Calls for proposals

Pilot projects 2012: European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

The deadline for submission of proposals is 05/03/2012.

Please note that the period for submission of questions has now expired.

Addendum [15/02/2012]

Concerning 2.3. of the guidelines (page 11; Lot 1: 'Deployment to ECHO offices') please note that in order to ensure that projects lead to the expected results under 1.2., notably providing opportunities for volunteers to contribute to humanitarian operations and to strengthen local capacities it is not intended that volunteers are deployed only to an ECHO office. Placements of volunteers in ECHO offices may mainly be considered for training purposes. Please also note that placements to ECHO offices may not result in additional funding or contributions asked by ECHO offices to the project so as to exclude any double-financing of projects by the European Commission.

Corrigendum [31/01/2012]

Please note that page 14 of the guidelines (eligibility criteria), 5th bullet point, should read as follows:

  • "The project should cover selection, training and deployment of volunteers. Deployments should take place outside the EU for the periods as stipulated under 2.3."

Questions and answers on the call [updated 15/02/2012]

Eligible applicants and partners: Covered by 2.1., 2.2. and 4. of the guidelines.

Q: Are regional authorities eligible as applicants and partners of this call?

A: Yes, they are 'public sector operators' as included into the criteria for applicants under 2.1.3. of the guidelines. In order to be eligible, the applicant must satisfy the eligibility criteria 2.1.1. through 2.1.6. Project partners must satisfy 2.1.1. through 2.1.5.).

: What does 'a proven track record of successful management and deployment of volunteers in third countries, including the last three years of operation' (section 2.1.6 of the guidelines) refer to?

A: The section 3.3. of the application form provides the detail of information applicants have to provide in order for ECHO to be able to assess this criterion.

Q: How many EU Member States have to be represented by the applicants / partners?

A: Please refer to 2.2. of the guidelines: The minimum requirement is three nationalities (applicant + 2 partners from two different Member States, i.e. also different to the one of the applicant). Where international organisations are the applicant, these are three different nationalities in addition to the international organisation. Please also note 3.4. of the guidelines stating that additional partners and member states represented are considered an asset.

Q: Can one project be submitted under different Lots?

A: No. Each applicant may only submit one proposal. The Lot under which the project is submitted has to be clearly identified in the application form.

Q: Can one organisation be applicant and / or partner in different projects submitted under the same or different Lots?

A: Please refer to point 4. of the guidelines: "An applicant shall not submit more than one application under this Call for Proposals. An applicant may be at the same time partner in another application. Partners may take part in more than one application".

Q: Can organisations from non EU-countries apply?

A: No. Applicants and partner organisation need to be legally established in an EU Member State (see 2.1. and 2.2. of the guidelines). However, organisations from non EU countries can be 'associates' to the project (see 2.2. of the guidelines), notably as hosting organisations of volunteers.

Q: Can United Nations agencies apply as 'international organisations'.

A: Yes. The guidelines state in article 2.1. the criteria for applicants. United Nations agencies are international organisations and can thus be applicants and / or partners.

Q: Can only 'FPA-partners' apply?

A: No. Any organisation that complies with all the eligibility criteria stated in section 2.1 can apply.

Place of deployment: Covered by 2.3. of the guidelines.

Q: Can volunteers be deployed twice for periods of two months? 

A: Deployments have to respect the minimum durations indicated for each Lot (see 2.3. of the guidelines). For Lot 1, deployments of less than 4 months in one project are not foreseen. An exception is made for Lot 2 (see footnote 5) where the capacity building dimension of the project justifies. For Lot 3, deployments should last a maximum of two months. There is, however, no maximum of numbers of deployments for each volunteer within the overall maximum project duration.

Q: Are activities in the Ukraine or with Ukrainian organizations eligible?

A: Article 2.3. states that 'deployments of volunteers must take place in third countries (outside the EU)' and projects shall focus on countries with ongoing ECHO humanitarian interventions. There are no ongoing humanitarian operations in Ukraine. Ukrainian organisations may be involved as 'associates' to projects as mentioned under 2.2. of the guidelines.

Q: Can the volunteers only be deployed to third, i.e. non EU countries?

A: Yes (see 2.3. of the guidelines). Please also note that volunteers need to be deployed to countries with ongoing ECHO operations (see also answer below).

Q: Are China and Moldova eligible countries?

A: No. The guidelines state in article 2.3. that volunteers can be deployed to third countries, outside the EU, with ongoing ECHO operations. In Moldova and China there are no ongoing ECHO operations, these countries are, thus, not eligible for deployments under the 2012 call.
A list of current operations can be found on and

Eligible activities: Covered by 2.3. of the guidelines.

Q: What are the requirements for the timing of projects: Can a project start in November/December 2012 with a bulk of the activities taking place in 2013?

A: The activities of the project and the 15 months period commence in principle upon signature of the contract that is foreseen for April 2012. Only in duly justified cases derogation can be made from this principle. As the objective of the call for proposals 2012 is to test features of the future Corps and to provide learning for the regulation to be proposed in 2012 it is not intended to fund projects whose essential activities would only take place in 2013.

Q: What does the term 'third country' refer to?

A: Third countries are countries that are not Member States of the EU.

Q: When referring to 'ECHO's regional support offices and field offices may be taken into account for some placements' does ECHO expect that these ECHO field offices shall be involved in defining a common project before the project submission deadline?

A: No, ECHO field and regional support offices may not be involved in the process leading to the submission of a project proposal under this call in order to allow complete transparency and equal opportunities during the selection process.

Q: Can 'simulation exercises' be organized in third countries, i.e. non EU countries, and can they be considered a deployment?

A: The project consortia are free to choose how and where to organize the training and preparation of the volunteers before deployment. However, the projects must include 'deployments' of the volunteers in addition to the 'training' periods with a minimum length depending on the Lot (2.3. of the guidelines).

Q: What is meant by 'online volunteering' as eligible action for Lot 1?

A: 'Online volunteering' (or 'virtual volunteering') are activities whereby a volunteer uses the internet to complete tasks, in whole or in part, off-site from the organization or beneficiary being assisted. Nota bene: These activities are eligible as additional activities to a 'non-virtual' deployment of volunteers.

Q: Are training and capacity building activities in the field of preservation of cultural heritage from natural disasters eligible?

A: Yes, these activities are eligible provided that the project covers the whole project cycle from identifying, selecting, training and deploying volunteers to third countries with ongoing ECHO operations.


Eligible costs of volunteers: Covered by 2.4. of the guidelines

Q: How do you define 'volunteer' and the eligible costs of a volunteer?

A: The call does deliberately not include a definition of 'volunteer' so as to allow organisations with humanitarian and civil protection expertise to apply their respective definitions of volunteers in the framework of the project. Generally accepted features of the terms 'volunteer', however, include that he / she engages in the voluntary activity out of free will (i.e. no form of obligation shall be involved); with (a) clear beneficiary(ies) beyond the volunteer; and not primarily for financial reward or benefit. Where a financial reward is given it is generally referred to as 'allowance' that should allow the volunteer to cover the costs of living during the period of assignment and that is assumed to be lower than a market 'salary'.
Volunteer allowances and any costs directly linked to the voluntary action such as housing; costs for international and local travel; costs to cover visa requirements; insurances; etc can be considered eligible costs (provided they comply with the provisions of art II.14 of the general condition to the Grant Agreement (Annex B)).
Selection procedure: Covered by 3. of the guidelines

Q: Do applicants who are FPA partners and registered on APPEL / PADOR have to equally fill sections 3.4. and 3.5. of the application form and provide forms such as the Legal Entities form?

A: Sections 3.4. and 3.5. need to be filled by all applicants. As to the Legal Entity Form and Financial Identification Form please refer to page 14 of the grant guidelines, 3. and 4. (the applicants only needs to provide the legal entity number and a copy of the previous financial identification sheet if a contract had been previously signed with the Commission and the respective information has not changed).

Q: Will the projects submitted under the different Lots be assessed separately?

A: Yes. The selection of application will follow the rules as described under chapter 3. of the guidelines, notably page 17.

Application procedure: Covered by 4. of the guidelines

Q: Is the application form available in other languages and does one need to submit the projects in English?

A:  Please refer to 4.1. of the guidelines. The application form is available in English only. Project proposals may be submitted in any official language of the European Union. However, in order to facilitate assessment by evaluators, an English translation should preferably accompany and proposal written in another language. In such case, applicants should submit their application in their own language and in English.