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EU Aid Volunteers: new global humanitarian initiative takes shape

Two ECHO@20 members at a Red Cross event(c) Solferino, Italy 2012 (c) Italian Red Cross / Ibrahim Malla
19/09/2012  - 

The European Commission has just set out its plans to develop a global initiative that will offer some 10 000 people the opportunity to volunteer worldwide within humanitarian operations between 2014 and 2020.

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative will provide a path for Europeans eager to provide practical help where help is most urgently needed.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said: ‘We have here a unique possibility to send a positive signal in these times of crisis: through their actions in the field and on the ground, EU Aid Volunteers will demonstrate our European solidarity by helping those most in need. And they will at the same time learn invaluable skills. Saving lives is a life-changing experience that they will never forget. Volunteering has the overwhelming support of all our citizens throughout all our member states.’

The Commission is proposing a training programme to prepare volunteers for deployment. The volunteers will train together in multinational groups and will also be able to spend some months in apprenticeship placements in a foreign country in Europe before going to the field. Only well-prepared volunteers will be deployed as 'EU Aid Volunteers' in humanitarian projects.

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative will be implemented in close cooperation with humanitarian partner organisations. A network of 'EU Aid Volunteers' will be created and is expected to grow over the years into a unique pool of ambassadors for European solidarity.