If you are between 18 and 30 years old, have the enthusiasm and dynamism and between 2 and 12 months to dedicate to a local project in another European country- the European Voluntary Service (EVS) might be for you!
Through EVS, volunteers are given the opportunity for personal development along with practical experience supported by the National Agency (Léargas in Ireland) before, during and after the their time abroad. EVS funding covers100% of travel costs, an allowance for pre-departure trainings and preparations and an allowance for the host organisation to cover living expenses of the volunteer (e.g. food, accommodation, local transport).
If you are interested in EVS, then you need to get started six weeks before your chosen funding application deadline. Forthcoming deadlines are 01 May 2012, for projects starting between 01 August 2012 and 31 January 2013 or October 2012, for projects starting between 01 January and 30 June 2013.
You can browse the many hundreds of active host projects by theme and coutry through the Youthnetworks.eu website. To access the database you will need to be invited by your Sending Organisation (Trinity College Dublin) to create an account. You can request this from the Civic Engagement Officer.
The European Commission also provides an EVS database (http://ec.europa.eu/youth/evs/aod/hei_en.cfm) although opportunities on this are not always up to date.
You should also arrange to meet the Civic Engagement Officer (EVS coordinator for Trinity) as soon as possible as you will require support from your Sending Organisation during application process, implementation stages as well as on your return from an EVS placement. She can help you narrow down your options, prepare your motivation letter, liaise with host organisations etc. Once you have settled on a host organisation (based on additional information and volunteer stories etc.) and that host organisation has accepted you on the basis of your CV and motivation letter, you and the Civic Engagement Officer will need to fill out certain sections of the funding application. After a successful application, you will need to work with the Civic Engagement Officer and the EVS coordinator from your host organisation to create an Activity Agreement. This is like your contract for the EVS placement and clarifies the role of your Sending and Host Organisation in supporting you (trainings, mentors, frequency and mode of communication with sending, what happens if it doesn't work out etc.)
The European Voluntary Service Guide is also available from the Civic Engagement Officer.
Léargas Youth Work Service- the exchange bureau is responsible for the delivery of EVS. On their website you can find a helpful FAQ section.
Thanks to Léargas and Youth Association creACTive ( EVS host in Macedonia) for the use of their EVS imagery.