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EU Aid Volunteers Initiative To Begin Sending Volunteers In 2015.

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Pictured: A still from a video to promote the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative. The EU Aid Volunteers initiative is on its way to providing 4000 new opportunities for people to volunteer in humanitarian projects from 2014 to 2020.

Dervla King is Comhlámh’s Programme Manager and filed this report from the event. On January 23rd, the European Commission held an info day in Brussels on the EU Aid Volunteers.

The Initiative, which has been piloted by a range of organisations in a variety of countries over the past number of years, will provide opportunities for both new volunteers and experienced humanitarian experts to engage in humanitarian assistance overseas.

At the infoday, which was organised by DG ECHO (Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection) and the EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency), the European Commission’s plans to support 4,000 volunteers until 2020 and to provide training to personnel in non-EU disaster affected countries were outlined. Over 10,000 online volunteering opportunities will also be made available over the next 5 years. The programme has a total budget of €147.9 million for the 2015-2020 period.

In 2013/14, Comhlámh worked as part of a consortium commissioned by DG ECHO to provide recommendations on standards and certification for the EUAVI. The certification process has now been finalised, and any organisation wishing act as sending or hosting organisations needs to fulfil the agreed criteria (more information is available here).

The first calls for proposals for deployment of volunteers will open in June and the first vacancies for volunteers will be published in December 2015. There is also scope for non-certified organisations to be involved as partners, and the EACEA is currently receiving calls for both technical assistance and capacity building.

Opening the event, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, stated that “change starts when citizens take concrete action” and highlighted how volunteers can be ambassadors of the change the EU wants to bring about, providing a clear and strong expression of our global values.

The Initiative may offer Irish humanitarian and volunteer sending agencies new opportunities for collaboration and partnership in their work, as well as broadening avenues of engagement for new volunteers and those with previous humanitarian experience.

Fore more information check out this questions and answers document on the initiative.

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