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EU Aid Volunteers explained

EU Aid Volunteers in action
EU Aid Volunteers in action
The European Union's new initiative to support humanitarian aid programmes.

Humanitarian organisations need more well-trained people to help communities affected by disaster. The EU Aid Volunteers initiative enables Europeans to contribute to humanitarian assistance in countries where this help is needed, and help to strengthen the resilience and build the capacities of local communities.


From 2016 to the end of 2020, the initiative will support up to 4,000 European citizens to be trained and sent by humanitarian organisations to assist in projects worldwide. Local capacity building activities will also support up to 4,400 people in countries affected by disaster. It is planned that an additional 10,000 opportunities will be available for volunteers to get involved in online projects.


The initiative is open to people from a variety of backgrounds, from newcomers to those who already have a lot of experience in humanitarian projects. Volunteers will receive the training they need, depending on their level of experience, to ensure they are fully prepared before being sent to a project. You can read about the experiences of some of the people who took part in the pilot projects in the link below.


Who can apply to be an EU Aid Volunteer?


Candidates for EU Aid Volunteers in-country projects must be over 18 years of age (no lower age limit for online volunteers) and be citizens of EU Member States or long-term residents in the EU. Citizens from other countries, such as EU candidate and potential candidate countries, countries in the EEA or the European Neighbourhood Policy may apply, but this depends on agreements being made between the EU and these countries (check the EU Aid Volunteers website links below for up-to-date details on this.)


Non-EU citizens in disaster-stricken countries can also take part in this initiative, as part of local capacity training projects.


When does it start and how will it work?


It is planned that the first EU Aid Volunteers will be recruited, trained and sent in 2016.


Organisations which meet the EU Aid Volunteers standards will create projects for which they need volunteers, and they will advertise the projects online (see links below). Volunteers will apply directly to the organisations that have set up the projects. After they are selected, volunteers will receive the training and support they need to make sure they are ready to be sent on the projects.


Interested and want to know more?


If you are interested in getting becoming an EU Aid Volunteer, either to go to another country on a project or to be an online volunteer, then look at the initiative's website to read all of the details (links below), and check the list of projects which are looking for volunteers just now.