EUROSHA is a European Union pilot project that wants to build up a European Open-Source Humanitarian Aid corps of volunteers to address humanitarian issues and specifically ensure inclusive humanitarian information-sharing in crisis preparedness.
Volunteers are young people aged under 26 who will be trained in September-October then deployed for 6 months from mid-October as part of a ‘country team’ of four to five European citizen volunteers and of two 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 that have been selected as priority countries for ECHO’s humanitarian strategy, and feature complex and forgotten crises. They do not however feature direct emergency situations. The volunteers will be hosted in a partner organization of the project.
This project’s main objective is to develop a framework for humanitarian volunteering which will guarantee the added value and the security of European citizens’ commitment to international humanitarian aid through volunteering, in order to improve the inclusiveness and efficiency of humanitarian aid. The project will demonstrate the added value the EU volunteers can bring in addressing the crucial need for increased mutual knowledge and the collaboration between local and international emergency management actors in preparation for crises. One of the keys to this challenge is a more inclusive humanitarian information management system.
The project will serve three specific objectives:
- First, it will develop tested standards for volunteer selection, training and deployment which will guarantee the added value and the security of European citizens’ commitment to international humanitarian aid.
- Secondly, it will enhance the international humanitarian community’s knowledge about, and ability to mobilise the resources of local crisis management actors, through inclusive information management and inter-actor linking activities by EU, Local and Online volunteers. By so doing, it will broaden the scope for collaboration between local and international emergency-management actors in preparation for crisis.
- Thirdly, the project will strengthen local capacity to maintain and sustain open-source humanitarian information management.
The project will be coordinated by lead partner, France Volontaires, and run jointly by a European partner, and associate organisations with recognised expertise in the following: volunteer selection and deployment (FOCSIV, France Volontaires, Diaconia ECCB, Sloga), volunteer and humanitarian aid training (Groupe URD, FOCSIV, Sloga, SCD, OpenStreetMap France, humanitarian project management (ACRA, People in Peril), humanitarian aid evaluation (Groupe URD), and humanitarian mapping and information management (OpenStreetMap France). As HOT is not a European incorporated organization, it acts through OpenStreetMap France.
Each member organisation will take part in several of the 5 activities of the project:
1. Project preparation, including adapting and finalising support materials for following phases;
2. Identification and selection of 18 European volunteers across the EU, of 2 local volunteers from each of the 4 deployment countries, and mobilisation of 26 online volunteers;
3. Training EU, deployment countries and online volunteers;
4. Deployment, support and monitoring of groups of 4 to 5 EU volunteers in each deployment country, where they will work alongside local volunteers with technical support by online volunteers and by project staff;
5. Evaluation of the project, capitalisation and valorisation of lessons learnt, best practices, and standards.
HOT will participate to the training activities for teaching OSM the mapping techniques which will occur in southern France during the first week of October. Then HOT will be in charge of two support field missions in the four countries, the first one a bit after the volunteers’ arrival, a second one as a follow-up around January 2013. During these missions, HOT will support the volunteers in accomplishing the training, mapping and outreach activities planned for each country during the months of preparation, involving the EUROSHA local partner organization as well as local and international humanitarian organizations, local government institutions, and local tech or social communities.