Volunteer with The Association of Voluntary Service Organisations

The Association of Voluntary Service Organisations (AVSO), an international non-governmental organisation, is a European platform of non-profit organisations offering opportunities for long-term full-time international and/or national voluntary service. Many of AVSO's member organisations are international networks and associations themselves. Including their members, AVSO represents more than 110 national organisations across Europe.
Definition of volunteering:

The term refers to all forms of voluntary activity, whether formal or informal, full-time or part-time, at home or abroad. It is undertaken of a person's own free-will, choice and motivation, and is without concern for financial gain. It benefits the individual volunteer, communities and society as a whole. It is also a vehicle for individuals and associations to address human, social or environmental needs and concerns. Formal voluntary activities add value, but do not replace professional, paid employees
I. Volunteering (Bénévolat (FR), Ehrenamt (DE))

A volunteer is someone who performs or offers to perform service out of his or her own free will, without payment, usually in support of a non-profit organization, mission-based initiative or community. Volunteering can be occasional or regular, part-time or full time. It is often (but not always) of a part-time nature. It may occur over one day or many years in a range of different fields. It is good practice to ensure that formal volunteers are covered by appropriate accident, health-care and third party liability insurance, that they receive appropriate training and management, as well as the reimbursement of all out-of-pocket expenses.
II. Voluntary Service (Volontariat (FR), Freiwilligendienst (DE))

Refers to specific, full-time project-based voluntary activities that are carried out on a continuous basis for a limited period of time. Voluntary-service activities may occur at home and abroad. It is good practice to ensure voluntary service volunteers are afforded appropriate social protection, such as accident, health-care and third party liability insurance. Volunteers should also receive appropriate training and management, reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses as well as appropriate accommodation and subsistence allowances as agreed between the volunteer and the non-profit organisation. During his/her service, the volunteer benefits from a personal, social and intercultural learning process.
EVS - the European Voluntary Service is one instrument at EU level promoting and financing long term full time volunteering of young people.
Sending and hosting organisations:

Voluntary service organisations engaged in trans-national voluntary service, carry out training and preparation of volunteers before they leave their home country, they provide language and intercultural training both before they leave and in the host country.

Pocket money, board and lodging, and insurance are provided in-service as well as support by mentors during the projects. Projects are regularly evaluated and volunteers are followed upon return to their home country.

The sending and hosting organisations are active in projects which promote the common good and non-profit making, i.e. projects fostering international understanding and reconciliation, awareness and consciousness building for peace, ecological development dealing with cultural problems and helping children and youth, the elderly, disabled, refugees, etc..
Those projects may be run by private associations, churches, local authorities or communities.
Activities:

The fields of action include social - serving handicapped, elderly or marginalized people cultural work, development of anti-racism projects, reconciliation, education, environment protection, 'grass roots' initiatives etc.

Volunteers participate in the on-going processes of political and social change. They are learning by doing in the social or non-governmental sector. Volunteers and their organisations participate in local projects which promote intercultural and social learning. The volunteers engage themselves on the basis of a personal decision concerning their own development and commitment to the volunteer philosophy.
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