Celebrating four years of youth volunteering

This month, the Interreg Volunteer Youth initiative (IVY) has celebrated its fourth anniversary. On this occasion, we decided to give the floor to two young Europeans, involved as IVY in our Interreg Europe projects.

What is IVY's goal?

Promoting solidarity among young Europeans in cross-border, transnational and interregional programmes. It is an opportunity for European citizens aged 18 to 30 to work in Interreg programmes or projects. They can 'volunteer' for up to six months, with some financial support.

The initiative officially started on 1 March 2017. It is run by DG REGIO through the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and part of the European Solidarity Corps. Since 2017, 553 IVY volunteers have been involved in the EU, pre-accession (IPA) and neighbourhood (ENI) countries. There are currently around 50 Interreg, IPA-CBC and ENI-CBC programmes and over 180 projects hosting IVY volunteers.

Rosa: Understanding cohesion policy in reality

Rosa Escamilla Torregrosa, IVY for SCALE UPRosa Escamilla Torregrosa comes from Valencia (Spain) and will be involved for six months as an IVY volunteer in our SCALE UP project, at EURADA. Graduate in law and political sciences, she's currently living and studying the Master of Laws in Brussels. She combines her studies with her IVY experience.

Rosa discovered the IVY initiative through the Spanish Association of Young Europeans, when she was working on projects that bring the European Union closer to young people. Once she discovered this opportunity, she decided to apply. She admits that this might be "one of the most rewarding decisions she's made".

Passionate about digitalisation and innovation science, she sees her mission at the SCALE UP project as a unique opportunity to understand how cooperation projects can boost economic growth. She joined the project at a key moment, during its final learning phase: she discovered the world of peer reviews, and is now about to dive into the action plan development.

Marine: Adopting the cooperation perspective

Marine Renou, IVY for SHREC (on the left)Marine Renou comes from France and has just finished her experience as an IVY volunteer in our SHREC project, at AURA-EE. With a background in European affairs, she is currently finishing a masters degree in environment science at Brussels University. She discovered the IVY initiative through APPROVE, another Interreg Europe project, when checking the project's good practices. 

As an IVY, she enjoyed having the opportunity to cooperate with partners of different nationalities and learn more about their practices and the way they work. Being part of a concrete Interreg Europe project helped her realise the benefits of collaboration across regions, beyond borders. According to Marine, cooperation is the only way to face global challenges: "If we don't cooperate, there is no chance we can achieve solutions".

Chance to enter the EU professional world

IVY volunteers at EURegionsWeek 2019

IVY volunteers help Interreg programmes or projects. At the same time, they learn new languages and develop social skills that will be extremely useful in their next professional experiences.

According to Rosa, being an IVY volunteer brings much more than a simple working experience. She said: "I have no doubt that working with Interreg Europe and being a volunteer is a good first step for my professional career in the European Union." 

Marine believes that for all students interested in adding a European dimension to their experience IVY is a must. It generates a network and a "sense of belonging" to a community, with connections to other volunteers working on similar projects.

More about the IVY initiative

Four years of volunteering for Interreg: interview with the first IVY, Manon Levrey

How to get involved

  • Are you an Interreg Europe project partner interested in hosting an IVY?

Check out the following link to learn more about the initiativehttps://www.interregyouth.com/

Please note that programmes host Interreg Reporters and projects host Interreg Project Partners.

  • Are you interested in becoming an IVY?

Learn more about the application process: https://www.interregyouth.com/apply

To be eligible, you need to be 18-30 and come from a European country or any of the following partner countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Palestine, Republic of Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Read about IVY hosted by our programme