The Erasmus+ programme offers young people the chance to make a difference through the European Voluntary Service.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through full-time voluntary work in a foreign country within or outside the EU.
The EVS aims to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and toleranceamong young people, while contributing to strengthening social cohesion and promoting active citizenship. Their learning experience is formally recognized through a Youthpass. Volunteers receive free board and lodging, insurance cover and a grant for the duration of the project (in some cases they may be asked for a contribution for travel costs).
EVS volunteers working for more than two months abroad can get additional support to learn, and test their progress in, the language used during their volunteering.
What Does It Support?
A successful EVS project requires close co-operation among at least three key players:
- The sending organisation;
- The receiving organisation;
- The volunteer.
One of the organisations involved plays the role of coordinator and applies for an EU grant on behalf of the partnership. Organisations perform a number of roles:
- They identify volunteering opportunities;
- Develop projects that benefit the local community;
- Recruit and prepare the volunteers, host them, and ensure follow-up.
The EVS core values and quality standards are laid down in the EVS Charter. To uphold these standards, organisations interested in sending or hosting EVS volunteers, or coordinating an EVS project, need first to be accredited. To do this organisations must first submit an application for accreditation (not the same as a funding application). If their application is approved, they can take part in applications for EVS projects. An accreditation can be withdrawn immediately in cases of non-compliance with the Charter. Organisations accredited to take part in EVS can be found in the EVS database.
Who Can Take Part?
- Are you aged 17-30 and willing to spend from 2 weeks to 12 months abroad as an EVS Volunteer? Start by having a look at the European Youth Portal for information, volunteering opportunities, and the database of EVS organisations.
- Are you an organisation willing to develop an EVS project? The Erasmus+ Programme Guide provides detailed information about the conditions for participating. In most cases, the application for funding and accreditation is submitted via the Erasmus+ National Agencies in each country participating in the programme. The Agencies are the primary information sources for the users of the programme: organisations are invited to contact them for information and advice.
Is Linguistic Support Provided and How?
Online Linguistic Support (OLS) is available for volunteers undertaking a European Voluntary Service (EVS). The OLS is available for German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch, which are the main languages for about 90% of all Erasmus+ mobilities. With the OLS, volunteers have the chance to assess and improve their skills in the main volunteering language or, for those who are sufficiently proficient in that language, in the language of the country (provided it is available in the OLS).
For participants whose main mobility language is not yet available in the OLS, specific grants for linguistic support are available.
Below you will find a “checklist” of important information and resources related to applying for and implementing EVS.
Find Out More
- Erasmus+ Programme Guide
- EVS Accreditation Guidelines
- EVS Charter
- EVS Info Kit to be provided to volunteers
- EVS Training and Evaluation Guidelines
- Check the EVS Volunteering Database for volunteering opportunities and organisations
- User Guide for the EVS Volunteering Database
- Find your National Agency for more information on how to apply
- Technical Guidelines on completing forms
- URF and Participant Portal Guide
- Information about the Online Linguistic Support available for long-term EVS
- Voluntary Activities in the EU Youth Strategy
- For young people interested in volunteering, the European Youth Portal has more information for you!