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The principle of social inclusion through international voluntary service and workcamps has a long history in the Alliance, dating back to 1996 with the implementation of a General Conference on “How to combat Youth Exclusion and Unemployment through Voluntary Service projects”. Since 2009, members follow and promotes the adopted Alliance Accessing Policy Paper.
In 1999 the Alliance launched the first short term EVS workcamps project (European Voluntary Service funded by the European Union) for the social inclusion of youth with disadvantaged background through the educational tool of international voluntary service. The second edition of this kind of project took place in 2001 with the participation of 16 Alliance members and the realization of 32 volunteers exchanges in the framework of EVS. In 2002, 40 new exchanges were implemented by Alliance members, and the Access 4 All Working Group (A4AWG) was officially established by the General Assembly.
The experience continued with the RAINBOW project (2008-2009), which allowed 27 young people with fewer opportunities to participate in workcamps for the first time. The positive evaluation of this project lead A4AWG to plan a new EVS project for inclusion.
Following the commitment undertaken since the GA 2010, on May 2011, 21 organisations participated to a feasibility visit in Belgium. This meeting permitted to prepare collectively the application of the new project. All the main ideas and proposals have been discussed, collectively approved and implemented during this 2-day meeting.
This first attempt to obtain the funding for the project “All Volunteers Included: EVS mainstreaming social inclusion in international workcamps”, in 2011, was not successful. But the Acces4All working group of the Alliance did not loose hope! During a meeting of the A4AWG in the Technical Meeting of the Alliance in France, March 2012, the organizations previously involved participated again making contributions to the project and taking the decision of focusing on a target group of young people facing socio-economical difficulties (NEETs).
The new “Go for the NEETs” EVS project was born and eventually implemented during the workcamp season 2013.
For more information about the general framework of European Voluntary Service (since 2014, part of the Erasmus+ programme), visit the website of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission.