human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
A project that strengthened humanitarian capacities in Caritas organisations from the EU
TEACH (or Technical Assistance for European Caritas Organisations in Humanitarian Aid) was a two-year programme funded under the EU Aid Volunteers (EUAV) initiative. The programme involved the Caritas Europa secretariat as well as five of its member organisations in Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Ireland and England and Wales.
The overall objective of TEACH was to strengthen technical capacities in the areas of humanitarian learning and volunteer management. Ultimately, the programme aimed to enable more Caritas organisations to become certified as ‘sending organisations’ of volunteers under the EUAV programme. For Caritas, one of the ways to achieve this was to improve partner organisations’ implementation of humanitarian aid in complying with Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS). Protection mainstreaming and safeguarding also received a special attention and was the topic of two separate workshops for the six partners.
In order to raise the profile of humanitarian action and volunteering, especially in the newer EU member states, trainings and exchange visits on public awareness-raising and communication took place. As a direct consequence of these specific capacity-building activities, Caritas Czech Republic and Romania organised two country-wide campaigns informing the general public about the concept of humanitarian action and promoting the EUAV initiative.
Volunteer management, a key aspect in the EUAV initiative, was the next step in the TEACH project. Partners shared their experiences on how to identify, select and best support volunteers during and after their deployment. Two handbooks, one for the volunteers and one for the volunteer managers, were shared with the global Caritas network.
On the technical side, the TEACH consortium organised trainings of trainers on MEAL and emergency preparedness. MEAL stands for ‘monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning’ and is important to ensure a high standard of humanitarian action by continuously assessing performance. Emergency preparedness ensures that an organisation is ready and operational when an emergency strikes.
Peer-exchange was an important method of learning in the TEACH consortium, i.e. one partner sharing its knowledge and best practices with another. In January 2020, for example, a Trócaire expert gave a two-day workshop to Caritas Europa secretariat staff on safeguarding.
The TEACH project complemented other Caritas projects submitted under the same programme, such as REACH – a programme of Caritas Austria and Trócaire to deploy volunteers overseas, PEACH2 – a capacity-building project between European and Asian Caritas organisations, and PEOPLE and RECHANGE – two capacity-building projects between European and African Caritas organisations.
All projects under EUAV are designed to support and complement one another to ultimately offer a comprehensive quality service to the Caritas network in this area. Humanitarian principles and standards are not negotiable and this becomes even more delicate during the deployment of professional volunteers. Transparency, cost effectiveness and efficiency are also core aspects of all Caritas projects under EUAV.