How to set up clear expectations between partners?

In the previous section you have seen how to manage different situations so that they don’t end up in conflict. On the other hand, a lot of these situations can be avoided from the very beginning through a thorough preparation phase, during which the expectations and the rules that should be followed are clearly expressed.

First of all, it is very important that the partners communicate even before the project is submitted, deciding together on its theme, joint aims and objectives. Moreover, several other aspects should be addressed, in order for future problems to be avoided, like:

The period of the stage – duration and dates;

Division of tasks – who is doing what?;

Number of participants from each side;

Expectations from the volunteers;

Timetable of the activities;

Methods of communicating;

Preparation and support for the volunteers;

Dissemination activities, etc.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some of these topics to be ignored, because of lack of time or because they are being considered irrelevant. Still, addressing these at the right time will not only save you from unnecessary problems but will also insure the fact that the parties involved are truly interested in the cooperation.

The European Commission recommends to all participating organisations involved in a youth mobility to sign an internal agreement between them. Such an agreement has the purpose of clearly defining responsibilities, tasks and financial contribution for all parties involved in the project. It is up to the participating organisations to jointly decide on how the EU grant will be distributed and which costs it will cover. Even if this is a recommendation, having such a document will help you insure a solid and smooth cooperation with your partners and to avoid or manage potential conflicts.

Different projects imply different responsibilities, which a manual cannot fully foresee. Still, the following list of potential topics about which you should decide who is responsible for what can be a good starting point for your agreement.

Topics to address when setting up partnership agreements

Grant application: drafting and submitting;

Periodical exchange of information between the partners;

Support for the partners in terms of documents and other relevant paperwork;

Budget: defining and managing; division of grant; documents needed for reimbursement of different costs;

Risk prevention measures and crisis management;

Quantitative, qualitative, financial indicators and deadlines;

Recruitment and selection of the volunteers;

Preparation / training / guidance / support for the volunteers before, during and after the stage;

Participation to the EVS training cycle provided by the National Agencies or responsible structures;

Vaccinations;

Support for travel;

Medical insurance;

Insuring that the volunteers have all the necessary travel documents: a valid passport, visa and also the travel tickets towards and from his hometown;

Obtaining residency permits;

Support person to accompany recruited young people with fewer opportunities;

Rules and recommendations which will apply during the stage (EVS Info KIT);

Rules to respect in the hosting communities and hosting places;

Conditions about accommodation, meals and local transportation in the hosting community;

Monthly activity plan and safe working conditions for the volunteers throughout the project's activities;

Access to local volunteering opportunities, as described in the project;

Facilitation for the activities;

Personal supervision, mentoring, and work-related support and/or training to enable full integration into the project;

Language course for the EVS volunteers;

Mediation of conflicts;

Evaluation/reports and support for volunteers;

Responsibilities about the Youthpass certificate;

Exchange of experience, support for dissemination and exploitation of results;

Project visibility;

Plan for action in case that a selected volunteer decides that he will not participate in the project anymore or that he will quit before the end of the stage;

Guidance for reintegration of the volunteers in the community of origin and within the family after the stage;

Changes in the project's partnership structure when in the interest of the project;

 

 

 

Practical exercise

Setting up agreements

Analyse one of the latest agreements that you organisation had. Check to see which of the above topics is relevant for the agreement, if they are included and, if not, get in contact with your partner and propose to include these also. Share each partner's point of view on each topic and draft a new and improved agreement.

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