human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

EU Aid Volunteers

TEACH project

TEACH is a capacity-building project for strengthening the technical side of humanitarian learning and volunteer management, funded by the European Commission. Caritas Europa participates in this project in consortium with five other European Caritas organisations. Aiming to get a quality certification under the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative (EUAV), the partners of the project have already undertaken a number of workshops about safeguarding and protection, Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS), volunteer management and monitoring and evaluation, to name a few.

Caritas Europa has opened to its member organisations the possibility to participate in all TEACH workshops in order to maximise the impact of the project and increase members’ efficiency.

More information available on the project website: https://projectteach.eu.

Introduction to CHS and EUAV

After the project kick-off meeting in March 2018, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) organised a first essential introductory workshop on CHS and EUAV in June. The workshop was about the shaping of humanitarian principles, elements of International Humanitarian Law, the Sphere project and how these led to the set-up of CHS. It enabled a comparison between EUAV standards, CHS and the Caritas Internationalis Management Standards (CIMS), highlighting common points and ways to integrate them holistically. Different realistic scenarios allowed for reflection on the importance of protecting vulnerable groups and for doing proper needs assessments. The workshop focused on the CHS self-assessment process (how to develop a work plan and key documents, how to select the relevant partner organisations, etc.) and the steps needed to become a certified EU organisation for sending volunteers to disaster-prone or affected areas.

CHS and protection mainstreaming

In September 2018, CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) organised a training on CHS and protection mainstreaming. Encompassing activities that aim at the full respect of rights and dignity of all recipients of aid, protection mainstreaming has become a core element of humanitarian action. The training went through the challenges experienced by local partners when applying CHS and possible methods for overcoming them.

Public awareness raising and communication

Trócaire organised also in September 2018 a special workshop for staff working in communications. Its goal was to build capacities on designing communication strategies so that the public is better informed about the importance of humanitarian aid and about the possibilities of becoming a volunteer under the EUAV initiative.

Volunteer management

The topic of volunteer management was treated in December 2018 in a workshop organised by Caritas Austria, which is already deploying volunteers through the EUAV initiative. The workshop covered the steps for establishing an adequate volunteer management system, including the necessary tools, such as procedures, documents and legal and financial requirements. The similarities and differences between volunteer management on a national and an international level were the topic of a debate.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding is necessarily a core pillar of humanitarian action. Recent episodes of abuses and breaches of codes of ethics and conduct by humanitarian staff signal the need to revise or, where missing, to set up consistent and efficient measures to protect children and vulnerable adults. Functional and secure complaints-handling mechanisms must be in place for the internal use in organisations as well as easily accessible for the people we serve.

All this was at the centre of the TEACH workshop organised in February 2019 by Trócaire, in Ireland.

Caritas policies and procedures for safeguarding, complaints-handling mechanism and anti-harassment were also shared during the workshop. Together with the Caritas code of ethics and code of conduct, they need to be well known by all national Caritas organisations and signed and respected by all Caritas staff.