European Voluntary Service for young people
What on earth is EVS?
EVS is a brilliant opportunity for you as a young person to carry out a period of full-time (30-35 hours) voluntary service abroad, in Europe or elsewhere, from 2 weeks to 12 months.
It’s not only about helping those in need, people dying of poverty and hunger… but it’s about being of service in a community, organization, town, or an event.
EVS is a learning service: Through non-formal learning activities and experiences, you as a volunteer will engage in daily activities within an organization while improving and acquiring skills for your personal, educational and professional development, preparing you for future employability and general social integration.
How much will it cost?
Travel, accommodation, food, language training and insurance are covered by the Youth in Action Programme. You will also be given a monthly allowance for your leisure. Of course it is always a good idea to save up some cash before you leave – that gives your more spending freedom in your free time throughout your stay.
Can I participate?
If you’re a legal resident of the Maltese Islands you can participate. If you’re aged between 18 and 30 you can participate. If you come from a somewhat challenging physical, educational, social, geographical, financial or cultural background, you can participate even when you’re 16.
EVS requires only your interest, motivation and enthusiasm.
You can participate alone, or with up to a 100 volunteers on the same project.
What projects can I do?
There’s a vast array of projects you can choose from. From cultural to artistic to youth leisure, social care and environment… you name it… you practically have it!
Get a better idea of what you can do by logging on at www.evsdatabase.eu … a database listing all Host Organizations and Sending Organizations of EVS.
Ok… so… how will I benefit from this EVS thing?
Good question… the least of things you can gain range from learning new skills to developing competencies, enhance your employability while getting the YouthPass certificate (www.youthpass.eu) on completion, gain confidence and independence as well as contribute to the local host community. In the process you will also make a multitude of friends from different countries, meet new people, learn the language of the host country… and much much more other benefits that would only come by living such an experience!
Cool! Tal-ġenn! I want to go… where can I start from?
First it’s important to find a Sending Organization (SO)… if you’re not part of such an organization, the National Agency can help you find one.
If you’re a member of an organization, this can act as your SO as long as it is an accredited SO [see section “European Voluntary Service for Organizations”]. A list of accredited SOs can be found at www.evsdatabase.eu.
The SO and Host Organization (HO) will start the contact for you to be able to start the project. You will be asked to sign an Activity Agreement to complete the tasks.
Either the SO or HO will then submit an application to its respective National Agency which will assess, grant or reject the project.
Yes the project may be rejected for various reasons which you might have nothing to do with. Just don’t give up… there are 5 deadlines every year for organizations to submit applications… so the chances are plenty!
Find out more by contacting us, or by letting the Eurodesk help you by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet those who lived the EVS experience…
“In a nutshell I would say that spending a year doing voluntary work in an EVS project was one of the greatest experiences in my life, surely a decision well taken. Not only did I get to spend my afternoons with sweet children from various backgrounds, but I also learnt Spanish and got to know Galicia’s culture from within, as well as learning a lot about other fellow volunteers’ countries and, perhaps most importantly, about myself. Recommend EVS? Without a blink! Do yourself a favour and find a project that suits you!
Read also experiences of my fellow volunteers at http://evssantiago.blogspot.com/ and more about my view of volunteering http://mulberryjuice.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-of-volunteering.html “
– Istivan Spiteri, 28, Malta
Sending Organization: ĊAM Youths | Host Organization: Escola de Tempo Libre e Animación Sociocultural Don Bosco
Project: Proyecto de dinamización cultural y tiempo libre | Activity Dates: 1 September 2008 – 1 September 2009
“My EVS was in Oud Heverlee in Belgium and I, together with another Maltese, spent 2 weeks there working with Belgian animators and young children. We first met with some other international volunteers along with Belgian trainers to spend a weekend together in order to be introduced to the playgrounds. We got to learn some Belgian games, the Dutch language and traditions along with some sessions in order for us to be familiar with Belgian playgrounds. The day on the playground was quite long (8am till 5pm) but a fun one; we dressed in different costumes, played games, danced, sang and enjoyed every moment with the children. It was a short but amazing experience and I would definitely do it again if given the opportunity but for a longer period of time.”
– Nadine Borg, 19, Malta
Sending Organization: Salesian Pastoral Youth Service (SPYS) | Host Organization: Jeugddienst Don Bosco vzw
Project: “Great Idea”Great Intercultural Dialogue through the Exchange of Animators | Activity Dates: 3 – 18 July 2009
“Hi everybody! I’m Angélique from France. During the nine months I spent in Malta for my EVS, I worked as a European volunteer with the Nature Trust (Malta).
I dedicated most of my time with other volunteers with whom I also shared a flat. This kind of experience is not only amazing but also rewarding because I learnt so much both professionally and personally.
I really loved spending this small part of my life on this island where people received me very well and are so welcoming. I must admit that this made the return to France harder than I perhaps expected.
It is true that at present it is not easy to find a job on this earth to be protected anyway.
But I now work in the Science & Natural History Museum in Paris, to take care of the children, to explain and show them what biodiversity is about, as well as animals and botany like I did mostly in Malta.
I would like especially to say thanks to people who supported and believed in me.
Grazzi ħafna u Saħħa!“
Angélique Ravon, 23, France
Sending Organization: Point Information Jeunesse/Centre Social EAJ | Host Organization: Nature Trust (Malta)
Project: Wied Għollieqa Nature Reserve – Research and Education | Activity Dates: 7 December 2008 – 7 August 2009
European Voluntary Service for organizations
EVS is part of the European Youth in Action Programme. Non-profit making organizations registered under the 2007 Voluntary Organizations Act can become involved by sending or hosting young people.
How can our organization get involved?
The organization needs to go through an accreditation process by completing an Expression of Interest (EI) and submit it to the National Agency. There are no deadlines for submission but you are to allow a maximum of six weeks to receive feedback. So if you intend to host volunteers in the very near future, make sure you keep the five Youth in Action deadlines in mind.
The EI form can be downloaded from the Downloads section of our website at www.yia.eupa.org.mt.
Accreditation… sounds easy!
It might look easy but quality and clear information is required for an organization to get accreditation. The agency has to see that volunteers on the project will not replace a vacant paid post, that the volunteer will have a variety of tasks, a time-table of a typical week of service on the project and how will the volunteer be supported throughout his or her EVS period.
An organization can be accredited as a Host Organization (HO), Sending Organization (SO), Coordinating Organization (CO) or any combination of the three together.
An EVS activity can take place in a variety of areas: culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, arts, civil protection, environment, development cooperation… and that’s just to mention a few. However, the activity must demonstrate clear European or international added value. It must also include contact with the local community and can be carried out either individually or in groups.
Having a sound understanding of the EVS Charter is a must! A copy of this charter can be found later on in this booklet.
How is it funded?
Grants for organizations to host and send volunteers are funded by the National Agencies on behalf of the European Commission. Extra funding is also available to support volunteers with fewer opportunities.
Following accreditation, either the SO or the HO will submit an application for a project. The applicant organization will assume responsibility of the funding once and if a project is granted.
It’s always best to check with the National Agency with regards to funding and how much is the organization entitled to support the volunteer’s travel costs, hosting and sending costs and other costs that might apply.
And what about the duration of EVS?
A volunteer’s EVS activity cannot be longer than 12 months however projects can last 24 months in total within which several volunteers can be included within the same application. In a nutshell, those 24 months include preparation, EVS activity, evaluation and follow-up too.
Can I act as a Sending Organization for projects outside Europe?
Yes. The EVS extends to ‘Other Partner Countries of the World’ … namely Africa, Asia, Central and South American countries. Applications for projects involving partners from these continents are to be submitted directly to the Executive Agency (EA) in Brussels.
More info on the EA can be found at http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/.
It is also possible to have projects with partners from Neighbouring Partner Countries (NPCs) of the EU, namely Eastern Europe & Caucasus (EEC), South East Europe (SEE) and Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC). There are various ways of applying for projects with NPCs, but to be sure of how this works exactly always contact the National Agency for details.
Good… we get a volunteer… and what are the benefits?
Whether acting as host or sending organization, you will have the opportunity to enhance the European and international dimension of your organization’s work, help young people’s development by exposing them to another culture, increase the intercultural learning of your organization and the local community… and that’s not to mention that you can have volunteers that bring fresh and new ideas to your organization.
Can we apply anytime we want?
To become an accredited EVS organization (SO, HO, CO) you can submit an EI anytime. Remember only that you need to allow a maximum of six weeks for a first feedback.
Following accreditation, you can start sending or hosting volunteers by submitting an application according to the Youth in Action Programme deadlines.
Those who host…
Ċentru Tbexbix (2008-MT-1)
“When in January 2008 our expression of interest in the EVS programme was accepted by the National Agency, we never expected the inundation of applications from young people from all over Europe, desiring to volunteer with our project. Being an organisation dependant wholly on volunteer staff, we had been a bit wary on whether to expand our activities or not, since many times we had the experience of part-time local volunteers not being very dependable due to other commitments. Our first three EVS volunteers came in May 2008, and since then we have never looked back.
This programme has enhanced our activities tremendously. Fifty children from Cottonera come to our project three to four times a week to participate in the English Club, arts & crafts sessions, yoga, games and athletics. We have also started a Reading Club where the children spend half an hour in a one-to-one reading session with volunteers. It is wonderful to see the children become accustomed to communicate in English and learn about diverse cultures as well as absorb different skills which the young volunteers bring with them.
The experience for the volunteers themselves is likewise positive. After they return home in fact most of them stay in touch with the Centru Tbexbix “family” and send us news of how they are applying skills learnt through EVS and promoting it in their own country.”
– Katherine Azzopardi, Programme Coordinator, Ċentru Tbexbix
“We have been hosting EVS volunteers for a number of years now and have had such positive results with the programme that we now have 11 EVS volunteers on our team. We find that the EVS volunteers bring with them fresh ideas, energy and cultural diversity, all of which add richness to the organisation and a sense of change and excitement which is felt not only by the staff but by our clients.
Our EVS volunteers are highly valued by staff members as well as the management team and we are very open to the contributions of the EVS volunteers, encouraging them to show initiative and share their ideas on how we can improve not only our project but the way we operate as an organisation.
The EVS volunteers are a lot more than a source of help for our organisation. They are very quickly accepted as part of our team despite any differences in cultural backgrounds that may exist, and many friendships have formed and developed as a result of the EVS programme.
The success of our programme is not only due to the variety and quality of the project itself but the willingness to accept into our team a group of youngsters who are keen to experience our lifestyle and culture and the openness from both sides to experience and learn about one another’s cultures and backgrounds.”
– Danjela Falzon, Volunteers Coordinator, Inspire
Nature Trust Malta (2009-MT-7)
“Nature Trust (Malta) has been hosting EVS for the last years. It has been a wonderful experience both for us and the volunteers that join us.
Sometimes new volunteers face a challenge especially those coming from a different culture like North Europe or East Europe. However after a few weeks they quickly blend in very well in our Mediterranean culture and become one big team or family. In a short time they make a lot of new friends and start enjoying every minute of their project.
As NTM we make sure that they are considered as Volunteers and as such their project should reflect an experience in voluntary work and a different life style then some would be used to. I have seen big changes in some volunteers who arrive with a shy and unsecure character and leave us with a very social and self confident character. In the end the good bye is always the sad part after we all become great friends. On the positive side, the contact remains with most of the Volunteers and some even return to Malta either to visit us or even to try and work in Malta. In one particular case a volunteer even found work in her country thanks to the experience she gained with us. We always make sure that our volunteers try out everything, from conservation work to office and administration work and enjoy themselves at the same time.”
– Vince Attard, CEO, Nature Trust (Malta)
…and those who send
Employment & Training Corporation (2008-MT-16)
“ETC has been working with the EUPA on the EVS for the last three years. The first experience as a sending organization was for a collective voluntary project in Austria where we sent five young unemployed persons to take part in a yachting event. In 2009 we sent another two young people in search of employment, one to Norway and another one to Hungary. ETC believes that the EVS is a useful tool to help the youth enhance their soft skills, gain work experience and empower them to be more independent and responsible. All these factors will help to enrich their personality, thus making them more employable.”
– Bridget Mamo, Youth Employment Advisor, ETC
inYgo Malta Foundation (2008-MT-18)
“We had been dreaming for quite a long-time to offer a long volunteering experience for young people in missionary countries. We had to start this project from scratch. EVS has provided us with the necessary tools, funds and a supportive structure to provide a good volunteering service to young people. This opportunity is equipping our volunteers with a lifelong learning experience.”
– Suzanne Vella, Pastoral Assistant, Ignatian Youth Network Foundation Malta (inYgo)
SPYS – Salesian Pastoral Youth Service (2007-MT-15)
“As part of our programme of holistic formation of young people, SPYS sees EVS not only as an opportunity for young people to grow into more responsible adults, but also as an experience that broadens young people’s sense of initiative and intercultural learning. Returning volunteers tend to become more active in our organization and in their local community.
For the past six years SPYS sent several young people both on long term and much more on short term EVS projects in Europe and is looking forward to start sending its first EVS volunteers outside Europe as well. Promoting EVS and sending volunteers has definitely been one of the most beneficial steps for young people our organization has taken since its establishment back in 1995.”
– James Mifsud, Youth Leader – International Activities, SPYS
European Voluntary Service Charter – Ensuring Quality
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 set out in this Charter.