EUROSHA is a pilot project within the framework of EU Aid Volunteers, a European Commission initiative. It seeks to address humanitarian issues and specifically to promote inclusive humanitarian information-sharing in crisis preparedness.
26 young volunteers from different EU Member States (Italy, Czech Republic, France, Slovenia, Hungary, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria) and 8 volunteers from 4 pilot countries (Burundi, Chad, Kenya, Central African Republic) were selected over the summer ’12, trained in France in September-October ’12, and then deployed for 6 months to these 4 countries, from mid-October ’12 to mid-April ’13, as country teams of 4/5 European volunteers and 2 national volunteers in each country. They are placed within a partner European host organisation, receiving operational and technical support from its field staff and from open-source information-sharing organisations.
The four pilot countries have been selected based on needs in the field, and as priority countries within ECHO’s humanitarian funding guidelines featuring complex and forgotten crises. They do not however feature direct emergency situations.
This project’s main objective is to develop a framework for humanitarian volunteering which will guarantee the added value and the security of European citizens’ commitment to international humanitarian aid through volunteering, in order to improve the inclusiveness and efficiency of humanitarian aid. The project will demonstrate the added value EU volunteers can bring in addressing the crucial need for increased mutual knowledge and collaboration between local and international emergency management actors, in preparation for crises. One of the keys to this challenge is a more inclusive humanitarian information management system.
The project has three specific objectives:
- First, it aims to develop tested standards for volunteer selection, training and deployment to guarantee the added value and the security of European citizens’ commitment to international humanitarian aid.
- Secondly, it will enhance the international humanitarian community’s knowledge about, and ability to mobilise the resources of local crisis management actors, through inclusive information collection and management, training, and inter-actor linking activities. By so doing, it will broaden the scope for collaboration between local and international emergency-response actors in preparation for crisis.
- Thirdly, the project will strengthen local capacity to maintain and sustain an open-source humanitarian information management environment, in order to enable local organisations and communities to remain visible and active as fully-fledged players in crisis response and post-crisis recovery.
The project is coordinated by lead partner, France Volontaires, and implemented by European partner and associate organisations from 5 different EU countries, with recognised expertise in volunteer selection and deployment (FOCSIV, France Volontaires, Diaconia ECCB, Sloga), volunteer and humanitarian aid training (Groupe URD, FOCSIV, Sloga, SCD, OpenStreetMap France, humanitarian project management (ACRA, People in Peril), humanitarian aid evaluation (Groupe URD), and humanitarian mapping and information management (OpenStreetMap France, Sahana).
Each member organisation takes part in several of the 5 activities of the project:
- Project preparation, including adapting and finalising support materials for following project activities;
- Identification and selection of 18 European volunteers across the EU, of 2 local volunteers from each of the 4 deployment countries, and mobilisation of 26 online volunteers;
- Training of volunteers;
- Deployment, support and monitoring of groups of 6 to 7 volunteers in each deployment country, with on-site and remote operational and technical support by by project staff and online volunteers,
- Evaluation of the project, capitalisation and valorisation of lessons learnt, best practices, and standards.