01 Nov Focus on the European Voluntary Service
Focus on the European Voluntary Service (EVS)
The European Union, through its programme “Erasmus+” (programme focusing on Youth and Vocational and long-life training) give the opportunity to young people between 17 and 30 years-old to commit themselves through unpaid and full-time voluntary service up to 12 months in another country within or outside the European Union. During their service, they will participate to the daily work of organisations dealing on different topics (from youth information and policies, to social care, environmental organisations etc, see database of organisations involved in EVS and the services that they are offering here).
European Voluntary Services can take very different forms according to the activities proposed, the organisations involved and their environment. However an EVS is not a placement in a company; an occasional, unstructured, part-time volunteering; a language course; an exploitation of a cheap workforce etc.
Participating organisations, like IFALL, are responsible for arranging subsitence, lodging and transports of volunteers, providing to volunteers an on-going support (linguistic, personal, administrative and linked to the tasks givent ot the volunteer). When their projects are selected, they receive grants from the European Union to implement these EVS. Volunteers thus do not earn money during this period, but their basic needs are covered (accommodation, food, health insurance and transportation).
For EVS lasting more than 6 months, an on-arrival training and a mid-term evaluation are organised (in the case of Sweden) by the National Agency (the organisation reponsible at the National Level for the implementation of this European Programme) for the volunteers. In Sweden, two trainers are currently accredited by the National Agency to organise these trainings. These trainings are taking place in Stockholm, at “Bromma Folkhögskola”
As you may know, this year IFALL hosts two volunteers for 10 months , Laura and myself. Between the 20th and 23rd October, we went to Stockholm for our on-arrival training. It gathered 17 volunteers, from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Georgia, Armenia, Egypt, Russia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The other volunteers are spread throughout Sweden, from Malmö to Sundsvall, Göteborg to Visby.
During the training we met a representative of the National Agency with whom we discussed the problems that international volunteers can face during their stay in Sweden. We aslo reflected on our personal projects (why are we here? what do we want to achieve?) and started to think about our Youthpass. The Youthpass is a document delivered by hosting organisations (e.g. organisations in which volunteers are doing their EVS) certifying the tasks carried out by volunteers and the key competences developed during this experience.