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Participation of young people

A main priority of the Youth in ActionProgramme is the participation of young people in

democratic life. The overall objective for participation is to encourage young people to be active

citizens. This objective has the three following dimensions, laid down in the Council resolution

on the common objectives for participation by and information for young people:

• to increase the participation by young people in the civic life of their community;

• to increase participation by young people in the system of representative democracy;

• greater support for various forms of learning to participate.

Projects funded under the Youth in ActionProgramme should reflect these three dimensions

by using participation as a pedagogical principle for project implementation.

Cultural Diversity

The respect for cultural diversity together with the fight against racism and xenophobia are

priorities of the Youth in ActionProgramme. By facilitating joint activities of young people

from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds, the Programme aims to develop the

intercultural learning of young people.

As far as the development and implementation of projects are concerned, this means that young

people participating in a project should become aware of its intercultural dimension.

Intercultural working methods should be used to enable project participants to participate on an

equal basis.

Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities

An important priority for the European Commission is to give young people with fewer

opportunities access to the Youth in ActionProgramme.

Youth groups and organisations should take appropriate measures to avoid exclusion of specific

target groups. The Youth in ActionProgramme is a Programme for all, and efforts should be

made to include young people with special needs.

In close cooperation with the National Agencies and the SALTO Resource Centres, the European

Commission has established a strategy for the inclusion of young people with fewer

opportunities in the Youth in ActionProgramme, targeting in particular young people from a

less-privileged educational, socio-economic, cultural or geographical background, or with

disabilities.

In addition, annual priorities may be fixed for the Youth in ActionProgramme and

communicated on the Commission and National Agencies website.

SOHO Info Pack for Participants 10 Version January, 2011

ACTION 2 – EUROPEAN

VOLUNTARY SERVICE

1 What is European Voluntary Service?

European Voluntary Service (EVS) supports transnational voluntary service of young people. It

aspires to develop solidarity and promote tolerance among young people, primarily to reinforce

social cohesion in the European Union. It promotes active citizenship and enhances mutual

understanding among young people.

These general objectives shall notably be achieved by:

• supporting young people’s participation in various forms of voluntary activities, both within



and outside the European Union;

• giving young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through

voluntary activities at European and international level;

• involving young people in actions fostering solidarity between citizens of the European

Union;

• involving young volunteers in a non-profit-making unpaid activity for the benefit of the

general public in a country other than his or her country of residence.

European Voluntary Service is a “learning” service: throughout non-formal learning experiences

young volunteers improve and/or acquire competences for their personal, educational and

professional development as well as for their social integration. The learning elements consist of

a mutually agreed definition of the expected learning outcomes, processes and methods, the

certification of the acquired competences, the participation of the volunteer in the EVS training

cycle and the continued provision of task-related, linguistic and personal support, including a

crisis prevention and management mechanism.

2 What is a European Voluntary Service activity?

An EVS activity allows a young person, aged 18 – 30, and in special cases from 16 years old, to

be a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2 and 12 months.

Voluntary service activities can take place, for example, in the field of the environment, arts and

culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage, or sports and leisure.

3 Who are the partners in an EVS activity?

Each EVS project and activity is based on a partnership including the following project partners:

• one or more volunteers

• one or more sending organisations;

SOHO Info Pack for Participants 11 Version January, 2011

• one or more host organisations;

• one coordinating organisation (applicant), which can be (but does not have to be) one of

the sending organisations or one of the host organisations.

4 What are the partners’ obligations?

A solid partnership between EVS sending, host, coordinating organisations and the volunteer is

the basis of every EVS activity. An adequate match-making between the volunteer profile and

the tasks has to be in place. An activity agreement is signed by all the partners before the

beginning of the activity.

• The sending organisation is in charge of the preparation and support of the volunteers

before, during and after the EVS activities.

• The host organisation has to ensure safe and decent living and working conditions to the

volunteer throughout the entire activity period. It has to provide adequate personal,

linguistic and task-related support, including the identification of a mentor for the

volunteer.

• The coordinating organisation (applicant) has the role of facilitating the implementation of

the project by offering administrative and quality support to all project partners and

enabling their networking.

5 How to involve young people with fewer opportunities?

One of the most important priorities of the Youth in Action Programme is to give young people

with fewer opportunities access to the activities within the programme

Special efforts are made and incentives given in order to allow young people with fewer

opportunities, including young people with disabilities, to participate actively in EVS. These

‘inclusion’ activities are open to 16-30-year-olds, provided that competent and tailor-made

preparations, accompaniment and follow-up are provided.

6 What training sessions are parts of European Voluntary Service?

The project foresees the volunteers' participation in the EVS training cycle. It consists of predeparture

training, on-arrival training, mid-term meeting and final evaluation. EVS volunteers

have the right and obligation to participate in these training sessions, which are provided by or

on behalf of the National Agencies or by EVS sending, host or coordinating organisations in line

with the “Volunteer Training: Guidelines and Minimum Quality Standards” of the European

Commission (see: Commission website).

7 How is a project financed?

Community financing of an EVS project is based on the principle of co-funding, with other public

and/or private contributions. This means that contributions, in kind or in cash, from the sending

and host organisations are necessary to cover the total cost of the project.

The Community grant is based on a combination of:

• participation in the actual costs for certain types of expense;

• flat rate amounts for certain other types of expense; and

• amounts based on scales of unit costs for certain other types of expense.

SOHO Info Pack for Participants 12 Version January, 2011

8 The Youthpass

Every volunteer is entitled to receive a Youthpass, which describes and validates the non-formal

learning experience. This document can be of great benefit for the future educational or

professional pathway of the volunteer. Through the Youthpass the European Commission

ensures that the voluntary activity is recognised as an educational experience and a period of

non-formal learning and informal learning. The achievement report is filled in jointly by the

volunteer and a representative of the host organisation, is signed by both and handed over to

the volunteer directly at the end of the voluntary activity abroad.

You can get further information on the Youth in Action Programme and the EVS Action from

your National Agency and reading the “Programme Guide”of the Youth in Action Programme.

THE EUROPEAN

VOLUNTARY SERVICE

CHARTER

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) Charter is part of the 'Youth in Action' Programme Guide

and highlights the roles of EVS sending, host and coordinating organisations and the main

principles and quality standards of EVS. Each EVS organisation adheres to the provisions


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