
– an internship in an enterprise
– a paid job; it must not replace paid jobs
– a recreation or tourist activity
– a language course
– exploitation of a cheap workforce
– a period of study or vocational training abroad.

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