What is it?

EU Aid Volunteers brings together volunteers and organisations from different countries, providing practical support to humanitarian aid projects and contributing to strengthening the local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities. Participants in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative must be over 18 years of age and be a citizen of an EU Member State or a long-term resident in the EU. The support package to volunteers while on deployment includes accommodation, travel, insurance, ongoing learning, development, a monthly allowance while on deployment, and a resettlement allowance to help with expenses on returning home.

Why is this important?

Millions are affected by natural and man-made disasters each year. In the aftermath of a disaster, an affected population needs clean water, shelter, food assistance and protection. Humanitarian organisations and volunteers are the first to respond to these basic needs.

Humanitarian disasters have dramatically increased the pressure on the humanitarian organisations and more qualified people are needed. However, it is not always easy to enter the humanitarian field. EU Aid Volunteers give European citizens a chance to show their solidarity by collaborating in humanitarian projects worldwide. In many cases, this is the first opportunity participants have to be part of the humanitarian community. EU Aid Volunteers gives also the possibility for organisations to cover their specific staff needs. The humanitarian community benefit from more qualified people trained by the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

How are we helping?

EU Aid Volunteers supports humanitarian aid organisations. EU Aid Volunteers projects run by partnerships of EU-based and non-EU based organisations strengthen the capacity of non-EU based organisations to prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises and improve their volunteer management. It also provides funding for technical assistance to EU-based organisations to strengthen their technical capacity and meet the standards and procedures required to deploy EU Aid Volunteers.

EU Aid Volunteers complements humanitarian aid actions and help strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in countries affected by disaster, contributing to disaster risk management activities agreed under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Humanitarian organisations need more well-trained people to carry out practical action that helps communities affected by disaster. EU Aid Volunteers enables European citizens to contribute to humanitarian assistance in countries where help is needed.

A training programme for EU Aid Volunteers ensures that candidate volunteers are thoroughly prepared before their departure to a non-EU country. The training which consists of a mixture of online training and face-to-face training is mandatory for all EU Aid Volunteers. Many existing volunteering schemes in Europe have a domestic focus and few provide opportunities to support humanitarian aid and disaster risk management.

EU Aid Volunteers brings volunteers and organisations from different countries together in joint projects in areas such as resilience-building, disaster risk management and linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), as a practical expression of solidarity with communities vulnerable to humanitarian crises. EU Aid Volunteers participants are not deployed to emergency response operations or in areas of armed conflict.

Organisations aiming to deploy volunteers must comply with the initiative’s standards on volunteer management and go through a certification process before submitting a proposal for volunteer deployment. Certification can be applied for at any time.

Investing in capacity building of humanitarian organisations, local communities and first responders in disaster-affected countries is essential for creating a more effective, principled humanitarian response, which is why it is also supported under the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

The EU Aid Volunteers programme offers:

  • Opportunities for European citizens to become volunteers in humanitarian projects worldwide, showing solidarity with people in need of assistance,
  • Professional support by trained and well-prepared volunteers to communities affected by disaster,
  • Capacity building for local staff and volunteers of aid organisations in countries hit by disasters,
  • Technical assistance for organisations based in Europe to strengthen their capacities to participate in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

Individuals can apply to be deployed to humanitarian projects worldwide. Check out the EU Aid Volunteers vacancies.

Funding opportunities with the EU Aid Volunteers initiative are managed by the Commission’s Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).