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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


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AFS Intercultural Programs


EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
organisation_acctype: 
Receiving
Coordinating
EVS accreditation expiry date 28/09/2015
Location Stockholm, Sweden
Organisation topics
organisation_theme: 
European awareness
Media and communication/Youth information
Inclusion topics
organisation_inclusion: 
Economic difficulties

EVS accreditation number

2012-SE-41

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

PROJECT ENVIRONMENT:

The volunteer will live and work in the Stockholm area. Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden. The municipality has approximately 850 000 inhabitants. The greater Stockholm area counts approximately 1.5 million inhabitants. Stockholm is situated between the lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The city is built on different islands and it is surrounded by a lot of water. Stockholm is a busy business center and also a logistical hub for travels in Sweden. Stockholm has also several big Universities, which results in a huge group of students living in the city and making it a diverse and interesting place to live in, as people of different ages, professions, ethnicities, etc. live here.
The project will mainly take place in the AFS office, on the southern island of Stockholm city center. The office is an open space environment where the volunteer will have his/her own desk. In the office we have four full time staff and a shifting amount of part timers are employed.
Other areas where the volunteer will be active is on local chapter meetings, gatherings or information sessions, where he/she will aid local volunteers in information distribution. AFS will then arrange for the travel and accommodation in the local community. The volunteer will be able to appreciate and experience different parts and sides of Stockholm as he/she will work in the inner city. He/she will probably live in the surrounding suburban areas of Stockholm with a host family.
To reach the office the volunteer will receive a travel card for the Stockholm public transport network, SL. The card accounts for bus, train and partly boat travel in the greater Stockholm area. We choose to organize housing for our volunteers in host families, as we believe that this gives him/her and the host family a unique chance for cultural exchange. The host family will account for accommodation and meals at home. For leisure activities, Stockholm has a diverse offer to choose from. From culture, over sports, to outdoor activities and or meeting people everything is possible in Stockholm

PROPOSED ACTIVITIES FOR EVS VOLUNTEERS:

The EVS volunteer will have the opportunity to develop own initiatives in which the staff will encourage him/her in order to gain self-confidence and to develop tools for setting up own initiatives concerning active European citizenship and awareness as well as issues related to international development policy and global/intercultural learning. We would also give him/her a chance to help volunteers in AFS to run their projects, if he/she is comfortable with it. That will help the volunteer to develop leader skills and "over-all thinking". He/she will have the possibility to take part in the preparation, implementation and post processing of different activities and thus get to know the different steps that are necessary for realizing projects (for example how to communicate within international working groups etc.).
During the project period volunteer and the contact person in the office will have continuous follow up meetings. In these meeting tasks will be coordinated, development goals and progress will be discussed and even general integration questions will be looked at. A record of these follow up meetings will be kept in Youth Pass in order to keep track of volunteers professional development and be able to follow up on prior talks and goals.

The volunteer will be a part of our team in the office. Focus will be on creating and implementing own projects with the help from the office staff. The volunteer will be responsible for his/her project together with the office staff and the mentor. Some projects will be done together with the local AFS volunteers and then the responsibility will be shared.
The activities for the volunteer will be a combination of assisting different staff members in the office in Stockholm and on local activities that are organized for the (sending/hosting) exchange-participants and/or their (host) family. The actual activities will depend on the skills, abilities and interests of the volunteer and the current needs of our organization at that moment.
The EVS volunteer will assist the local AFS volunteers from time to time for specific events or projects, for example school presentations. The main objective of the EVS's task will be to assist staff and volunteers for the backing and development of the intercultural sensibilities of the participants at different moments of their stay in Sweden, or before they leave the country. This will be done with the program team, mainly by the preparation and co-animation of intercultural games and activities during sending/hosting camps or special projects.
In our office we have 3 different areas in which the volunteer can assist the staff: Sending, Hosting and Volunteer Development/Marketing. Below you'll find some examples of possible activities that the volunteer might do in one or more of our working areas. It is important to note that the activities of the volunteer will be closely related to his/her skills, abilities and interests.

Sending:
- General support for the coordination of the sending programs: e-mail contacts with foreign partners to ask or send information about participants and programs; translation of documents (in English, French, Spanish, German); contacts with embassies in order to check the process for visa application (twice a year); review of application forms to check that nothing is missing and ask for more information if needed; administration with documents when exchange students are abroad; assist in planning camps, etc.

All those activities imply a necessary administrative follow-up in the course of events and projects (phone calls, sending letters or e-mails, data processing, writing reports, research on Internet?). The volunteer will have his/hers own desk, phone and computer to achieve those tasks.

Hosting:
- General support for the coordination of the hosting program; e-mail contacts with foreign partners to ask or send information about participants and programs; translation of documents (in English, French, Spanish, German); review of application forms to check that nothing is missing and ask for more information if needed; program administration; assist in planning camps; assistance and support to participants on their arrival at the airport, etc.

Volunteer Development/Marketing:
- This part of the task concerns the promotion of the AFS organization in schools, fairs and public events. The promotion in schools usually starts in September-October and is done by local AFS volunteers.

A small part of the promotion tasks consist in administration related to the tasks described above. It seems to us that it is important that the EVS volunteer has a complete view of what is organized and this goes also through sending invitation, letters to thank schools/projects, etc.

The volunteer will mainly work from Monday to Friday (five days a week) from 9-16.30h. He/she will have his/her own working-place. If there are activities during the weekend the volunteers participate in, he/she will be able to take those days off during the week in order to compensate. During his/her stay the volunteer is entitled to two days holiday per month (or in a whole). The office is closed on public holidays. Exact dates of closing will be communicated when the volunteer is here.

Example of a work schedule:
Monday:
9-12: Sending
12-13: Lunch
13- 17: Sending

Tuesday:
9-12: Sending
12-13: Lunch
13-17: Hosting

Wednesday:
9-12: Swedish course (not in the office)
12-13: lunch
13-14: office meeting
14-17: own project

Thursday:
9-12 own project
12-13: lunch
13-17: own project

Friday
9-12: Marketing/Volunteer Development
12-13: lunch
13-17: own project

Examples on own projects former EVS participants have worked with:
- creating and updating the layout of print material
- switching the AFS website to a new layout
- arranging the filming of a public AFS panel discussion, edit films and publish them,
- create a biannual school newsletter
- active work with school relations
- organize a trip/camp for exchange students

Generally spoken are we very open to which type of own project the volunteer works with, as long as we find the project useful for both sides. The volunteer will have one overall contact person for the project who will give him/her guidance and advice whenever necessary. On specific tasks however the volunteer might work with other colleagues.

VOLUNTEER PROFILES AND RECRUITMENT PROCESS:

We think that a volunteer who has the following abilities will have more interest in our project, will feel more comfortable and will have more diversity in his/her tasks:
- Being a young unemployed /having a hard time with finding a job.
- Used and willing to work with teenagers and young adults, groups and is interested in human relations, animations and group activities.
- Being able to speak in front of large groups.
- Open to work in a team, autonomous and resourceful.
- Organized and rigor in the set-up of activities.
- Good knowledge of English to make contact with the participants, volunteers and partners easier.
- Good motivation to learn the Swedish language to integrate well.

We prefer candidates who already have some kind of experience with intercultural exchanges (for example: former exchange program participants or youngsters whose parents have hosted exchange participants as host family in the past, active local AFS volunteers from other counties, etc.)

Candidates should be willing to share some of their daily life with their host family (i.e. spend some free time with them, occasionally join them on activities outside the house, eat together, give a helping hand in the household?) and should be motivated to live with and learn about Swedish people of different ages and opinions. On the other hand, we guarantee a family that is interested to learn about the participant’s culture and background and that respects his/her values and beliefs. Living in a host family is an excellent opportunity for both the participant and the family to broaden their cultural horizons!

Potential volunteers are informed of the vacancy through the EVS database. Most of the time we work together with other AFS offices as Sending Organization in order to facilitate the process of recruitment. In that case the Sending Partner will also advertise the position through different channels.
We then expect an application with a CV and a motivation letter to be sent to evs.afssweden@afs.org. Applications for registered projects will then be screened and we will make a decision on inviting potential candidates to a Skype interview. The selection will be based on motivation and profile of the different candidates, in order to choose the most adequate volunteer for the activities in the project. Before confirming the acceptance of a volunteer, we check with him(by e- mail/phone call)that he/she understands the content of the project and that he/she agrees with the tasks we can offer him/her.

NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS HOSTED:

2

We are planning to have a program start in the summer and one in the winter, so that volunteers can work together and learn from each other.

RISK PREVENTION, PROTECTION AND SAFETY:

Through the nature of the project, risk of physical damage is very low. However the following risk prevention measures will be in place:
1) The volunteer will be living in a host family who will go through our regular host family screening process before being accepted.
2) Risk prevention at work is managed by regular meetings with the contact person, who can also help for the set-up of a personal project. Weekly staff meetings are also an opportunity for the volunteer to talk about how things work. The volunteer will participate in them if it is relevant for his integration or his tasks. The contact person will also be available for further follow-up and for meetings with the volunteer in order to help him to overcome possible difficulties and/or to check the progress regarding the objectives of the project.
3) The volunteer will receive all information and necessary training from the supervisor and staff before and upon arrival. The volunteer will have the opportunity to attend a Swedish language course that will allow him to express himself more fluently and will help him to better understand what is expected from him. When there is an opportunity of training, he will participate.
4) The volunteer will have two contact people within AFS. Together, they will support the participant when needed. In case of conflict/crisis, AFS will organize mediation and will keep the sending organization informed.
5) Furthermore will the volunteer have the same working conditions as the paid staff: the safety standards and work policy will be the same for her/him. In case of emergency, AFS has an emergency phone, which can be reached 24h/24h. AFS will arrange the enrolment of the volunteer in the Group Insurance Plan for EVS, provided by AXA. Next to this we will also register the volunteer in the group insurance of the workplace. We will also make sure that the participant has all needed emergency contacts of the host family, the local volunteers and our organization.


Motivation and EVS experience

AFS IP has been involved with the EVS Program for several years now. We have always acted as a hosting and coordinating organization. We as an international exchange organization feel strongly related to the cause of the EVS projects as they thrive for higher integration and exchange of cultures for young adults. The past years have shown us that though EVS we are able to enlarge our scope of providing intercultural learning opportunities for a wider range of people and aid the process of European integration and citizenship. The last EVS volunteer hosted by us was here 2011/12. This program fits perfectly in our mission and our aim for diversity in age and social background. The European dimension is an added value that we foster.

Description of the organisation

AFS is an international non-governmental non-profit organization that has been running exchanges for youngsters for many years. The organization was founded 60 years ago - just after the World War - and aims to provide intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to act as a responsible global citizen striving for peace and justice in a world full of diversity. AFS has a long tradition in collaborating with the European institutions, especially through our European Federation EFIL (European Federation for Intercultural learning) in terms of advice and input on mobility issues and intercultural education. We also ran pilot programs, executed research, and carried out many projects to add a European dimension to our European programs.
AFS works in cooperation with several AFS partners in more than 50 countries worldwide. On a European level we are represented by the European federation for Intercultural Learning. The AFS office in Sweden has six employees, of which four work full-time. AFS Sweden is governed by a Board consisting of one Board Chair and seven board members.
In the AFS network there's many different exchange programs and AFS Sweden have focus on one of them, which is the school program: The School Program is for one academic year and begins in July/ August/ September or January/ February/ March depending on the country. AFS students live with a host family and attend a local secondary school as full-time students. We both send and host on this program.

Contact details
Organisation name AFS Intercultural Programs
Street Tullgårdsgatan 10 nb
Postal code 116 68
Town/city Stockholm
Country Sweden
Email address evs.afssweden@afs.org
Website www.afs.se
Telephone number +468 406 0000
Fax number +468 406 00 04

Last update: 28/09/2012