Find more information about the ESC Traineeships and Jobs ending and its consequences too.
In the present article you will find some qualitative assessments with respect to the new functioning of the European Solidarity Corps for the seven-year period 2021-2027.
Relevant Changes of European Solidarity Corps
Surely the most relevant change is the end of single projects with its substitute, the multi-annual plans. We can identify as consequences:
- The increase of initial work to act as a lead body, upon the new accreditation, which includes a three-year plan and a description of management and organisational aspects of the applicant;
- The end of the process of sending ESC funding applications (commonly “ESC projects”) as we have known it so far: it will no longer be necessary to send specific projects;
- Both of these changes lead to a greater weighting of the substantive elements of quality and, on the other hand, to a decrease in the weighting of the “cosmetic” skills of the project developer, in hiding reality behind nice words.
- Another consequence of these changes is the restructuring of activity monitoring. The decrease of design work and the streamlining of the writing part in the projects should lighten up the work of the National Agency, which already faces an increase in mobility. We hope that this streamlining of formal monitoring (invoices, long descriptive texts, etc.) will see a balancing toward a greater attention on the part of the National Agencies to the most effective evaluation and monitoring: the initial accreditation phase and the ongoing monitoring.
Evaluation: First Step
The initial accreditation goes through a telephone or face-to-face on-site interview. This method allows a dialogue between the agency and the volunteer, and is also useful in improving the volunteer project. It is therefore not just an evaluation, but also a collaboration. The rejection of the accreditation in this sense goes often with a description of the parts to improve and can become an important training moment for the organisations themselves.
Evaluation: Second Step
The second moment of evaluation is the training and evaluation cycle (the training on arrival and the mid-term evaluation). In these meetings, the representatives of the National Agency meet the volunteers face-to-face and can check with them how things are actually going in the project, if they receive training support, what the practical conditions are and whether the organisations are complying with the ESC rules. This, more than filling cold online questionnaires like the mobility tool, is a very effective monitoring moment. It allows to collect elements that can also lead to serious consequences for organisations with big gaps. Indeed, if an organisation, as a Lead Organisation, had a high number of bad feedbacks from volunteers, it would run the real risk of losing its qualification.
This greater focus on the concrete management of the projects and not on the ability to write nice words when applying for grants seems to us an extremely positive aspect. Many times we have seen organisations that were very good at writing but not in carrying out activities, which nevertheless managed to receive large grants. From now on such organisations will have to pay more attention to the real quality of the activities they propose. And instead organisations that work with care and professionalism will have less work to do in planning and will be able to concentrate their efforts on what really counts, namely the quality of the volunteering experiences.