Does the current war in Ukraine affect IVY?
Yes, it does: Following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and in line with the Commission’s decision to fully implement all EU restrictive measures, the European Commission has suspended the cooperation with Russia and its ally Belarus in the European Neighbourhood Instrument cross-border cooperation programmes (ENI CBC), as well as in the Interreg Baltic Sea region programme.
This includes also the participation in IVY, which is suspended for both host organisations and candidates from Belarus and Russia.
What is the difference between “Interreg Reporter” and “Interreg Project Partner”?
IVY is structured around two main strands:
1. the Interreg Project Partners, that help with Interreg project implementation focusing on specific aspects or difficulties to be solved in fields such as solidarity projects, people to people projects, health projects, community-based projects, projects focusing on the social dimension of Interreg cooperation. Interreg Project Partners are therefore hosted by an organisation which is involved in an Interreg project and will focus on this particular project;
2. the Interreg Reporters that help with disseminating information on the benefit of territorial integration on the ground, through reporting successful Interreg projects. Interreg Reporters are therefore deployed in the offices of the Interreg Managing Authorities and/or the Interreg Joint Secretariats, or in the offices of IPA-CBC or ENI-CBC programmes, being hosted by the institution which manages the Programme.
What is an “IVY experience” about?
The Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative offers the possibility to young people aged 18-30 to serve as volunteers in cross-border, transnational or interregional programmes and related projects.
The initiative is aimed at involving young volunteers to support, promote and report the concrete achievements of Interreg, IPA-CBC and ENI-CBC programmes and projects, as well as generally promote cooperation across borders and related values such as solidarity.
IVY gives volunteers the opportunity to familiarise with the Interreg, IPA-CBC and ENI-CBC programmes and projects, make them aware of the many benefits of collaboration among EU internal borders as well as enhance their sense of solidarity, citizenship and civic engagement. Moreover, thanks to IVY, volunteers acquire a unique experience of personal growth as well as enhancing and gaining skills that they can employ in their future experiences.
The scope and topic of each IVY experience are various and range from health to environment, from social inclusion to technology and innovation, etc.
Who is eligible to participate in IVY?
As volunteers, candidates younger than 31 and older than 18 and being from following countries are eligible to participate: any European country, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Palestine, Republic of Moldova, Russia*, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uktraine and the United Kingdom.
*Following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, the European Commission has suspended the cooperation with Russia and its ally Belarus in the European Neighbourhood Instrument cross-border cooperation programmes (ENI CBC). The decision includes also their participation in the IVY Programme, and therefore also the involvement of candidates from Belarus and Russia.
Why is AEBR managing IVY?
The Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) has the great pleasure and honour to manage IVY on behalf of the European Commission because of its great experience in the field of EU project management, its wide network across most European borders as well as its interest to support European youth and boost values such as solidarity and cooperation among Europeans of all ages.
How is IVY funded?
IVY is fully co-funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy thanks to the European Regional and Development Funds (ERDF).
Why is IVY about “volunteering”? How is IVY different from a “traineeship/internship” experience?
IVY’s main focus is solidarity
IVY is aims at boosting values such as solidarity, cooperation and civic engagement among young people. How? By allowing young people to familiarise with European Territorial Cooperation (also known as “Interreg”) and other programmes and projects of cooperation. Through their volunteering experience, young people grow aware of the many benefits of collaboration among regions within the EU and with its neighbours.
IVY’s main aim is to engage young people, make them feel rewarded by supporting Interreg activities and promoting Interreg results
The primary aim of IVY is double: first, to offer young people a unique experience of personal growth
in order to engage within a certain European community and give them the chance to express their
solidarity and feel rewarded; second, to make European Territorial Cooperation (also known as “Interreg”) and its results more visible among citizens and decision-makers.
As a matter of example, volunteers are involved in or report about projects dealing with protecting the environment, boosting education and inter-cultural relations, helping vulnerable people, contributing to the production of innovative healthcare solutions and so on.
Volunteering at local level is also about reciprocity and sustainability. All IVY volunteering activities
are tailored to macro-regional/regional and/or local needs so they are intended to contribute to provide a lasting solution to a concrete problem of the community and thus provide a quality learning opportunity for the volunteer.
IVY’s added-value is to enhance volunteers’ skills for their future experiences
The added value of joining this experience is to enhance and gain skills that young people can employ in their future experiences. Personal development is an important element of IVY volunteering and a prime motivation for engaging in such experience. IVY is in fact aimed at helping young people realise the importance of civic engagement and participation at local/regional level as well as experiencing what EU values mean when applied to actual realities. In other words, IVY volunteering wants to contribute to the growth of an individual as (EU) citizen.
Hence, the prior aim of IVY is not about reducing youth unemployment or providing young people
with a pure professional experience that can give them easier access to the labour market. This is certainly an added value but it is not the primary aim. Moreover, IVY will also allow the volunteer to access to a new network of expert people and stakeholders who can provide them with precious advices for their future experiences: personal, academic, professional, formal and non-formal ones.
The other added-value is the wish that IVY will be able to bring lots of new friends and connections to
our volunteers, a little bit like the so-famous Erasmus experience does.
IVY’s financial support to volunteers is not a salary but a necessary help for the volunteers’ experience
The financial support is a crucial element to allow everyone to volunteer.
As volunteering activity, IVY is unpaid activity. However, AEBR financially supports all volunteers with a daily allowance for the entire duration of the IVY placement; insurance coverage; and a partial or full travel cost reimbursement. This financial support is not a salary (in fact is a net contribution that is not taxable) but it is an essential support given to the volunteers who will most probably need to move from their home/current place to a new one and thus incurring into necessary expenses. Indeed, volunteering is not a costless experience and the costs incurred by the volunteer need to be covered.
The financial support is therefore a guarantee that all young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with specific needs, who are interested in the initiative can participate.
IVY’s volunteers are free to communicate and work informally (differently from interns/trainees) – but they will still get a valuable learning experience!
Young and engaged people are able to provide a fresh, new, more attractive and concrete
approach when it comes to make EU citizens aware of the many benefits territorial cooperation can bring to their lives and to contribute to project implementation. A volunteer, differently from an intern or a
trainee, can have quite some freedom in the way he/she can communicate and support a certain
project: he/she has the opportunity to think out of the box, communicate and contribute in a more
informal and effective way, in a way which is closer to the citizens' language and way of doing.
Sometimes the official communication from the institutions is too formal and institutional and as such citizens perceive it as too far from their concerns, wishes and needs. This is why we think that young volunteers can be great ambassadors of Interreg and of its strong solidarity and cooperation dimension.
That said, all volunteers will still be guided by a mentor so to make sure that they get solid pedagogical support and benefits. All volunteering experience will be monitored by a mid-term and/or final report.