European Solidarity Corps: over €138 million to support volunteering activities by young people in 2022

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission launched the call for proposals under the European Solidarity Corps for 2022. The European Solidarity Corps is an EU programme for young people wishing to engage in solidarity activities in a variety of areas ranging from helping disadvantaged people to contributing to health and environmental action, across the EU and beyond. This call also introduces the possibility for participants to take part in humanitarian aid operations across the globe to develop solidarity between organisations and volunteers in EU countries and people and communities outside the Union. This new strand of international projects is called the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps.

Contributing to creating more solidarity opportunities for young people during the European Year of Youth 2022, the call makes available almost €139 million.  It will fund volunteering, youth-led solidarity projects, teams in high priority areas focussing on promoting healthy lifestyles and the preservation of cultural heritage, and the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The total budget of the European Solidarity Corps programme for 2021-2027 is €1 billion. Over its seven-year lifespan, this EU programme will enable at least 270,000 young people to take part in solidarity actions.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “Solidarity is a key value within our Union and with our partners around the world. The European Solidarity Corps involves the younger generation in volunteering projects. This forming experience gives the possibility to young people to help communities and leave a mark. I am very proud that the programme is evolving and involving humanitarian aid operations for the first time. Young people have the power to change the world and the Commission is helping make that happen.”

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said:Young people have a lot to contribute to society. In the 2022 European Year of Youth, the European Solidarity Corps will be an important tool to support young people to participate in civic engagement, and support them in building a better, greener, more digital and more inclusive future. For the first time, the programme will provide opportunities to contribute to humanitarian aid operations. In the coming year, we will also mobilise volunteers in activities and projects promoting healthy lifestyle and cultural heritage.”

The programme offers an opportunity for young people to make a meaningful contribution to society and to gain invaluable experience and develop new skills. It is open to young people between 18 and 30 for solidarity activities addressing societal challenges and between 18 and 35 for international humanitarian aid activities.

The European Solidarity Corps supports political priorities of the EU and engages organisations and young people in projects to address them. The programme:

  • Promotes inclusion and diversity and aims to provide all young people with equal access to European Solidarity Corps opportunities;
  • Supports projects and activities aiming to protect, conserve and enhance natural habitats and the environment, to raise awareness about environmental sustainability and to enable behavioural changes;
  • Contributes to the digital transition by supporting projects and activities that aim to boost digital skills, foster digital literacy and develop understanding of the risks and opportunities of digital technology;
  • Engages and empowers young people to be active in society and become true change-makers.

Young people wishing to engage in European Solidarity Corps activities need to register in the European Solidarity Corps portal where they can browse and find organisations implementing projects.  Groups of young people registered in the European Solidarity Corps Portal may also apply for funding for solidarity projects led by themselves.

Any public or private body may apply for funding to carry out activities under the European Solidarity Corps. Such organisations need to obtain a quality label, which certifies that they are able to carry out high quality solidarity activities in compliance with the principles, objectives and requirements of the programme. They can apply with the help of European Solidarity Corps National Agencies based in all EU Member States and third countries associated to the programme or of the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) for centralised actions.

The call for proposals for volunteering and solidarity projects are open until 23 February for projects taking place the same year, and until 4 October for the ones in the following year.

Background

The European Solidarity Corps has existed as an EU-funded programme since October 2018, with an operating budget of €375.6 million for the years 2018-2020. It built upon previous EU initiatives in the area of solidarity, aiming to offer a unique gateway for organisations active in the solidarity sector and young people wishing to contribute to society in areas that matter most to them. Based on the success of the initiative, the European Solidarity Corps continues its activities in the period 2021-2027 and extends them to contribute to the delivery of humanitarian aid in third countries.

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