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The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is an initiative of the European Union that provides opportunities for young people to engage in volunteering or work on projects, both within their own countries and in other European nations. Organisations from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia) can send young people to European Solidarity Corps programmes in countries all over Europe or receive young people from those countries, for short-term, and long-term volunteering activities.

The European Solidarity Corps aims to foster a sense of solidarity among European youth while also supporting organisations working towards positive societal impact. It is open to participants from EU member states, as well as several neighbouring and associated countries. Through the European Solidarity Corps, young individuals can contribute to positive change while gaining valuable experiences and skills. These projects benefit local communities and address societal challenges in social, environmental and other topics.

Organisations from the Western Balkans can be PARTNER ORGANISATIONS in Volunteering projects.

Volunteering projects offer opportunities for young people to take part in solidarity activities contributing to the daily work of hosting organisations, to the ultimate benefit of the communities within which the activities are carried out. On the other hand, volunteering projects provide organisations with the opportunity to involve young, international volunteers in their activities, thus adding a European and intercultural dimension to their work as well as offering to their young members, beneficiaries and volunteers the opportunity to interact, meet and network with peers from diverse backgrounds. Young volunteers can provide the organisations with important knowledge, skills, attitudes, and enthusiasm in their everyday work!

Volunteering is a full-time, unpaid activity. This type of solidarity activity is undertaken through supporting and hosting organisations that offer young people the opportunity to carry out a wide variety of activities, in a structured way.

A set of measures and services, such as training, language learning support, identification and documentation of the competences acquired, insurance are foreseen to ensure the quality of the volunteering activities and a strong learning dimension for the participants.

International volunteering projects are for young people aged 18 – 30 years that can be involved in international volunteering projects for a period from 2 to 12 months. There are three types of projects: individual volunteering (2 to 12 months), individual volunteering aimed at facilitating the participation of youth with fewer opportunities (2 weeks to 2 months), and Volunteering Teams, where a group of local and international volunteers is involved for a duration between 2 weeks and 2 months. In case of volunteering in a team or in case of volunteers with fewer** opportunities, the hosting activities can be even as short as 2 weeks.

The projects include at least 2 organisations: supporting (sending) and hosting. Each organisation involved in the project must hold a European Solidarity Corps Quality Label.

Learn more HERE.

Thanks to the Erasmus+ programme and the European Voluntary Service (predecessor to European Solidarity Corps), more than 100.000 young Europeans travelled across Europe and beyond and explored new cultures and countries. More information HERE.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions and status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

** Young people with fewer opportunities are young people who are in a less favourable situation compared to their peers due to social reasons (ethnicity, sexual orientation, youth without parents), economic reasons (lower living standards, poverty), health (chronic diseases), geographic (remote, abandoned, rural areas), cultural (immigrants, refugees, minority groups), educational (youth with learning difficulties, without formal qualifications, youth who dropout from education), handicap (mental, physical, sensory), or other reasons .

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