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EVI-DEMS: The curricula and its adaptability to different contexts


Volunteering is an expression of solidarity and expression of the European values of freedom, democracy, human rights and human dignity. Ensuring quality volunteering, based on ethical principles requires ethical and effective volunteer management. As such, it is necessary that adequate training and education is in place to guarantee that volunteer managers have appropriate qualifications to perform their profession. With this in mind, and aiming to bridge an identified gap in higher education, the EVI-DEMS project intended to create a higher education programme aiming to teach students to become competent and insightful volunteer managers professionals able to navigate present and future civil society challenges. Thus, by providing fit for purpose educational tools, the programme answers the needs of the field, which in most European countries, includes legal frameworks on volunteering but fails to provide specific regulations for volunteer managers training and qualification, as informed by the State of the Art Report of this project. 


The Higher Education European Curricula for Volunteer Manager qualification created and developed in the framework of the EVI-DEMS project is a pre-experience master course of 60 ECTS consisting of 4 modules and 12 courses covering the building blocks of volunteer management, namely individual, organisational, societal and professional levels. Both the infrastructure and content of the programme developed during the project are testaments to the intent of creating a programme prone to be adaptable to different higher education institutions and beyond. 


Indeed, creating a pre-experience programme is in itself a way to ensure a more accessible and more teachable programme in a broader EU context, as it does not need to consider in depth the different realities of volunteer management and civil society in Europe. Furthermore, the infrastructure for pre-experience education is much more widespread, making the programme more easily adaptable in different countries and higher education institutions. 


Moreover, even though there is an overarching learning goal to the developed curricula, the fact that each course is designed to be teachable in a standalone manner grants the institution/learner a certain degree of autonomy and liberty to create the program that best fits their needs. This is further supported by the very structure of the courses and the materials produced, which also contribute to the adaptability of the programme in different contexts. 


The availability of the course as an open-access source online also contributes to the use of the materials by a plethora of individuals, ensuring that the knowledge produced reaches audiences at higher education institutions and beyond. 

EVI-DEMS aimed to develop and make available a common curriculum, available to any interested higher education institution in Europe, thus promoting Higher education systems. The project achieved this goal by also involving members of different institutions and civil society in the process of co-creation of the courses, ensuring that different perspectives in the field of volunteering were being taken into consideration in order to guarantee cross-sector cooperation among CSOs, educational institutions and policy makers at all levels.  


By creating the Higher Education European Curricula for Volunteer Manager qualification, EVI-DEMS is empowering the volunteer sector and enabling volunteer involving organisations to better argue for the professional recognition of volunteer managers, which in turn will contribute to an increased sustainability of volunteer organisations and a more efficient and ethical volunteer sector. 

The full curricula will be made available here.

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