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EU Aid Volunteers

One of the Lisbon Treaty's most exciting innovations is set to launch in 2014 – EU Aid Volunteers, a programme to train and deploy volunteers in humanitarian projects.  It will offer close to 20 000 opportunities for volunteering worldwide during the next seven years. 

Kristalina Georgieva, on the right

The initiative will provide a path for Europeans eager to help the victims of crises and disasters: combining the European value of solidarity with the need to preserve life and alleviate suffering. The initiative comes at a time when humanitarian organisations need more well-prepared people to support them in helping communities struck by disasters.

Volunteers will be trained and matched with humanitarian organisations for deployment in EU-funded projects in countries affected by disasters. The participants will have a variety of options: from performing online tasks from home, through work at the offices of humanitarian organisation inside the European Union, to deployment to EU-funded humanitarian operations around the world. 

Intensive preparation has been going on since 2011 to make sure that "EU Aid Volunteers" will be an asset to humanitarian organisations, motivated Europeans and the victims of disasters who will benefit from their assistance. The programme has gone through three preparatory phases, during which 270 pilot volunteers from 30 nationalities have been deployed to projects in 44 countries.  

EU citizens have voiced their support for the EU volunteer programme in humanitarian aid: in a public opinion poll by Eurobarometer, 88% of respondents said they were in favour of the initiative.