FAQ (Frequently asked questions) & Contact

On the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department's website you will find a wealth of information about the different aspects of the humanitarian aid policy of the EU. Should you not find what you are looking for, you can contact us directly. We shall answer your question as quickly as possible.

Before contacting us, we invite you to first take a look at the following thematic list which might already supply the information you are looking for:


  • How can a non-governmental organisation become a partner of the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department?

For an NGO to become a partner, it must submit an expression of interest on line though Appel to the Humanitarian Aid department, backed by documentation such as the NGO's legal registration with national authorities, act of incorporation or bylaws, annual reports, annual accounts, audits reports, information on funding, list of board members, organisation chart, letters of reference from relevant humanitarian bodies or national authorities, etc.

After studying the documentation and any additional information, the Humanitarian Aid department conducts an evaluation of the NGO's performance (also by means of physical inspections), based on the legal, operational, administrative and financial criteria laid down in article 7 of the Humanitarian Aid Regulation. Then a decision is taken as to whether the applicant may have access to Community funding. Where the outcome of such an evaluation is positive, the Humanitarian Aid department and the applicant NGO may sign the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA).

  • What are the eligibility criteria for becoming a partner of the Humanitarian Aid department?

An NGO must fulfil a number of criteria to become an FPA-partner. These are laid out in detail in the Humanitarian Aid Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996). Article 7 of the regulation sets out that non-governmental organisations have to be recognised as a non-profit making organisation in a Member State of the EU under the laws in force in that Member State. The second criterion is to have the main headquarters of the organisation in a Member State of the EU or in the third countries in receipt of Community aid. Exceptionally, the headquarters may be in a third donor country. These two criteria are cumulative and both compulsory. Other criteria concern the legal form of the NGO, its administrative, operational and financial management capacities, its financial autonomy, its specific experience in the field of humanitarian aid, the results of previous operations, its impartiality and neutrality in the delivery of aid, its field co-ordination capacities etc.

  • Does an NGO have to be a partner in order to apply for humanitarian aid financing?

Yes. To be financed, applicant organisations are submitted to a selection procedure that may lead to becoming signatories of a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA); subsequently, funding may be provided on the basis of specific project proposals presented to the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department for assessment.

Work with us

  • How does the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department recruit its headquarters staff?

Like all Commission services, the Humanitarian Aid department is bound by the rules on recruitment. These require permanent staff to be recruited by competition. The great majority of Commission staff are therefore European civil servants. The Humanitarian Aid department does sometimes take on temporary staff - for example, temporary agents and interim staff - on fixed-term contracts.

Further information on recruitment to the Commission can be obtained from the website of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) or from the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/civil_service/job/index_en.htm.

  • What are the opportunities for doing humanitarian work in the field?

  1. The Commission's Humanitarian Aid department recruits experts (Technical Assistants) to work in the field
    For specific technical assistant missions involving the execution of humanitarian aid projects which it finances, the Humanitarian Aid department recruits individual experts to work in third countries outside the European Union. Candidates may apply through a database following a call for applications published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. It is not possible for the Humanitarian Aid department to employ experts who have not registered their applications in the database.
    Further information on how to apply

  2. And if my profile does not meet the criteria to become an expert?
    As the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department closely works with humanitarian partners (non-governmental organisations, UN specialised agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement), we suggest that you get in touch with one of them. Their coordinates can be found on our website at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/partners/humanitarian_aid/fpa_partners.pdf.

    As our partners are not the only NGOs, please find herewith two other sites where you can find additional information on organisations that are active in the field: www.ngovoice.org and www.reliefweb.int.

    Finally we also suggest that you visit the following site if you are interested in development work at large: www.devjobsmail.com.

  3. and if I am interested to work as volunteer?

    We are happy to announce that a first pilot phase of the Corps has started in June 2011. Three consortia led by some of ECHO's main NGO partner organisations have been chosen in an open call for proposals to run the pilot projects for us: Save the Children UK, the French Red Cross and VSO International UK. Information on the process and how to get involved is available and will be regularly updated on:  http://ec.europa.eu/echo/policies/evhac_en.htm 

    Please note that the chosen partner organisations have developed their own processes how to send the first European Humanitarian Volunteers. Please do refer to the website above to find information on when and how you can get involved. At this stage of the process, Save the Children UK has launched an open call for candidatures with a deadline of July 3, 2011. The Red Cross will commence its process in September 2011, VSO International early 2012.  

    The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) does NOT recruit, train or deploy volunteers at this stage.

  • Is there a special simplified procedure for recruiting experts for major emergencies?

No. Please refer to the previous question for more information about recruiting procedures.

  • Why do experts who have already been selected and who appear on the database not automatically receive a contract?

Inclusion on the list of potential experts is no guarantee for a contract. Contracts are concluded on the basis of operational needs and on the relevance of the skills of each expert to the tasks that are to be carried out in the field.


  • What about traineeships?

Like any other Commission department, the Humanitarian Aid department accepts graduate trainees for two five-month sessions every year. For further information, contact the Traineeships Office (Bureau des Stages), European Commission, rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels.

  • What about NOHA traineeships?

NOHA (Network On Humanitarian Assistance) traineeships are the final stage of a one-year multidisciplinary post-graduate course leading to a Master's Degree in Humanitarian Assistance. NOHA internships in the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department last for two months and take place during the academic year. Our department takes one student from each university offering the course and the universities are responsible for the selection procedure.

  • What about bursaries, loans for vocational training or traineeships, grant applications?

The Commission's Humanitarian Aid department does not award bursaries for courses or to promote vocational placements in EU or non-member countries.

Food Aid

  • What is the Humanitarian Aid department's role in the domain of food aid?

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) is responsible for the food aid budget of the European Commission. In 2007 it allocated over € 220 million in funding for food assistance and more than € 283 million is foreseen for 2008. Most of the funds are deployed during crises or in the recovery period immediately afterwards. The aim is to save lives and relieve suffering.

More information - Laeflet

Policies & Evaluation

  • How does the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department select external consulting firms to evaluate its actions?

  1. All evaluations are carried out by independent consultants with sound experience of the field and the evaluation of humanitarian aid.

  2. Both in the Official Journal of the European Communities Series S nr 43of 02/03/2007 and on this site, ECHO EVALUATION published a call for expressions of interest aimed at creating a database of potential consulting firms. Consulting firms propose evaluators that are then selected according to the following criteria: training, practical experience, specialised knowledge of the sector to be evaluated and language skills.

  3. To be included in this database, the candidate firms must respond to this call for expressions of interest. They will be informed of the result of their application as soon as their submission has been analysed.

  4. For each evaluation, the Humanitarian Aid department contacts consulting firms from the database as part of a restricted call for tender. The offers received are assessed both according to the general criteria of point 2 and the specific needs of each evaluation as specified in the terms of reference.

  5. The contract to be drawn up between the consulting firm and the Commission is a service contract.

  • What is the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid?

The European Commission, EU Member States and the European Parliament have united around a joint Declaration of common vision, principles and practice to ensure that we do the best possible job to provide relief and prevent suffering.

The Statement on the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid was approved by the Council on 19 November 2007 and the European Parliament on 29 November 2007 and has been signed by the Presidents of the Commission, Council and European Parliament on 18 December 2007.

For more information, please visit following webpage: Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

Commercial offer

  • Does the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department work directly with suppliers?

No. It works directly with non-governmental organisations, UN specialised agencies and international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross or the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Humanitarian Aid department does not recognise any contractual link between itself and the suppliers of its partner organisations. Therefore, its implementing partners are fully responsible for procurement of supplies and services, including consignment, transport and storage.

The same rule applies to the partners' sub-contractors or local partners. The humanitarian organisation shall assume full responsibility for the actions of the local partner and/or sub-contractor.



Contact us

Should you still not find what you are looking for, please send us your request using the following online form and we will reply as quickly as possible.