The EU Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps – EU Aid Volunteers and related legislation create a framework for joint contributions from European volunteers to support and complement humanitarian aid in third countries.
Therefore, the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative provides opportunities to European citizens and long-term residents, from a wide range of backgrounds and with a diversity of skills and professional experience, to get involved in humanitarian aid projects, support the provision of needs-based humanitarian aid in third countries and engage in volunteering opportunities, through deployment and online-volunteering.
The initiative focuses on strengthening the European Union's capacity to deliver needs-based humanitarian aid by providing professional support through the deployment of trained volunteers to people in need. Furthermore, it aims to strengthen the capacity and resilience of vulnerable communities in third countries, through the implementation of joint projects between experienced humanitarian operators and local organizations in third countries.
The EU Aid Volunteers Initiative offers:
· Opportunities for European citizens to become EU Aid Volunteers in humanitarian projects worldwide, showing solidarity with those who most need it,
· Professional support by trained and well-prepared volunteers to communities affected by disaster,
· Capacity building for local staff and volunteers of organizations in countries hit by disasters,
· Technical assistance for organizations based in Europe to strengthen their capacity to participate in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative.
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Acción contra el Hambre (Spain) and GVC (Italy) are International Non-Governmental Organizations that have joined their expertise in managing humanitarian actions worldwide and are now implementing the project “Strengthening the resilience and response capacity of vulnerable and disaster-affected communities through the deployment of EU Aid Volunteers”.
The project will directly seek for strengthening the resilience and response capacity of vulnerable and disaster-affected communities through the deployment of 19 trained EU Aid Volunteers in 10 countries Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Georgia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Thailand and Cambodia. This main objective will be achieved through the deployment of EU Aid Volunteers and capacity-building activities on strengthening the decision-making based on the Regional Pastoral Surveillance System (SO1), strengthening good practices and lessons learned around disaster risk management and resilience practices in vulnerable communities (SO2), strengthening humanitarian skills and capacities of a great range of humanitarian actors around contingency planning processes, coordination mechanisms (SO3). These specific objectives will be complemented by activities destined to ensure an adequate support to the EU Aid Volunteers and the quality of the whole implementation process (SO4) and finally oriented to guarantee the best coordination mechanisms between EU and in-country partners (SO5).
11 hosting organizations will be involved in the development of the project, involving 19 EU Aid Volunteers: 5 senior Volunteers (more than 5 years of professional experience) and 14 junior Volunteers (less than 5 years of professional experience) in the 10 countries targeted by the project. Through their volunteering deployments, EU Aid Volunteers will support the sharing of good practices and lessons learned around disaster risk management and resilience in vulnerable communities, and help to boost and strengthen the humanitarian skills and capacities of a range of humanitarian actors.
More info about this project available here: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/echo/eu-aid-volunteers_en/strengthening-resilience-and-response-capacity-vulnerable-and-disaster-affected-communities-through_en
In the framework of this project GVC deploys 1 volunteer to Thailand. To know more EUAV opportunities in this and other Countries with GVC please consult this page: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/echo/eu-aid-volunteers_en/gvc-gruppo-di-volontariato-civile_en Operational details & security context
The Thai government is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention but has allowed refugees from Myanmar/Burma (currently over 102.000) to stay in nine camps (temporary shelters) along the border between the two countries. Thailand has seen an exponential increase in the number of asylum seekers in recent years. According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of people seeking refugee status increased from 1.120 in 2013 to 7.082 at the end of 2015. Not entitled to any legal status in Thailand, these asylum seekers are exposed to detention and exploitation. Over the past few years, Rohingya and Bangladeshi men, women and children fleeing violence and difficult conditions in Myanmar/Burma and Bangladesh, have been intercepted by Thai authorities en route to Malaysia and held in Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs) and social shelters. They often fall prey of human trafficking networks, leading Thai authorities to launch a crackdown on smuggling rings in 2015. This resulted in what came to be known as the “boat people crisis in the Andaman Sea”, which saw thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea without food or water after the traffickers abandoned the ships. Disembarkations took place in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in May-June 2015. Since then, the number of arrivals in the region has significantly decreased.
The largest ethnic group in Thailand is the Thai. The Chinese are also a significant group. The predominant religion is Buddhism; travelers should be respectful of religious sensibilities. Note that touching the top of one's head is taboo in Buddhist culture. A small number of the population are Muslim, Christian and Hindu. The official language in Thailand is Thai; however, Chinese, Lao and Malay are also spoken by a few people in the country. English is fast becoming an administrative language in Thailand for government and commerce. Volunteers need to be aware of cultural norms and expected ways to behave and be sensitive to the political and cultural context, ensuring that their behaviour is respectful of local laws and customs throughout their deployment.
GVC is working in South and South East Asia since the 90s (Vietnam, Cambodia. Laos, Indonesia, Sri Lanka) to fight poverty in rural areas, ensure the respect of human rights. Since 2013 GVC promotes safe migration of Cambodian people with in and to Thailand reducing abuse, labour exploitation and trafficking cases. At the beginning of 2017 GVC expanded its presence in Thailand launching MIG-RIGHT EU co-funded project that aims to improve migration channel and practices between Cambodia and Thailand by reducing the fraudulent recruitment practice, abuse, trafficking incident and labour exploitation. In this frame, activities are addressed on one hand to empower CSOs and community Self-Help Groups to protect migrants and advocate for their rights and to the other hand to build capacity of authorities for a better enforcement of existing law, policies and practices. Moreover, a sound advocacy and lobbying programme at national and ASEAN level is promoted to improve legal framework supported by a large awareness campaign on Thai employers’ representatives and citizens to advocate and respect human, labour and social rights for migrants.
For the specific expertise in fighting human trafficking GVC is working in:
a. Prevention actions with focus to Cambodian working migrants to Thailand. Our presence in Cambodia (Siem Reap, Ko Kong, Battambang) and Thailand (Trat, Samut Sakhorn, Samut Prakan) with two ongoing projects on the same topic entitled MIGRA ACTION (EIDHR72015/369-068) and MIG-RIGHT (EIDHR/2016/376-943) cofounded by EU and implemented by GVC and its partners (LSCW, LPN, CWCC) offer the possibility to address prevention against migrants’ exploitation and effective awareness campaigns in countries of origin as well as in destination territories in Thailand.
b. Awareness campaigns that GVC is launching in 2018 and 2019 against human trafficking and labor exploitation of migrants using new technologies, art for awareness and social ambassadors.
c. Strong presence and capacity to mobilize local communities with peer to peer approach through self-help groups of migrants, potential migrants, left behind people, CSOs and Local Authorities.
d. High level engagement of policy makers and governmental officers thanks to our presence in anti-trafficking commissions and labor rights fora in Cambodia, Thailand and ASEAN.
e. Emergency support/protection to repatriated migrants and trafficked people in Thailand and Cambodia through our local partners.
Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for travellers in South East Asia. It has well-developed tourism infrastructure and most visits to the country pass without incident. The political risk rating for the country is high. Thailand has a history of political instability and protracted civil unrest, and has experienced a number of military coups in recent times. Following months of civil unrest in May 2014, the Royal Thai Army staged the most recent military coup. Thailand's former army chief, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, has since been appointed as the interim prime minister and has established a military junta. Despite the political landscape remaining highly polarized, protests have diminished sharply.
The terrorism risk in Thailand is rated as medium; however, the threat is elevated in the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, due to an ongoing Islamist insurgency. Clashes between security forces and insurgents are frequently reported in these provinces. Sporadic terrorist incidents have also taken place in other parts of the country, including the capital, Bangkok; the recent high-profile events in August 2016 took place in Hua Hin, Suran Thani, Phuket and the Mueang district. Thailand has medium levels of crime. The prevalent form of crime is petty in nature, occurring primarily in larger urban centers and in areas frequented by tourists, such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai. There are also various scams targeting foreign nationals in Thailand. Tourist infrastructure is good in cities and major towns but is limited in rural areas. Thailand is also prone to tropical storms, which generally occur between June and December
Even if our intervention's areas in Thailand could be considered quite safe, GVC Thailand in order to guarantee the safety of both expats and local staff, adopts a Security Plan. Specifically, GVC Italia has arranged the Safety Guidelines and classified the risk’s level of each Country, which is defined considering the model adopted at an international level.
In Thailand, the Country Representative is provided with Security Plan and trained on its application, he/she has the duty to update it and communicate to GVC Italia any variations in accordance with the mutation of the context. As soon as a new member joins to the local staff, the Country Representative has the duty to give information about security measures.
All the staff is provided with mobiles to ensure that if something occurs they will be always in the condition to communicate and being informed. Regarding the health and safety profile, GVC Thailand office is located in a safe area and GVC guarantees appropriate living and health condition for its staff. However, Health Public/Private System is very well organized in Bangkok. Therefore, a Europe Assistance insurance is provided to the expatriate staff and volunteers to be properly assisted and afford therapy and rehabilitation costs.
We uphold the Humanitarian Principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
We affirmatively engage the most vulnerable communities.
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