EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS (ESC)
The European Solidarity Crops (ESC) is a new European Union initiative targeting to meet societal needs, creating opportunities for young people to volunteer, work or network in projects that benefit society in their home country or abroad, while promoting their personal, educational, social, civic and professional development.
ESC brings young people together to build a more inclusive society, support disadvantaged people and respond to societal challenges. The activities of the Programme that provides an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help the community, learn and improve themselves, has a wide range from environment to health, sports to social inclusion, digital technologies to culture and humanitarian aid.
Along with encouraging young people to contribute to society, the Programme also provides opportunities for young people to gain invaluable experiences and develop new skills. The Programme is open to people aged 18 to 30 for volunteering and solidarity activities that deal with social challenges, and for people aged 18 to 35 for humanitarian aid activities.
Türkiye’s Participation in the Programme
Türkiye has been participating in the ESC Programme, which has been implemented as of 2019, from the very beginning.
The Programme participation agreement for the period of ESC 2021-2027 was signed on October 27 of 2021. Our participation entered into force after it was published in the Official Gazette on November 16th.
The national coordinator of the Programme is the Turkish National Agency.
Targets of the Programme
The ESC Programme aims to increase the skills and competencies of young people, to encourage participation in social solidarity activities of organizations, to respond to social needs and to strengthen societal solidarity, while creating opportunities for young people to work/volunteer in projects that pay regard to the benefit of society and support disadvantaged people.
The European Solidarity Corps will provide opportunities for more than 270,000 young people across Europe with a budget of 1 billion euros in the 2021-2027 period.
This new European Solidarity Corps pay regards to the European Union’s priorities.
Promoting Inclusion and Diversity: It aims to ensure that young people have equal access to the opportunities provided by the European Solidarity Corps.
Green Initiatives: It aims to promote environmentally sustainable and responsible behavior among participants and organizations as well as adopting green initiatives in all projects and activities.
Digital Transformation: It will support projects and activities that work to increase digital skills, promote digital literacy and understand the risks and opportunities of digital technology.
Participation in Democratic Processes: Along with civic participation, it also supports the participation of young people in democratic processes.
Protecting and Supporting of Health: It contributes to issues such as the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and the protection and support of health that has been better understood how vital it is throughout the epidemic, and the recovery process after illness. The Programme aims to mobilize volunteers to support projects to address various health issues.
Period of 2021-2027
The new period ESC Programme, with a budget of 1.009 billion euros allocated for 2021-2027, will offer opportunities to help at least 270,000 young people across Europe to overcome societal and humanitarian challenges through volunteering or creating their own solidarity projects. The aim of the Programme is to be not only more inclusive, but also more digital and enviromental.
- Solidarity Projects
- European Humanitarian Aid Action
- Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas
How does European Solidarity Corps Work?
Young people aged 17-30 can register on the Young people aged 17-30 can register on the Participants aged 18 and over can receive invitations to participate in projects on solidarity by organizations that have access to the database. Also, these organizations can make project announcements on the portal to receive direct answers from young people.
- Volunteering Projects provide young people aged 18-30 the opportunity to volunteer in a social project for 2 to 12 months.
- Volunteering activities are full-time (30-38 hours per week) and free support for the daily activities of the host organization for the benefit of the community.
- Through volunteering projects, young people can contribute to their educational, social and professional development at their home country or abroad by participating in individual volunteering activities or volunteer teams.
- Within the scope of volunteering projects, activities for the benefit of society are organized, such as participating in the restoration of a cultural heritage, raising awareness of environmental protection, or carrying out voluntary training activities in refugee camps.
Criteria for Application
Volunteering projects are open to individuals aged 18-30 legally residing in the ESC programme country or partner countries, regardless of graduation and language proficiency. Although 17-year-olds can enroll in the Programme, they cannot take part in any project until the age of 18.
- After registering on the European Youth Portal
- Institutions and projects with volunteer invitations should be sought
- It is important for applicants to find a sender institution with a “Quality Certificate” from Türkiye before applying.
- Resume and motivation letter must be sent for the project of interest. Europass web-site can help to create a CV and motivation letter.
Volunteering projects are divided into two:
- Short-term volunteering (14-59 days excluding travel time) and
- Long-term volunteering (2-12 months excluding travel time)
Each volunteer is entitled to only 1 short-term + 1 long-term volunteer project.
Supports Provided to Young in Volunteering Projects
- Supporting Financially Limited Volunteers: the European Solidarity Corps in accordance with its principles attaches great importance to the support and participation of young people who have limited opportunities compared to their peers due to health problems, educational struggles, economic and geographical barriers and cultural differences, as well as problems due to religion, gender and age, or social and economic difficulties.
- Language Education Support: The European Solidarity Corps, which aims to ensure unity in diversity, provides free language education support for at least three months, through a youth worker in the host institution or a professional language course in the native language of the country within the scope of the project.
- Visa Support: All expenses during the visa process to go to the country where the project will take place, health insurance, and additionally, all expenses of provided that an application for a residence permit other than visa is required are covered.
- Pocket Money Support: Although it varies from country to country, apart from necessities such as daily accommodation, food, local transportation, etc. a certain amount of pocket money is also provided.
- Accommodation Support: Individuals participating in the project are offered accommodation in a volunteer home, dormitory or homestay by the host institution.
- Travel Support: Involves round-trip travel expenses to the country where the project will take place.
- Mentor Support: Participants have the opportunity to receive training before and after the projects. During the project, the participants are supported to set their goals and reach them through mentors.
Solidarity Projects are projects implemented within the country between 2-12 months, where at least 5 young people come together, take responsibility and initiative to create positive changes for the society and environment they live in.
In case of participating in a long-term volunteering project first, the right to benefit from the Programme ends without using the short-term right. Young people who have participated in an Erasmus+ volunteering activity or European Voluntary Service programme cannot benefit from this programme. However, as an exception, young people who have benefited from European Voluntary Service or European Solidarity Crops volunteering activities for a maximum of two months can apply to volunteer activities once again, provided that the total duration does not exceed fourteen months.
- Solidarity projects are domestic solidarity activities developed and implemented by young people for a period of 2-12 months.
- These are the projects that at least 5 young people come together to target a specific issue and problem in their local community, take responsibility and develop them and implement their solutions to create positive change by revealing their solutions to this problem.
- Solidarity activities should be based on the principles of European Solidarity Corps, and should show the characteristics of dealing with issues that emphasize informal learning, entrepreneurial spirit and European added value (e.g. climate change, democratic participation, social integration, etc.).
- It is possible to bring together different actors and partners through solidarity projects targeting local problems and special groups in need.
- Participation in a solidarity project can also be the first step to become self-employed, to take part in non-governmental organizations, to participate in youth activities, or to establish a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Who can apply?
- A group of at least five young people aged 18-30 who legally reside in the Programme country and are members of the European Youth Portal can apply to solidarity projects.
- There is no maximum number of participants. One of the young people in the group can take the role of legal representative and send the application, as well as any public or private institution on behalf of the group that will carry out the project.
- Applications are made through e-forms published on the official website of the European Commission. The necessary information about the application forms and the application process can be found on the official website of the Turkish National Agency.
Benefits of joining in the ESC Programme for Young People
Young people with the projects they have realized or participated in:
- will have a Youthpass certificate that documents their participation at the end of the project they have volunteered for.
- will have the opportunity to live in another country and develop their language and cultural skills.
- will gain the ability to overcome difficulties and work in a team.
- can stay in touch with a wider community of former volunteers as part of the European Solidarity Corps community
- can also inspire other young people by sharing their experiences.
- can improve their personal, educational, social and professional skills by increasing their self-confidence and motivation to learn.
- can bring their own ideas to the organizations or local communities they volunteer and contribute to the multicultural identity of the organizations.
Would you like to learn more?
Check out the European Youth Portal discover more about the Programme.
The Programme is managed by the Turkish National Agency in Türkiye. You can also visit www.ua.gov.tr to learn the details of the Programme.
You can find the brochure of the Programme here.
European Solidarity Corps 2023 Guidelines
European Solidarity Corps Regulation for Period 2021-2027