The EVS Action is open to all young people who are legally resident in a
Program country or in an eligible third country (see sections
B.2 and B.3) and
are, in principle, aged between 18 and 25. Certain exceptions regarding the
upper age-limit are allowed for young people with less opportunities, if
justified, and are judged on a case-by-case basis.
Participation fees are not allowed. Volunteers' travel costs, insurance, food,
accommodation and a small allowance are covered by the grant from the YOUTH
Volunteers give their time and efforts for a project benefiting the local
community in exchange for an opportunity to practice their skills, acquire
cultural and social skills, and build for their future. During their voluntary
service, volunteers are responsible for the practical tasks assigned to them and
have a general obligation to contribute to the host organization and community.
All volunteers who have completed their EVS project are entitled to an EVS certificate signed by the Member of the European Commission responsible for
the YOUTH program. These certificates are distributed by the National Agencies
or, in some cases, by the European Commission.
European Voluntary Service involves a sending partner known as the "sending
organization". Any type of non-governmental organization, an association, a
local authority or any other non-profit-making local initiative can be a sending
organization. For a sending organization, EVS offers an opportunity to
establish a cooperation and to exchange experience with a partner in a Program
The sending organization is responsible for arranging the following:
The preparation required includes helping the volunteer to find and contact a
host organization. In addition, volunteers need to be prepared for their stay
abroad according to their individual needs (including possible visa
requirements etc.). The sending organization is obliged to make sure that the
volunteer attends a pre-departure training session.
Contact during voluntary service
The sending organization should keep in contact with the volunteer and with
the host organization during the project in order to avoid crises. It will
also help organize follow-up after the volunteer's return.
Evaluation and follow-up
The sending organization should ensure proper evaluation of the EVS
project together with the volunteer.
Volunteers should receive help with reintegrating into their home community.
The sending organization should give volunteers an opportunity to exchange
and share their experiences and must also support them, e.g. by providing
information about other possibilities within the YOUTH program (especially
Action 3 - Future Capital, see section E.4) and by helping them into further
education, training or employment.
Visa and insurance
The sending organization has a shared responsibility with the host
organization to arrange a visa for the volunteer. The National Agency/National
Coordinator and the European Commission can issue visa support letters
if required. It is also the
responsibility of the sending organization to make sure that the volunteer's
contact details are sent to the insurance company contracted by the European
The basis for European Voluntary Service is the existence of a number of
places where volunteers can do their voluntary service. These are called "host
organizations". European Voluntary Service brings together a large number of
different organizations, projects, local authorities and other initiatives.
Their contribution to European Voluntary Service is essential. By welcoming a
volunteer, a host organization will bring new ideas and intercultural elements
into its regular activities. It could also have an interesting exchange of
experience with the sending organization through the volunteer.
Any type of non-governmental organization, an association, a local authority
or any other non-profit-making local initiative can be a host
If you would like to participate in EVS as a host organization, please
note the following criteria:
Clear learning opportunities for the volunteer have to be identified.
The use of volunteers to replace paid employees is not allowed.
Access to the host organization
Host organizations cannot specify that volunteers should be of a
specific ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation or political
opinion. They must be open to all young people and cannot impose any
specific selection criteria such as previous qualifications,
experience and more than basic language knowledge.
EVS volunteers must have the opportunity to carry out a well-defined set of
tasks. Enough leeway should be left for integrating the volunteer’s ideas,
creativity and experiences into the project. The voluntary activity (training
included) should take up between 30 and 35 hours per week.
A detailed task description providing examples and percentages of the tasks as
well as an indicative daily or weekly timetable are required.
In order to avoid double funding and to ensure that the philosophy of EVS is
respected, an EVS volunteer may not carry out tasks which serve to support
another EVS-funded project (i.e. may not be responsible for project
management or for the recruitment or training of other EVS volunteers).
Concerning routine tasks, please pay particular attention to the fact
that the volunteer must not carry out routine tasks or tasks of professional
staff, in order to avoid job substitution and/or excessive responsibility for
the volunteer. The volunteer must be supervised and guided by experienced
These general rules are applicable to all project types, and of special
importance in the following project settings:
- Social care projects, where volunteers have to deal with vulnerable
clients or patients (babies, children, the ill, elderly, disabled, etc.); a
volunteer cannot be solely responsible for the day-to-day care of individuals.
- Teaching projects: as EVS is about non-formal education, teaching
assistance in the formal education system is ineligible. Projects taking
place at institutions within the formal education system must focus on
- In office-based projects (e.g. at ENGYOs), the volunteer should have
a specific set of tasks, preferably project-based, to carry out.
The host organization is responsible for arranging the following:
Volunteers' tasks should reflect their individual abilities and desires.
Persons who are familiar with those tasks should guide them. The host
organization is also responsible for sending the volunteer to the mid-term
To avoid and overcome any difficulties, either in volunteers' personal lives
or in their activities in the host organization, sufficient personal support
should be provided for volunteers. They should be given opportunities to
integrate into the local community, to meet other young people, to socialize,
to participate in leisure activities, etc. Contacts with other E. V. S
volunteers should be encouraged whenever possible.
Each host organization must identify a mentor who is directly responsible for
training, personal support and language training for the volunteer and to whom
the volunteer can turn in case of problems. The mentor should not be the
volunteer's supervisor or another person involved in the volunteer's project.
Language skills have long-term benefits in addition to helping the volunteer
to integrate into the host culture. The host organization is responsible for
arranging language learning opportunities. The format, duration and frequency
of this training can vary depending on volunteers’ needs and abilities, their
tasks in the host project, and the possibilities of the host organisation.
Language training must be free of charge for the volunteer and included in
regular working time.
The host organization has to provide suitable accommodation for the volunteer.
The host organization is responsible for providing meals, or a food allowance,
for the volunteer.
The host organization must provide means of local transport for the volunteer.
The host organization must pay an allowance to the volunteer on a weekly or
monthly basis (the amount is included in the grant from the YOUTH program).
The host organization has a shared responsibility with the sending
organization to arrange a visa for the volunteer. The National Agency/National
Coordinator and the European Commission can issue visa support letters if
An umbrella organization which coordinates the work of a number of sending or
host organizations in a country within a network is known as a national or
regional "coordinating organization". A coordinating organization may have a
considerable amount of voluntary work experience and belong to an efficient
network, either at national, European or international level.
Its responsibilities may vary depending on the agreements it has concluded
with the sending or host organizations. Its primary role is to form
relationships with host organizations, and to coordinate, prepare and offer
support to the volunteers it places in these organizations.
It undertakes to carry out all or some of the host or sending organizations'
administrative tasks. The budget item Contribution to the host activities or
Contribution to the sending activities is then shared between the host,
sending and coordinating organizations (see section
D.8), according to the
division of tasks and in agreement between the partners.
The coordinating organization is principally responsible for ensuring that EVS philosophy and rules are complied with. It also has to provide training
for volunteers or ensure they attend the training sessions organized by the
Action 5.1 activity 9 “Support for quality and innovation of the
Program Youth.” Project no: 5.1/R1/2003/06
Teams in cooperation with