2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
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The European Union Education and Turkish National Agency has been responsible for the implementation of the Education and Youth programs conducted by the European Commission in Turkey since 2004. Within this framework, it carries out the Erasmus + Program and the European Solidarity Programme.
Turkey has been actively participating in the European Voluntary Service (EVS) program within the frame of of the Erasmus+ program since 2004 and many volunteers went abroad within the context of the program and many of them came from abroad to volunteer in Turkey.
As of 2019, the volunteering activity, previously included in the Erasmus+program and known as the European Voluntary Service, was separated from the Erasmus+program and started to take place as one of the sub-main activities of the European Solidarity Corps-ESC,a new program. The European Solidarity Program is an EU-created and funded program for young people wishing to participate in solidarity activities in various fields. The program supports the European Union’s policy priorities in order to be inclusive (inclusion, including the diversity, equal opportunities), green practices (environmental protection, sustainable development, climate change and digital transformation (boosting digital skills, promoting digital literacy and understanding the risks and opportunities of digital technology), protecting and promoting health (healthy life, physical activity) and the participation of young people in democratic processes. It brings the institutions and young people together to help to support these priorities in their projects.
With the year of 2021, in addition to the volunteering projects, the Program also provides the opportunity for young people to volunteer in the field of humanitarian aid for the first time worldwide.
The European Solidarity Program is a program that makes it possible for young people between the ages of 18-30 to do voluntary service in their countries or in a country other than their country of residence, reinforces the solidarity among young people, and also allows the volunteer to contribute into the local community, to acquire new skills, learn new languages and discover other cultures. These young people contribute into the activities of the institutions and organizations that work in volunteering and solidarity activities for 2 to 12 months and are accredited by the Turkish National Agency and have a Quality Certificate. The Quality Certificate is a document that formalizes that institutions and organizations can carry out qualified solidarity activities in accordance with the principles, objectives and conditions of the Program.
Young people who want to participate in volunteering activities must first register to the European Solidarity Program on the European Youth Portal. The purpose of the portal is to bring together volunteers and institutions and organizations that have Quality Certificates and to enable young people to access opportunities by publishing here the announcement of the projects that receive grants, and to include volunteers in their projects by determining the volunteers through the portal. Young people can take part in volunteering projects by sending their CVs and motivation letters to these institutions and organizations.
Travelling, accommodation, food and beverage, visa expenses of young people participating into the volunteering projects are covered and a small amount of pocket money is given daily. At the end of the Project, a youthpass certificate is given to young people completing the activity. This certificate is a certificate that allows volunteers to directly convey their achievements during the Project process and to reflect their personal development.
Humanitarian Volunteering projects, on the other hand, offer young people aged 18-35 the opportunity to provide emergency assistance based on the core principles of impartiality, humanity and fairness and help to provide relief, recovery and protection where it is needed most. Volunteers will be trained and prepared to ensure that they have the necessary skills and competencies to effectively assist those in need. These projects are carried out by the Brussels-based Central Executive Agency.
International/national public and non-governmental organizations such as UN Volunteers, EUAid Volunteers, Kızılay (Red Crescent), Search and Rescue Association (AKUT), AFAD Volunteering System, Young People Ready for Disaster (AFAD Volunteers), Young Earth Doctors, Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid Foundation have cross-border volunteering programmes, projects and activities.
AFAD Volunteering System is a Volunteering System which is aware of who the AFAD volunteer is and why AFAD Volunteers are needed through online trainings, to train Basic AFAD Volunteers who know the basic concepts of disasters, have prior knowledge of fire, evacuation and first aid, and have knowledge about the correct behaviour patterns to be taken before, during and after the disaster; including people who want to take a role as Support and Specialist AFAD Volunteers at any stage of disaster management in the disaster management process, created with the aim of determining their fields of duty, supporting their capacities with trainings and monitoring their performance within the volunteering system. It started to work actively after the applications to the system started to be received via e-government in 2019 and continues its activities through the address https://gonullu.afad.gov.tr/. Although the system is open to all volunteers, 53% percent of the system participants are young volunteers. In the AFAD Volunteering System, volunteers are evaluated in 3 categories according to their competencies regarding disasters and emergencies. These categories are as follows:
Basic AFAD Volunteer; the Volunteers who are aware of who the AFAD Volunteer is and why AFAD Volunteers are needed, know the basic concepts of disasters, have prior knowledge of fire, evacuation and first aid and have completed the AFAD Volunteering system distance training. All AFAD Volunteers can become Basic AFAD Volunteers.
Support AFAD Volunteer: The Volunteers who have the knowledge and skills to support professional teams in the matters such as search and rescue, social assistance, fire, first aid in disaster and emergency situations, have successfully completed face-to-face trainings organized by our Provincial Directorates related to the field they want to support or can certify that they have a valid education in that field. Volunteers over the age of 18 can participate in Support AFAD Volunteer trainings.
Specialist AFAD Volunteer: The Volunteers who have become AFAD Volunteers and have a career in their field (communication, psychiatry, translation, etc.) and indicate that they can contribute voluntarily in appropriate time periods. Volunteers over the age of 18 can become Specialist AFAD Volunteers.
There are 6 distance trainings in the AFAD Volunteering System. Volunteers can complete these trainings through the system.
Distance trainings are online and can be watched anywhere and anytime on the web. Volunteers over the age of 18 who have successfully completed distance training can participate in the field training under the coordination of our provincial directorates, if they wish.
AFAD Volunteer Field Trainings;
- Light Search and Rescue Training,
- First Aid Training (Ministry of Health certified)
- Fire Awareness Training,
- Tent Setting Training (included in Light Search and Rescue Training),
- Humanitarian Aid Training.
For our volunteers who have completed field training; Volunteers who complete each training are given a certificate through the system and points are awarded to those who complete all of the trainings. Volunteers can earn profile points from the trainings and activities they complete and the rate of completing their profile information and with these points they can order various gifts through the system.
There is no special legal framework for foreign volunteers.