Polish Aid Volunteering Programme
Since 2008, the MFA has been implementing the Polish Aid Volunteering Programme, aimed at supporting the direct involvement of Polish citizens to help citizens of developing countries, as well as disseminating information among Polish society on the problems facing these countries. This is a new and important element of the Polish foreign aid programme, in the framework of which Poland supports initiatives benefiting countries with lower development rankings.
The MFA volunteer programme is based on similar programmes which have been functioning for many years in highly developed countries in Western Europe, North America and Japan. The initiative boosts co-operation between national entities and NGOs and is a response to the constantly increasing involvement of these organizations in aid projects.
The Polish Aid Volunteering Programme involves the following:
Grants issued by the MFA cover the travel, accommodation and insurance costs of volunteers taking part in the programme, as well as trainings and courses adapted to the specifics of the given task and conducted by the MFA and organizations involved in the project. On the ground, volunteers are taken care of by the receiving organization; their work lasts a minimum of 3 months. Financial support also covers educational initiatives undertaken by the volunteer after returning to Poland.
The programme brings benefits for both the local community to whom the aid project is addressed, and for the volunteer himself, who gathers experiences in a culturally differing environment.
Volunteers work in fields which serve to improve the living conditions of the more impoverished citizens of countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America from the list of Official Development Assistance recipients updated by the OECD Development Assistance Committee. Among other things, their task is to prepare and implement programmes aimed at sustainable development, educational courses for children and youth, rehabilitation of the disabled, or vocational trainings for teachers and healthcare professionals.
The competition to select projects qualified for financing usually consists of two evaluation stages. The first stage takes the form of a Competition Jury discussion on all of the project applications and the selection of the most interesting projects. In the second stage, volunteers whose projects have been positively evaluated by the Competition Jury are obliged to take part in a training organized by the MFA, and to undergo a medical and psychological examination. Grants will be offered only once the volunteer passes the MFA training and receives a positive medical opinion (the opinion of both the doctor and the psychologist are taken into account).
How to become a volunteer
To become a volunteer, one must:
In case of short-term programs, the volunteer is also required to have formal training and at least 5 years of experience in the field covered by the project.
All additional requirements regarding the volunteer's competencies are governed by the specifics of the recipient organization and are defined on individual basis.
A call for proposals, in which suitable volunteering projects are selected, includes two stages. The first stage consists of an assessment of all the project proposals and selection of those most promising. In the second stage, the volunteers whose projects have been selected undergo a training organized by the MFA and medical and psychological tests. The project receives funding only if the participating volunteer completes the training and passes medical tests.
Find out more about becoming a Polish Aid Volunteer.