Links between EVS and Mutual Assistance

The EVS programme can be used to fund mutual assistance mobility abroad of individuals or groups of 10 and more. Some of the hosting projects have themes such as Anti racism/Xenophobia, Disability, Minorities, Social Exclusion and many more, indicating that such projects would benefit a marginalized group in the host country. Disadvantaged volunteers can go abroad for periods from 2 weeks to 2 months.

Another opportunity that EVS provides is a longer term placement for a young person who has already undertaken short term mutual assistance mobility; indeed EVS has proven as a very suitable next step in life for many disadvantaged participants on projects of Bhagavat Educational Trust.


European Voluntary Service

The Youth in Action programme offers young Europeans the chance to make a real difference to the world – and to their own lives – through the European Voluntary Service (Action 2 of the Youth in Action programme).

The EUROPEAN VOLUNTARY SERVICE (EVS) provides young Europeans with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. In this way, it seeks to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, thus contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the European Union and to promoting young people`s active citizenship.

A strong focus on training and personal and task-related support helps young people develop skills and competences which will be useful in their future employment or education.


Learning for life!

Open to all young people aged 18 to 30, EVS is a true ‘learning service’. Beyond benefiting the local communities, by participating in voluntary activities, young volunteers can develop new skills and, therefore, improve their personal, educational and professional development. Volunteers can benefit from specific training throughout the activity and agree on their expected learning outcomes, processes and methods in advance. Their learning experience is formally recognised through a YOUTHPASS CERTIFICATE. Participation is free for the volunteers (except for a possible contribution of a maximum of 10% of the travel costs) who also get board and lodging, insurance cover and an allowance for the duration of the project. Special conditions apply to encourage the participation of young people with fewer opportunities. For instance, they can participate as of the age of 16. Further information can be found in the Youth in Action Programme Guide as well as in the Inclusion Strategy of the Programme.

Co-operation and friendships

A successful EVS project requires close co-operation among at least three key players: a sending organisation, a host organisation and the volunteer. One of the organisations involved in this partnership also plays the role of coordinating organisation and applies for an EU grant on behalf of the partnership. Organisations perform a number of roles: they identify volunteering opportunities and develop projects that benefit the local community. They also recruit and prepare the volunteers, host them, and ensure follow-up.

EVS activities can be carried out both individually or in group. Up to 30 volunteers can now participate in the same EVS project!

The European Voluntary Service spans a wide range of areas, such as culture, youth, sports, social care, cultural heritage, the arts, civil protection, the environment, development co-operation, etc.  One thing all the activities have in common is a clear European and intercultural learning dimension. EVS is a mutually beneficial process, where everybody gains from getting to know the other`s culture.



All EVS organisations must be non-profit-making.


Sending Organisations: Prepare and Support young people before, during, and after their EVS placement.

Hosting Organisations: It should offer a clearly defined role for the volunteer, with a variety of tasks and good (non-formal) learning opportunities. An EVS placement is a period of full-time volunteering (35 hours a week) for between 2 and 12 months; or between two weeks and two months in case of volunteers with fewer opportunities/disadvantaged background.


The EVS has certain core values and quality standards which are laid down in the EVS Charter. In order to protect and uphold these, organisations interested in sending or hosting EVS volunteers or coordinating an EVS project need first to be accredited by the National Agency responsible for EVS in their country.

To receive accreditation, organisations submit an ‘expression of interest’ and, once their application is approved, they sign up to the EVS Charter. Accreditation lasts for three years, but can be withdrawn immediately in cases of non-compliance with the Charter.


What is it specificity when working with volunteers with fewer opportunities?

One of the key principles of the EVS is the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.

Volunteers who are not able to undertake a long-term EVS placement over two months can undertake an EVS placement for a shorter amount of time, between two weeks and two months.

Organisations working with volunteers affected by the following are suitable for shorter term projects, though the list is not exclusive.

Left school without qualifications
Involvement with the probation service or at risk of offending
Alcohol/drug abuse

The EVS National Agencies allow greater flexibility and will provide extra support for organisations working with young people in these groups.



Volunteers have the right to receive a Youthpass certificate after completing their Service. The EU uses the Youthpass to ensure voluntary activity is recognised as an educational experience and a period of non-formal learning. An achievement report is filled in jointly by the volunteer and the Host or Coordinating Organisation and given to the volunteer.


The Service must:

• take place in a country other then volunteer`s country of residence
• be unpaid and non-profit making
• last between 2 and 12 months or a minimum of 2 weeks for young people with fewer opportunities 
• represent a clear European or international added value
• benefit the community
• not involve job substitution


Need more info?

Follow the useful links:

EVS on the ECs website http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/european-voluntary-service_en.htm

Programme Guide for the EU Youth in Action Programme 2007-13 http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/programme-guide_en.htm

Supporting Documents: http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/supporting-documents-european-voluntary-service_en.htm

The European database on EVS accredited organisations http://ec.europa.eu/youth/evs/aod/hei_en.cfm

Youthpass http://www.youthpass.eu/en/youthpass/                     

Contacts of National Agencies and other important actors http://ec.europa.eu/youth/orphans/contact-list_en.htm#sectNAS


N.B.! The links above are external and are subject to change. If you experience any difficulties – try EUROPEAN VOLUNTARY SERVICE