EU Aid Volunteers (EUAV) is an initiative by the European Union to promote citizens’ volunteerism in humanitarian contexts. The Caritas network has already been implementing several projects under EUAV, both for technical assistance and capacity building − to raise organisational standards and prepare for the sending and hosting of volunteers − and for the deployment of volunteers.
Caritas Europa is currently leading a capacity-building project with eight of its member organisations: the national Caritas of Armenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Romania Serbia and Ukraine. This two-year project, entitled ‘Accompaniment and Building Capacities in EUAV’ or ABC-EUAV in short, started in February 2020. It builds on the predecessor TEACH project.
The ABC-EUAV project is structured around three objectives: Increase knowledge and capacity of the partner organisations to actively participate in EU Aid Volunteer projects; Improve the partners’ capacities in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and organisational preparedness to respond to emergencies; Further develop partners’ capacities in the field of volunteer management and safeguarding.
Different activities are undertaken to achieve these objectives. Firstly, the EU Aid Volunteer initiative is promoted so that partners are well informed about the initiative and how to apply to be certified as a volunteer ‘sending’ or ‘hosting organisation’. They are trained on how to prepare for this certification. The partners might need to adopt new or adapt existing policies and practices. Peer-exchange plays an important role here as partners will share and learn from each other’ experiences.
For the second objective, the project extends and complements existing efforts in the Caritas network. These include a workshop on organisational emergency preparedness and a training of trainers on DRR. By the end of the ABC-EUAV project, all partners will have adopted updated emergency preparedness plans and shared materials on awareness raising of DRR. The learnings will then be disseminated at local level in the partner countries.
Finally, some organisations already have important skills in volunteer management. These skills will be spread to the other partners through a training on quality volunteer management and a workshop on safeguarding and protection mainstreaming. In order to capitalise on past and ongoing EU Aid Volunteer projects, ABC-EUAV does not intend to develop any new material on volunteer management or safeguarding but to disseminate, translate and rollout existing resources.
The network is simultaneously involved in other EU Aid Volunteer projects. PEOPLE and RECHANGE are capacity-building projects between European and African Caritas organisations. PEACH2 is a capacity-building project between European and Asian
Caritas organisations. REACH and SCORE are projects already deploying volunteers outside of the EU. All projects complement and build on each other.