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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


AFS - Vredeseilanden

EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
EVS accreditation expiry date 01/10/2016
Location Leuven, Belgium
Organisation topics
Development cooperation
Urban/Rural development
Inclusion topics

EVS accreditation number


For more information about volunteering and European Voluntary Service in particular, visit the Voluntary Activities section of this website.

Please note, information about organisations and projects is only available in English.
Project Environment

Outline the project environment for the suggested voluntary Service, including the local community where the project will take place (e.g. geographical, social and economical environment). If the host placement is located in a live-in community, please include the rules and conditions that apply also for the volunteer.

The volunteer will be based in the head office of the international NGO Vredeseilanden. This office is located in the city center of Leuven, (Belgium), a well known university town in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. The University is one of the oldest universities in the world. Leuven has approximately 90,000 inhabitants. Add to these the 35,000 post-secondary and 11,000 secondary school students and it should come as no surprise that the streets are filled with young faces and that the city lives at a student's rhythm: hectic weeks at the beginning of the academic year and relative calm during vacation and examination periods.
From Leuven there are easy train connections to Brussels (about 20min) and other Belgian cities, which makes it easy to travel.

About 45 staff of all ages are working in the Vredeseilanden office, that was recently renovated to turn it into a really sustainable and cosy office. From this place the Vredeseilanden programmes all over the world are coordinated. Staff and volunteers also organise a lot of activities and events all over Flanders, and surely the volunteer can be involved in these activities as well.
Some staff are working full time, others part time, and those who live quite far from the office work 1 or 2 days from home. So we definitely have space for an extra volunteer !

Proposed activities for EVS volunteers:
Please explain:
• what you can offer to volunteers in terms of Service and learning opportunities,
• what will be the role of EVS volunteers in the Host Organisation,
• the activities in which the volunteers could be involved and the activities the volunteers could create in your organisation. Please give examples of typical activities/tasks for the volunteers.

Vredeseilanden supports farmers and their organisations in various product chains. We set up projects in close collaboration with other stakeholders. During various evaluation and reflection phases, we try to document our activities and insights, and make publications (print, but also video’s or creative presentations) as a learning exercise. The EVS volunteer can play an active role in this, thus getting a good view of what development projects are about. We count on the volunteers eagerness, creativity and editorial skills to make at least one good case study.

We also have an international website www.veco-ngo.org, but we could use some help in updating it regularily and send out newsletters. For this, the volunteer will work with staff of the communication team and sometime communication officers worldwide.

Apart from these two main tasks, we will also involve the volunteer in other activities, like fundraising events, an “open house” day, or preparing presentations at head office, so that she/he really becomes a member of the Vredeseilanden family.

The EVS volunteer is expected to work out 1 specific case study. The topic will be determined in agreement between the volunteer and Vredeseilanden. Vredeseilanden will provide the necessary support and possibly additional training to make sure that the volunteer can perform this task well.

A regular workweek is 34,5 hours from Monday to Friday. Monday 9 – 17.00 and Tuesday to Friday 9 – 14.00, with half an hour lunch break.
A workweek of the EVS volunteer will consist of a combination of tasks
- document the Vredeseilanden activities and insights, and make publications (print, but also video’s or creative presentations): 35%
- work on the international website: 35%
- send out newsletters: 5 %
- administration communication department: 20%
- support fundraising events, an “open house” day, preparing presentations at head office: 5%
Occasionally, the EVS volunteer will need to work evenings or weekends (eg “open house “day on Saturday).
The volunteer will get 2 days off each month. The volunteer needs to inform the project about the exact dates that he/she would like to take off. He/she should also take in account the dates of special activities of the project .
The coordinating host organisation AFS will organise a host family stay and language courses. The volunteer will receive 30 hours of Dutch lesson spread over the 8 or 10 first weeks of the project.

Volunteer profiles and recruitment process:
Please describe the profiles of volunteers you would like to receive in your organisation. Include information on how you ensure an open and transparent recruitment process as well as the overall accessibility of EVS to all young people. Consider further information about the type of Sending Organisation you want to cooperate with. This information can help the match-making between volunteer candidates, Sending Organisations and your organisation.

AFS, the coordinating host organisation, strongly believes in the intercultural learning aspect of an EVS-experience. Therefore, the volunteer will be living with a volunteer host family, as we believe this is the best introduction to Flemish culture and a great opportunity to integrate in the local community. Candidates should be willing to share in the host family's daily life (spend some free time with them, occasionally join the family on activities outside the house, eat together, give a helping hand in the household... ) and should be motivated to live with and learn about Flemish people of different ages and opinions. They should also be willing to adapt to the local eating habits. On the other hand, we guarantee a family that is interested to learn about your culture and background and that respects your values and beliefs. Living in a host family is an excellent opportunity for both the participant and the family to broaden their cultural horizons! Our sending partners will emphasize this host family stay reality to all potential volunteers. The sending partners will ask all candidates who already know they prefer to live independently, to refrain from applying for this project.
For Vredeseilanden it’s important that the volunteer first of all has affinity with the mission and values of the organisation, acts with integrity, respects others, is willing to learn and integrate in the team. We expect a creative person who is interested in communication. As one of the tasks would be related to our website, a good knowledge of English is important. As we are working in the field of sustainable agriculture and food, the volunteer has to be passionated about these themes.

Number of volunteers hosted:
Please state the maximum number of volunteers your organisation is able to host at the same time (ensuring all quality, learning, and welfare standards of EVS for each volunteer):

Risk prevention, protection and safety:
Please describe:
• how you will guarantee a safe living and working environment for the EVS volunteers,
• how you will prevent risks and crises,
• how – in the case of EVS volunteers aged 16 or 17 – you ensure appropriate supervision, protection and safety.
The project will assign a personal mentor / contact person to the participant, so he/she can always ask this person for help or guidance.
AFS, as coordinating host organisation will give every project and every participant a local contact person, that will stay in contact and will regularly ask for an evaluation to improve the situation for all parties. In case of emergency, AFS has an emergency-mobile phone, which can be reached 24/24h.
Vredeseilanden takes care of the well being of all its employees by providing a good working infrastructure (personal work space, general infrastructure) and a pleasant work culture in our office.

Motivation and EVS experience

Vredeseilanden has not been involved in EVS before, yet we actively invest in working with young people in our organisation. This is a way to bring creativity, up-to-date knowledge and tools into the organisation. Vredeseilanden wants to give young people a firm and clear place in the organisation. So far we:
- work with a network of 300 volunteers in Belgium throughout the year
- annually offer at least 3 internships in different departments at our head office in Belgium
- closely work with the KHLeuven and other higher education schools to offer at least 6 internships abroad per year
- and we are actively involved in the junior program of BTC (Belgian Technical Cooperation, the bilateral development aid institution in Belgium)
We have a strong focus on networks in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Belgium. EVS gives us the chance to also bring in a European link. As a Host Organisation we hope we can offer interesting learning opportunities for young people from all over Europe and give them a chance to get to know the reality of development cooperation.
Together with AFS, as coordinating hosting organisation, we would like to host 1 EVS volunteer per year, each time for a period of 6 months.

Description of the organisation

AFS is an international, voluntary, non profit organisation that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more peaceful world. AFS does this through several exchange programs, like EVS.
AFS works in cooperation with several AFS partners in more than 50 countries world wide. On a European level we are represented by the European federation for Intercultural Learning.
Vredeseilanden is an Belgian based NGO active within Sustainable Agricultural Chain Development. Our aim is to enable organizations of smallholder family farmers to successfully participate within sustainable value chains. We invest in the capabilities of these organizations and their members to become strong collective business organizations, while linking up these organizations with other chains actors like processors, traders, retailers, consumers… We also invest in connecting these farmer organizations with higher level farmer organizations and support these in their advocacy work towards governments and private actors to create an institutional environment that enables the position of smallholder family farmers within sustainable agricultural chains.
Through 8 regional Vredeseilanden Offices (VECOs) we support chain development programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. At our Head Office in Leuven about 45 staff are working full time or part time. We are member of Concord, the European NGO Federation, and especially active in the Food Security working group.

Contact details
Please note, the selected organisation cooperates with a different EVS organisation to handle enquiries on its behalf.
Organisation name AFS Intercultural Programs - Belgium Flanders
Street Hendrik Consciensestraat 52
Postal code 2800
Town/city Mechelen
Country Belgium
Email address evs-belgiumflanders@afs.org
Website www.vredeseilanden.be
Telephone number +32 15 79 50 10
Fax number +32 15 79 50 11

Last update: 08/10/2013