2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
On this page
Volunteering projects of the “European Solidarity Corps" programme are an opportunity for young people in Latvia aged 18 to 30 to contribute to the daily work of organisations that carry out solidarity activities. They can volunteer from 2 to 12 months for the benefit of communities where the activities are implemented. Volunteering enables young people to acquire useful experience, skills and competencies for their personal, educational, social, civic and professional development, thereby improving their employability and active citizenship. Volunteering activity can take place abroad or in the country of residence of a volunteer. Non-governmental organisations, state/local government agencies, local governments can host young volunteers from other countries, to help them implement their projects, familiarise the local community with their culture and broaden their horizons.
The “European Solidarity Corps” programme was implemented in Latvia from 2018. Before then, the "Erasmus+: Youth in Action" programme was implemented. In 2018, 48 European Voluntary Service projects were implemented while in 2019 – 43 projects. During a period from 2018 to 2019 more than 250 volunteers from abroad participated in volunteering projects in Latvia and more than 160 young people from Latvia undertook their voluntary work abroad. By October 1, 2020, Quality Label for Volunteering in Latvia was issued to 217 organisations.
The Agency for International Programs for Youth (hereinafter referred to as the “Agency”) is the main top-level agency in charge of organising and monitoring the EU programmes at national level. According to the public report of Agency In 2022, the Agency initiated its participation in the strategic partnership "Volunteering", the aim of which is to promote the development of volunteer work through opportunities provided by the "European Solidarity Corps" program. In 2022, an international mapping took place within the strategic partnership to initiate activity implementation based on current needs.
In 2022, Agency supported 24 volunteer work projects, providing opportunities for 226 young people, including 109 young people with fewer opportunities, to carry out volunteer work - 136 in group activities and 90 individually. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in 2022, AIYP organized both online and in-person training cycles for volunteer work. To promote project quality, 11 volunteer induction trainings were organized during the review year, attended by 67 volunteers, and four mid-term evaluation trainings, attended by 45 volunteers. Volunteers recognized that the greatest challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic was to maintain motivation to implement project activities online. Despite this, 60% of volunteers carried out their solidarity activities included in the plan for the local community, which participants developed during the induction training.
To ensure an increasing involvement of young people in volunteer work, Agency encouraged organizations to apply for a quality mark, which allows the organization to implement projects - to host or send young people for voluntary work. The quality mark also serves as a confirmation of the organization's ability to organize volunteer work for young people to achieve strategic goals. In 2022, AIYP received 22 applications for obtaining a quality mark, 15 of which were approved. By the end of the review year, 3,752 Latvian young people aged 17 to 30 had registered in the "European Solidarity Corps" database, which is 622 more young people compared to 2021. In Latvia, 102 young people started voluntary work in 2022 - the most young people were from Georgia, Ukraine, Germany, and France, and 12 Latvian young people carried out voluntary work in Latvia.
There is no information about other programmes.
Individual volunteers participating in the “European Solidarity Corps” programme can stay in Latvia no longer than one year. According to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs of Latvia, if the citizen of the European Union stays in Latvia longer than 90 days within half a year’s period, he or she should obtain a Union citizen’s registration certificate.
The “European Solidarity Corps” programme provides also an opportunity for young people from non - EU member countries to participate in volunteering projects. In case the volunteer is not a citizen of the European Union, he shall obtain a visa before entering Latvia.
Before entering volunteering activities young people have to express their willingness to participate in the “European Solidarity Corps” programme by registering on the European Solidarity Corps Portal. The registration on the portal is possible already as of 17 years of age but volunteer must have reached 18 and must not be older than 30 at the start date of the volunteering activity.