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European Voluntary Service

Description

Since 2007, ECAS has been coordinating and hosting volunteers from across Europe to enjoy a life experience in the European capital under the European Voluntary Service (EVS).

In June 2015, we renewed our accreditation as a hosting and coordinating organisation with the Belgian National Agency for Erasmus+ Bureau International de la Jeunesse (BIJ). Our PIC number is 959974469.

We have been accredited for the following topics, which correspond to our areas of work:

  • EU Citizenship, Awareness and Democracy
  • Social Dialogue
  • Reaching the Political Level / Dialogue with Decision-Makers

In addition, we also offer projects enhancing digital competences and supporting youth participation.

Time-frame

We have been accredited as an EVS coordinating and hosting organisation under Erasmus+ until 2020.

Our current project runs from February 2016 – January 2017

What Does ECAS Do?

ECAS has been accredited as a coordinating and hosting organisation for EVS until 2020.

As a coordinating organisation we submit the project application, coordinate the project in cooperation with the sending organisations and distribute the Erasmus+ grant among the participants and partner organisations. We ensure that the volunteers receive the EVS info kit and participate in the required pre- and post-training and evaluation sessions. We also coordinate with the sending organisations to ensure that the volunteers fulfill all the administrative requirements when they arrive to Belgium and provide them support in their learning process.

As a receiving organisation, we provide personal support to the volunteers to integrate in the hosting community and look for proper accommodation and offer them guidance and training to fulfill their tasks. We also support them in their self-learning process and in making progress towards the agreed learning outcomes. Finally, we encourage and support the volunteers to take part in learning and training opportunities.

Current Project

“YEAP Europe! – Youth Engagement & Active Participation in Europe

Duration: From 1st February 2016 until 31st of January 2017

Sending partners:

Project summary

With this project ECAS aims to involve volunteers in various activities supporting the awareness and active participation of young people in the European public sphere, in particular in policies which directly affect them.

The project is structured in three axes, which address ECAS’ main areas of work (digital democracy and EU rights), in addition to an axis devoted to ECAS’ outreach strategy and alliance-building and the development of membership services. Volunteers may be involved in more than one depending on their individual profiles and motivations.

This project expects to raise awareness about youth policies and initiatives at EU level among young people and organisations both in Europe and in the neighbourhood countries, focusing on the “unengaged” groups in the partners’ countries. This should result in higher engagement of these youth groups with the EU, which will contribute to enhancing the EU’s legitimacy.

In addition, the volunteers will develop a number of key competences that will help them in their future careers. They will also have the chance to relate directly to their local communities, which will support the project’s sustainability, as they will be able to share the knowledge acquired once the EVS service is completed and they return to their home countries.

Testimonials

EVS is a programme that gives you an opportunity when you do not necessarily have specific experience or knowledge but do have the will to learn and expand your abilities. ECAS treats its volunteers equally and fairly, which creates a safe space for achieving various tasks and improving yourself in many ways. What stands out the most in the twelve months I enjoyed as an EVS at ECAS, besides the diverse nature of Brussels, is being part of a hard working, active international team that supports each other at all levels in empowering citizens, CSOs and governmental bodies in policy making processes. I gained specific knowledge of the IPA project cycle and project management beside citizen support services both in Europe and in pre-accession countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

There were three main components of my EVS experience, which you could think of as characters in a story: Brussels, ECAS and me. All three had an equal share and power in my one year course and together we created a very appealing and memorable story. Anyone interested should start creating one of their own.

Esra Evs Testimonial

The EVS experience at ECAS helped me better understand how EU institutions work in practice. Seeing things with your own eyes is very different from reading or hearing about them, and many things were different than I expected, in one way or another. Doing an EVS at ECAS is also quite different from what normally EVS are about, but this is another reason why it was so interesting! The colleagues were also very nice and welcoming, and all in all I am really glad I had this opportunity.

Federico

You know these moments in life when everything changes? Well, I was living my (rather) normal kind of life and then I went to ECAS. You might ask: how exactly did it change your life? To cut the long story short: completely.  ECAS gave me opportunity to dive into a completely new world, full of completely new – amazing – people, learn completely new skills and gain tones of completely new experiences. Would I grasp such an opportunity again? Absolutely!

Joanna

Taking a decision to leave everything what you have and take a deep plunge into something unknown is never an easy one. I took such a decision, left Poland and decided to take one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do my EVS at ECAS. At ECAS I was mainly responsible for preparing a paper on changes to Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 and its role for the NGO sector as well as a paper on the new Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA). Having an EVS experience in my CV, especially in an international NGO was a great chance to develop my career – both in Brussels, where I stayed for 10 more months, and later in Poland. Currently I work in Warsaw for one of the ministries on projects supported by European funds.

 

Captura De Pantalla 2016 02 13 A Les 19.14.49

During my experience at ECAS I learned that I am thrilled to find what unites me with the others, but always looking to learn from those who are different from me.

Elena

As an EVS for 10 months at ECAS I had the chance to be at the centre of the policy-making scene and learn a lot about how policies are born. I also learnt how much citizens matter for the future of the EU and how little they know about it. Six years later, I work both as a consultant in institutional communication and supervise the Europe Direct Contact Centre, where a team of communication officers answers daily questions from citizens from across the EU. In my current position I still share the values I have been taught at ECAS: empowering citizens to exercise their rights and promoting a more inclusive participation in the decision-making process.

Bet

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