The European Voluntary Service (EVS), implemented by the European Commission as part of the Youth in Action community programme, is an initiative, which enables young people aged 18-30 who are legally resident in a country participating in the programme, to experience voluntary work in a country other than their country of residence. This experience can be undertaken in fields as varied as culture, youth, sport, social assistance, the environment, development cooperation, etc.
No training, qualification or previous professional experience is required. The EVS enables young people from all backgrounds to learn about another culture and make themselves useful to others by actively participating in the host organisation’s activities and the life of local communities.
A European Voluntary Service project generally lasts between six and twelve months, during which all costs (return fare, accommodation, food, local transport, as well as potential language training) are covered by the Youth in Action European Programme in the form of a monthly allowance. Furthermore, a monthly allowance, in the form of pocket money, is provided to the volunteer.
A European Voluntary Service involves the following partnership:
- A young volunteer
- A host organisation (where voluntary activities will be offered by the organisation)
- A sending organisation (which assists the volunteer in the steps leading up to his or her departure)
- In the case of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France, a thematic or geographic coordinating organisation (administrative and financial manager of the whole project: preparation and submission of the request for a grant, coordination and signature of contracts, management of the stay, support for the volunteer and the project’s organisation partners etc.)
In 2007, the ADCEI (Association for European and International Cultural Development) in France was designated as coordinating organisation of the European Voluntary Service in the field of culture in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, benefiting from the numerous intermediaries who make up their partners in the EUROMEDINCULTURE Network in Europe and the Mediterranean region in order to put aspiring volunteers in touch with host organisations.
Finally, so that the voluntary experience takes place in the best possible conditions, each volunteer and each host organisation commits to observing the “EVS Charter,” a document which sets out the rights and obligations of each party as well as the qualitative standards of the European Voluntary Service (p. 74 of the guide to the programme).