PEOPLE (Preparing for Emergencies by strengthening Organisational Procedures, Learning and Exchange)

Summary of the project

The main goal of the program is to build the capacity of ten participating organizations in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe to respond to humanitarian crises and strengthen their volunteer management networks and systems.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. Strengthen the humanitarian preparedness and response capacity of 10 local and national organizations to design and deliver needs-based humanitarian assistance.
  2. Strengthen the volunteer management capacity of 10 prospective host organizations to facilitate the integration and active participation of volunteers in humanitarian action.
  3. Strengthen collective dialogue, knowledge sharing, learning and peer support among partners regarding volunteers.

The program will support three partners to begin the process of becoming certified EU host organizations contributing to strengthening European solidarity at the international level.

This program will make a difference to those affected by crises by enabling organizations to improve the quality and effectiveness of their humanitarian preparedness and response capacity. The program will build the capacity of partners to develop and manage an effective volunteer management and emergency preparedness system by engaging community, office and international volunteers.

The learning and good practices from this program (on strengthening the humanitarian capacity of organizations and the role of volunteers in humanitarian action) will be widely disseminated among consortium members, the sector at large, and all Caritas Africa Member Organizations participating in this project, including the 46 African national Caritas organizations.

Relevance of the project

The PEOPLE consortium partners see this as an opportunity to strengthen the organizational understanding and commitment of the EU volunteer initiative by sharing practical experience on volunteer management. They also see it as an opportunity to promote the benefits of volunteering and to strengthen systems for effective and safe volunteer management.

National and local partner organizations will raise awareness and understanding of the EU volunteer initiative in terms of volunteer support and management within their own organizations. They will share their experiences through the community of practice and relationships with other organizations and networks.

Caritas Africa, Caritas Zimbabwe, Caritas Liberia, and Caritas Sierra Leone have all expressed interest in EU certification. The goal is to have at least three of these organizations certified to host EU volunteers when the program ends.

CAFOD is interested in becoming a sending organization and aims to complete the certification process and apply to the EU volunteer deployment call in 2018. In addition to seeking certification for its headquarters, CAFOD will explore certification to host volunteers for its overseas offices, particularly the Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe offices.

CAFOD already has a successful volunteer program, Step into the Gap, which is a volunteer program for UK youth. CAFOD will consolidate this experience and seek to recruit future EU volunteers with the necessary skills to provide capacity building support and direct support to humanitarian programs. EU volunteers would be hosted by partner organizations and CAFOD overseas offices. The capacity building approach, Training of Trainers modules and educational resources developed under this program will therefore be used and adapted by EU volunteers to support local organizations in the future.

CAFOD is part of a technical assistance presentation led by Caritas Austria and has established relationships with the PEACH project led by Caritas Austria. CAFOD is committed to sharing experiences with partners in these projects, including the practical aspects of combining self-assessments, which examine EU volunteer certification, CHS standards, emergency preparedness and response, and Caritas Internationalis Management Standards. The community of practice used by this program will be open to all Caritas Africa member organizations and will include specific discussions and webinars on the EU volunteer aid initiative.

CAFOD, SCCF, CRS, and national partners are part of the Caritas Internationalis Confederation of 165 member countries. This helps to promote the EU volunteer initiative to other Caritas Internationalis members. Those who are successful in achieving certification could also play a role in supporting other organizations through the certification process.