The European Voluntary Service (EVS) offers young Europeans between 18 and 30 years of age the unique opportunity to express their personal commitment by participating in full-time and unpaid volunteer activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. The objective is the development of values such as solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people.
Participation is free for volunteers (except for a possible contribution equivalent to a maximum of 10% of the travel costs); They are also provided with board and lodging, insurance and a small allowance for the duration of the project. There are special conditions to encourage the participation of young people with few opportunities. For example, these young people have the possibility to participate from the age of 16. More information can be found in the Youth in Action Program Guide, as well as in the program's inclusion strategy.
EVS activities can be carried out individually or in groups. Currently, up to 30 volunteers can participate in the same project.
The European Voluntary Service covers a wide range of areas, such as culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, art, civil protection, the environment, development cooperation, etc. One of the things that all activities have in common is a clear intercultural and European learning dimension. EVS is a mutually beneficial process, in which everyone wins by getting to know each other's culture.
In addition to benefiting target communities, by participating in volunteer activities, young volunteers can develop new skills and thus enhance their professional, educational and personal development. Hence, your learning experience is formally recognized by a certificate (Youthpass). By means of this certificate, the European Commission guarantees that the volunteering activity is recognized as an educational experience and an informal learning period. The achievement report is completed jointly by the volunteer and the host or coordinating organization and is delivered directly to the volunteer at the end of the service.
How to participate in the European Voluntary Service (EVS)
Currently the EVS only sends volunteers to areas where there are branches of its own organization. A list can be found in the Long-Term Volunteering section of your
Useful addresses: British Council | Youth Networks
1) Find a shipping organization.
The EVS program has a system of approved sending organizations (Sending Organizations or SO) that are in charge of recruiting, preparing, sending volunteers and maintaining contact with them during their volunteer stay. Options:
- Enroll in an organization already approved in our area: your contact information is available at SVE database - see European database of organizations accredited by EVS. For more information, contact the National Agency if we live in a country with a Program or with the regional SALTO Resource Centers if we live in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, in the Euro-Mediterranean region or in Southeast Europe.
- Ensure that an organization that we already know requests the approval of the EVS: the EVS has certain fundamental values and quality standards that are specified in its constitution document. To protect them, organizations interested in sending or receiving volunteers or coordinating an EVS project must first be accredited. To achieve accreditation, organizations send an application and, once approved, become part of the official list. Accreditations are valid for three years, but can be revoked immediately in case of not complying with the provisions of the constitution document.
2) Find a host place
Each shipping organization works differently, however they all have the following responsibilities in common:
- Help us find a suitable destination
- Negotiate the terms of our volunteering with the organization of reception (start and end dates of volunteering, working hours, accommodation conditions, etc.)
- Apply for a scholarship to the European Commission to cover the costs of our volunteering
- Help us prepare for the experience abroad (for example, with language training, our rights and responsibilities as volunteers, information about the country, problem-solving techniques, etc.)
- Keep in touch with us throughout the experience (by email or phone) and carry out some kind of follow-up when you return.
3) Complete the application
Once the three parties (sending organization, volunteer and host organization) reach an agreement, the organizations will apply for funding from the European Commission. The scholarship covers travel expenses, insurance, accommodation, training and some money (with variations depending on the destination).
There are 5 deadlines per year for submitting applications:
For activities that start between:
May 1 and September 30
July 1 November 30
September 1 and January 31
December 1 and April 30
February 1 and June 30
4) Approval of the request
The answer is usually made known between a month and a half and two months after the application deadline.
EVS project finder (in English)
EVS project finder (in Spanish)
Frequently asked questions about EVS European Volunteering:
Is it necessary to know the language of the destination country in an EVS?
The selection of volunteers should not be based on their knowledge of the language, unless a minimum knowledge is required to perform a specific task. Volunteers receive linguistic support during the project to ensure their integration. The host organization is responsible for providing this language assistance, which may consist of formal language classes or other more informal learning techniques.
Are specific skills necessary to participate in a European volunteering EVS project?
The selection of volunteers should not be based on the skills or knowledge of the volunteers. Since the service is open to everyone. However, in justified cases, a certain sensitivity or skill may be mentioned as a plus for a specific task.
Is any training received during the EVS project?
Yes, participating organizations must offer volunteers training events upon arrival and in the middle of the project. The training will be related to the needs of the project: fundamentals of volunteering and social commitment; information on the Youth in Action program and on EVS values; intercultural learning, conflict resolution, group dynamics, etc.
Who can help me if I have visa problems?
Sending, hosting and coordinating organizations are responsible for helping us obtain the necessary visas. Participating in the EVS does not exempt us from following the country's visa regulations. It is important to know that there are great differences between the regulations of the different countries. The document "General Recommendations for Visa / Residence Permit Applications" (general recommendations for applications for residence permits / visas) contains useful recommendations to complete the procedures for these permits / visas. In specific cases or in which difficulties arise, the Executive Agency (volunteer help office) or the National Agencies can draft a letter and a clarifying note that supports our visa application. Ask the sending or coordinating organization to contact these services in case they need help in obtaining the visa.
|More information about EVS European Volunteering:|