In the second part of the Activity 7 of the Network, 15 out of 35 organisations took part in the online meeting on E+ and ESC programmes. United Societies of Balkans welcomed all the partners to the meeting. As in the first meeting, Jamboard was used for an easier and more interactive presentation of the meeting’s topics. The main topics of the discussion were COVID-19 and the new situation that is creating in Europe, the ESC programme, the good and bad practices that each organisation is using and the logo of the Network.
European Solidarity Corps
Firstly, the participants of the meeting talked about the European Solidarity project in general. Aris from USB started with some information about the programme. At first, the programme was called European Voluntary Service (EVS), it was part of the Youth in Action programme, then part of the Erasmus+ and now it is an autonomous one under the new name European Solidarity Corps. The programme is about hosting and sending motivated volunteers who want in the organisational support of an organisation, gain knowledge and skills related in the field of youth. There is a differentiation in the duration of each project, starting from 14 days until 14 months. For participating in an ESC project, it is required to be less than 30 years old. After the arrival of the volunteer, two meeting are hosted by the NA, the on-arrival meeting when the National Agency welcomes all the volunteers of the country/region and the mid-term meeting, which is happening in the middle of the project and it is for the evaluation of the project.
Experience in ESC – hosting/sending organisations
USB, as hosting and sending organisation, provides to the volunteers Mentor who is informing the volunteer for all the logistics matters, such as travel tickets, insurance (EYC and Cigna), food and accommodation, Online Linguistic Support (OLS), pocket money and organises a pre departure meeting with the volunteer before their departure (when sending) or a welcome meeting (when hosting). When hosting, with the Mentor is the Coordinator of the volunteers, who is responsible to inform the volunteer for their responsibilities. USB can host up to 46 volunteers who work in local organisations, and last year it has sent more than 60 volunteers abroad.
Dijana from IUVENTA has experience as a sending organisation when the programme was under the Erasmus+ (EVS). As an organisation, it prefers to send less people abroad but good ones. Usually the volunteers who are coming back from their projects are still working on the field of the youth.
Marice from SEGA said that the organisation has experience in EVS since 2010, mostly as a hosting organisation. The organisation can host more than 40 volunteers and the most interested are the Turkish. However, they never got approved and ESC project from the National Agency and Marice asked the other participants to give their experiences on how to write applications. In the question, Jada from Associazione SIKANIE said that the organisation in mostly hosting organisation and it never applied for ESC. Veronica from TACC suggested that when you apply you have to pay attention on the double win, win for the volunteer and win for the community.
It was accepted by everyone that the EVS programme was volunteer orientated. This means that the EVS projects were based on the needs of each volunteer and the skills that they wanted to gain and develop. Now, the ESC programme is project orientated. The volunteers are not working in developing themselves, but they are developing the organisation, the activities that is already implementing and something that will have a social impact.
Cinzia, who was a volunteer, agreed with the aforementioned about the orientation of the programme. The organisation wants to make sure that the volunteer is in the organisation to support, and not to work for it replacing an employee. She mentioned that during some mid-term evaluations, she heard a lot of volunteers saying that they are actually working as employees.
The participants also talked about the new situation that was made due to the COVID-19. They said that a new kind of project is starting, the virtual voluntarism, where the potential volunteer can provide their services from their home, being safe.
New Programme Guide
The partner organisations discussed about the new Erasmus+ programme that is not published yet. They are not sure about the future of the Erasmus+ and ESC projects and how they are going to be implemented from now on. In general, and due to the coronavirus, the upcoming year seems very unsure and unstable. Some of the participants had several questions for the new Programme, such as the accreditation etc.
The logo of the Network was decided. After the proposals that USB has sent on the previous meeting the partners agreed on the name Transnational United Network in Europe. Based on a logo that USB has sent, TREX-EVS created a new one, and with small changed became the logo of the Network.
The partner organisation had a very efficient and productive conversation on the ESC and together with the first part of Activity 7 about the Erasmus+ programme, they are totally informed about the aspects and the needs of the E+ and ESC.
For the next activities, campaigns and Info-days promoting the E+ and ESC programmes are going to be implemented by each organisation. Due to the restrictions and the difficulties of informing the local community physically, the partners decided to create online campaigns for the promotion and to share all the required info about the Programme.
Until the begging of October, the partners have to think about the implementation of the campaign. Then, an online meeting will take place in order to arrange the campaign and to decide the tools that all the partners are going to use.