What is the EU Aid Volunteers initiative about?

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative offers opportunities for NGOs based both in the EU and elsewhere, as well as international organisations that are active in the field of humanitarian aid, disaster risk reduction or linking relief, rehabilitation and development. These NGOs need to form partnerships in order to propose projects that strengthen their own capacity in the above mentioned areas and to deploy European volunteers to strengthen humanitarian aid operations globally, outside the EU.

It offers the possibility for European citizens and long-term residents in EU countries to participate as EU Aid Volunteers in capacity building of humanitarian organisations and local communities working in disaster-affected countries outside Europe.

How is it managed?

The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is in charge of the complete life-cycle management of the strands/actions mentioned above. This consists of the implementation of the programme including the call for proposals, analysis of the grant requests, on-the-spot monitoring of projects, and the dissemination of the projects’ and programme’s results.

EACEA works in partnership with the European Commission, DG ECHO. DG ECHO has guided the design and development of the programme in close consultation with EU member states and key humanitarian stakeholders. DG ECHO holds responsibility for the development of the legal framework at the base of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and maintains key oversight for policy, financial and operational elements of the initiative.

Who does what?


Sets out the priority areas for the deployment and the capacity building to be funded each year, based on assessment of need.

Runs the EU Aid Volunteers networking platform and communications to promote the initiative.

Supervises and supports the implementation of the training programme for candidate volunteers.


Through certification, commit to the quality standards in volunteer management.

In consortia, submit project proposals to undertake capacity building, technical assistance and deployment: select, and provide candidate volunteers with apprenticeship postings deploy and manage EU Aid Volunteers.


Manages calls for proposals and tender and resulting contracts and grants.

Manages the certification process.

Provides insurance contract for all volunteers.

What is the role of sending and hosting organisations?

Sending organisations are entrusted with all the aspects of identification, selection, preparation, deployment and management of EU Aid Volunteers. They shall ensure that the hosting organisation is consistently involved throughout the entire project life-cycle. Hosting organisations will receive the volunteers and are responsible for the induction phase, designating mentors and ensuring the provision of adequate accommodation and working conditions throughout.

Is my organisation eligible for certification as sending/ hosting organisation?

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative is open to organisation based in Europe and other countries who comply with the following criteria:


Adhere to the standards and procedures of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

Be active in the field of humanitarian aid.

Belong to any of the following categories:

non-governmental not-for-profit organisations established in a EU Member State.

civilian public law bodies from a Member State.

the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Organisations established in candidate countries, potential candidates and partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy, countries members of the European Economic Area (EEA) could participate at a later stage only when these countries have signed agreements with the EU covering the programme.


Adhere to the standards and procedures of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

Be active in the field of humanitarian aid.

Belong to any of the following categories:

non-governmental not-for-profit organisations operating or established in a third country under the laws in force in that country.

public law bodies of a civilian character governed by the law of a third country.

international agencies and organisations.

Why are organisations required to become certified under the EU Aid Volunteers initiative?

Each organisation wishing to take part in the EU Aid Volunteers programme is required to commit to implementing the high quality standards of volunteer management outlined in the EU Aid Volunteers legislation. This is a quality assurance indicator of the management of the initiative.

Sending organisations need to complete an evidence-based self-assessment form, showing that they comply with and commit to all the standards and procedures of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative, in areas such as duty of care rule, health and safety, equality rules, amongst others.

Hosting organisations need to complete a self-assessment form and submit it together with three references, in order to demonstrate their capacity to comply with and commit to the requirements of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.

What is the process for submitting applications for certifications?

The certification process is free of charge and organised on a rolling basis until September 2020, so no specific deadlines need to be respected.

Within six months upon receipt of the completed application form, the EU Commission will communicate the outcome of the certification to the applicant organisation.

Evaluation committees established to assess the submitted applications for certification meet monthly. In order for an application to be considered, it must arrive at the Agency’s premises no later than 15 calendar days before the 1st day of the month in which the Evaluation Committee meeting takes place.

Organisations that have failed certification can apply with priority for capacity building for hosting organisation and/or technical assistance for sending organisations.

Unsuccessful organisations can re-submit an application for certification after 12 months.

The self-assessment forms for certification are available in English and French only. However, we accept submissions of self-assessment forms completed in any of the official EU languages. Submission of selfassessment forms and accompanying evidence are to be sent electronically, using only the following email: Acknowledgement of receipt is sent via email to all applying organisation.

What happens once my organisation has been certified?

Once you have been certified as a sending or hosting organisation your organisation may participate in responding to calls for proposals published under the EU Aid Volunteers initiative. Calls for proposals for deployment of EU Aid Volunteers are published on the website of the Directorate-General for European Civil protection and Humanitarian aid Operations and of EACEA, and specify the geographic and thematic priorities of projects.

What is the difference between Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for sending and hosting organisations?

Technical assistance and Capacity building is a call to fund activities that strengthen capacities for sending and hosting organisations intending to participate in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and ensuring compliance with the standards and procedures.

Technical assistance is specifically aimed at building the capacity of organisations inside Europe.

Capacity building is aimed at building the capacity of organisations in countries outside Europe.

This includes a wide range of activities such as:

Study / scoping visits to refine and finalise needs assessment of the action.

Activities to build / strengthen capacities.

Seminars and workshops; job shadowing.

Twinning arrangements and exchange of staff.

Exchange of knowledge, organisational learning and good practices; study visits.

Activities to: foster partnership building, assist organisations in meeting the Core Humanitarian Standards, to strengthen regional cooperation.

Development and management of online volunteer opportunities.

Coaching/mentoring of key sending organisation’s staff and volunteers.

Training courses for third country trainers/coaches/mentors/ multipliers.

Where should I state in the application package that my organisation participated in the Technical Assistance activities?

As advised by the Commission, organisations participating in the Technical Assistance activities should state their involvement, trainings and assistance received in the last question of the Self-Assessment form (Please remember that the Technical Assistance project’s title and reference number should be specified).

What does ‘third-country’ mean in the context of EUAV?

As defined in the Regulation No 375/2014 establishing EU Aid Volunteers initiative, ‘third country’ means a country outside the European Union where humanitarian aid activities and operations take place.

What is considered as active in the field of humanitarian aid?

The EU Commission applies a broad definition of humanitarian aid, defining it as: ‘activities and operations in third countries intended to provide needs-based emergency assistance aimed at preserving life, preventing and alleviating human suffering, and maintaining human dignity in the face of man-made crises or natural disasters. It encompasses assistance, relief and protection operations in humanitarian crises or their immediate aftermath, supporting measures to ensure access to people in need and to facilitate the free flow of assistance, as well as actions aimed at reinforcing disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction, and contributing towards strengthening resilience and capacity to cope with, and recover from, crises’ (Regulation 375/14 Art. 3(d)) In addition, the EUAV initiative seeks strong coherence and complementarity with other policy areas, notably development policy and the linkages of relief, rehabilitation and development. (Regulation 375 Art. 6(1))

Can I apply for certification and at the same time submit a project proposal for Technical Assistance /Capacity Building projects?

YES. On the legal basis, there is no conflict of eligibility, as certification process is separate from the call for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building processes where there is no requirement for any of the consortium members (neither leader nor partner) to already have certification granted. In order to find more information on the eligibility requirements, please consult the last call for proposals for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building:


My organisation is accredited in EVS scheme – will this be beneficial when we apply for THE certification?

European Voluntary Service is another European volunteering scheme that requires prior accreditation process that proves your organisation’s compliance with a series of established requirements related to the volunteer management cycle. Accreditation and experience of the implemented deployment projects can provide some relevant evidence documents that you can attach to your application package (as optional evidence) and make your case stronger.

What is the Legal base of the initiative?

There are three legal acts defining the different aspects of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative. Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 established the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and provides the framework for the initiative. Standards and procedures for the EU Aid Volunteers initiative can be found in the Implementing Regulation 1244/2014 and the Delegated Regulation 1398/2014.

Regulation 375/2014

Implementing Regulation 1244/2014

Delegated Regulation 1398/2014