European Voluntary Service (EVS) is part of the Erasmus+ programme, and provides opportunities for young people to take part in voluntary projects across Europe and beyond. Projects are open to all young people aged 17-30 and can last between 2 and 12 months.
All projects are run by non-profit organisations and are available in all EU states and some other countries. Projects include such themes as: social inclusion/participation of young people, anti-discrimination, health, animal welfare, disability, environment, European awareness and many more. EVS is free of charge for volunteers, with the possible exception of 10% of travel costs to the host country. In addition to this, insurance, food, pocket money and accommodation costs are all met by the programme.
Article 12 in Scotland has been involved in EVS since 2001 by sending volunteers to projects across Europe, and also since 2005 as the Scottish partner of the Intercultural Training Partnership, which until March 2014 provided trainings to EVS volunteers based at projects in the UK.
As an accredited EVS sending/hosting organisation, we support young people through the whole EVS process – by working together to identify a suitable project, supporting the volunteer to build confidence and prepare to embark on their EVS experience, providing risk prevention and crisis management training, offering on-going telephone/internet based support throughout the duration of the project while the volunteer is in the host country, helping to make sense of the learning experience and supporting volunteers to reintegrate and identify future opportunities after their EVS experience has finished.
For further information about EVS, how to get involved, and what funding is available, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
See below for examples of projects that Article 12 in Scotland have recently sent volunteers
Davide Fogazza, Greece
I am a volunteer for the management body of Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland and we are based in Astros, a small village in the prefecture of Arkadia, Greece. The project is about monitoring of a natural park and as a volunteer I take part in different activities. With the other volunteers we go patrolling around the park roads with the rangers checking for fires and illegal activities and we search for jackal and otter tracks – we even helped with the release of an injured jackal! We organize presentations about the park in the schools and since my specialization is in geography I create maps for the park and I also help translating signposts.
The place we live in is small but close to the beach and the temperature is 20 degrees in November so it’s still possible to swim! The locals are friendly and we go out with the other workers to enjoy some Ouzo or Tsipouro – the local drinks. The area of the park is beautiful ranging from mountains to sandy beaches. We hiked a river gorge and visited monasteries. There are also bigger cities nearby where we have been in our free time such as Nafplio and Tripoli. Athens is also 2 hours away and definitely worth a visit on a weekend. Now that my EVS is close to an end, I wish I could stay longer. The time here has been amazing so far and I think everybody should have such an experience. I definitely recommend it!
Lauren Keenan, Sweden
The project I’m involved in is in Sweden and revolves around culture and its accessibility to youths. Kulturhusen Elsas & Skylten are two culture houses run by the NGO Studiefrämjandet, for the use of the public (particularly youths, between 15-25) to create, rehearse and stage their own cultural events. These can include and have included music events, theatre productions, poetry slams, art exhibitions, as well as less know projects like clothing libraries, where people can borrow different clothing and living libraries, in which people can volunteer to be “books” and share their different experiences and thoughts on subjects otherwise unspoken about. The idea of a culture house is to provide platform for youths to get together and express and produce ideas. This is achieved by maintaining an open, comfortable and creative environment to help inspire those who use them. This cultivates creative and entrepreneurial skills in youths and helps instil a confidence in exploring their abilities, as well as contributing to the culture.
Sweden’s a beautiful country, and as my work focuses on culture I’ve been given a deeper insight into noticing and appreciating different cultures, and feel that the entire experience so far has benefited my personal growth greatly. I hope to use what I have learned to involve myself in projects similar to this, and bring the ideas and principles related to culture houses back to Scotland when I return.