European Voluntary Service - Is it for everyone ?

European Voluntary Service - Is it for everyone ? Here is a question I've been asking myself for quite  a while now. In this article I'll give a try to answer this question.

According to Youth in Action Programme Guide "Youth in Action is the Programme the European Union has set up for young people. It aims to inspire a sense of active European citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans and to involve them in shaping the Union's future. It promotes mobility within and beyond the EU's borders, non-formal learning and intercultural dialogue, and encourages the employability and inclusion of all young people, regardless of their educational, social and cultural background: Youth in Action is a Programme for all!

Every year, thousands of projects are submitted by promoters in order to get financial support from the Programme; a selection process aims at granting the best projects."

Well, in theory it sound nice, but let's take a look on what European Voluntary Service (EVS) is particularly about.

"The European Voluntary Service enables young people to carry out voluntary service for up to 12 months in a country other than their country of residence. It fosters solidarity among young people and is a true ‘learning service’. Beyond benefiting local communities, volunteers learn new skills and languages, and discover other cultures. Non-formal learning principles and practice are reflected throughout the project."

Again, it sounds awesome, something to look forward to, something worth applying for and there is the catch, when it comes to applying you get to know what a burden this programme may become. Yet, you may lucky if in the process of searching and applying for a good project you are represented by an organization with a good reputation and well known in the european space but if not, your chances to get selected are slim because your application goes against hundreds of other applications, some of them may be better written, better presented, and it won't matter that you deserve it and you are one of the best volunteers they can get, that you nailed the interview, or you're prepared the best.

I'm sure in every country are a lot of young people who would like to participate in such programme, but they come from a country with  a certain history, the come from an organization with little experience and sometimes non-existent, and all they have by their sides is their lifetime experience that would be an asset to every organization and every project, but how would they "sell" it ?

From the top of my mind I would recommend to the competent bodies of the European Union to create a European Volunteers Database where every young person would create a profile where he may be present his abilities, his successes and how may contribute to one project or another. A database where every host organization would look for a perfect candidate for their projects. It would be a lot easier for every participating side: Sending Organization, Host and Coordinating Organization.

This way it would become a lot easier for every young person to participate in this programme. In my previous article I wrote about my experience about applying for EVS projects, and although I know a lot (as ambiguous as it sounds) I am still looking for a project to get accepted for. 

Hope I helped prospective applicants in their applying for EVS projects journey, hope I lowered their expectations in order not to get disappointed and keep applying until they get what they deserve.

And if the database suggested earlier will not see the light of the day in the near future I am gonna make sure I will under my supervision

P.S. If you have any other suggestion I'd be happy to include them in the main article.