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Selection of volunteers for the Pilot Project "EU, Local and Online Volunteers: Key actors for inclusive humanitarian information-sharing in crisis preparedness"

The selection of volunteers for the Pilot Project "EU, Local and Online Volunteers: Key actors for inclusive humanitarian information-sharing in crisis preparedness" implemented by a consortium of 9 European NGOs, including Groupe URD, is now underway and applicants are invited to send their aplication form before 2 July 2012.


In many countries routinely affected by crises, there is very little geographic information available on impoverished, crisis-stricken areas (e.g. slums, etc.). Information and knowledge about emergency relief actors in the field (international NGOs, but also local organisations, national authorities, etc.) also tend to be insufficient and rarely available to the public. In times of crisis, maps tend to become obsolete, either due to damage, or population movement, etc.

Immediately after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, local and international volunteers started working together, using open-source software and new technologies, to re-create the map of the greater Port-au-Prince area, and to locate emergency relief actors on this map. Humanitarian actors have recognised that this type of enterprise can greatly facilitate the identification of humanitarian needs and the adequate delivery of relief, provided volunteers are appropriately trained and humanitarian principles respected. Collective efforts between local and international volunteers and citizens have also demonstrated that there can be synergies between local and international actors of humanitarian aid, and that it is a priority to recognise the added value that local actors can bring to ensure the efficiency of aid.

Past experience – in Haiti, Japan, etc. – suggests that the efficiency of these information-sharing systems would be higher if they were implemented prior, and not simply as a response, to crisis.

 The project

Volunteers will be selected, trained, and deployed for 6 months as part of a country team of four to five EU volunteers and of 2 national volunteers. They will be hosted in locally-based organisations, and live and work together throughout their mission in the field. The four countries of deployment are Burundi, Chad, Kenya, and the Central African Republic.

The project provides an opportunity for 18 young, motivated Europeans and 8 local volunteers from the deployment countries to bring real added value to humanitarian aid whilst simultaneously ensuring their safety. Prospective EU volunteers who :

  • Meet the selection criteria,
  • Are motivated to take part in a collective, intercultural life and volunteering work experience,
  • Wish to take part in an pilot project aimed at identifying best practice and lessons learnt in the field of humanitarian volunteering, and thus contribute in the setting up the future European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps are encouraged to apply.

 The volunteers’ mission in the field

The volunteers will be selected, trained, and supported in the field and after deployment, in order to ensure the added value and the security of their mission. Key aspects of their field mission will include:

  • Collect humanitarian data (geographic data, and information on humanitarian actors), my means of open-source humanitarian information-sharing tools (OpenStreetMap, Sahana), thereby improving the baseline map of a defined field of intervention,
  • Identifying and mapping all emergency-response actors within this zone – civil society organisations, international NGOs, local authorities, etc.,
  • To set up and maintain inclusive humanitarian information-sharing platforms,
  • Reinforcing the capacity of locally-based actors to use these tools, by means of awareness raising and training activities,
  • Promoting communication between local and international crisis-response actors, and thus improving crisis preparedness.

To apply, please send application form by 2 July 2012.

To get more information, consult the EU website.