This year, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), one of the biggest human aid providers in the world, is organising a nation-wide communication campaign in Slovakia, called "The European Humanitarian Olympiad". The aim of this project is to draw Slovaks', and especially young people's, attention to the issue of European humanitarian aid, the ECHO informed The Slovak Spectator in its press release from January 17.
With its joining the EU, Slovakia switched from humanitarian aid-beneficiary to aid-contributor in the European Union. Thus it is important for all Slovaks to be familiar enough with specific EU activities in regions devastated by natural disasters and armed conflicts, and also with the fact that the EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid in the world. In 2007, the EC donated €768 million in humanitarian aid.
The information campaign "European Humanitarian Olympiad" consists of a series of lectures at 260 Slovak secondary grammar schools within two months. Twelve young co-ordinators have already set off to eight Slovak regions to activate Slovak youths. ECHO shows the competitive spirit of the campaign and will measure the skills of the schools. The climax will be the creation of eight competing teams from across Slovakia, which will then take part in the national round of the European Humanitarian Olympiad in Bratislava on March 15, 2008, with the promised participation of Slovak Euro-Commissioner Ján Figeľ, and also the Slovak Red Cross, People in Peril NGO, and the Slovak Committee for UNICEF as national operation humanitarian partners.
This campaign is the continuation of similar campaigns in other EU member states: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia. Since 1992, ECHO has been financing and coordinating humanitarian aid in more than 100 countries outside the EU. The aid is rendered directly to the needy, regardless of their nationality, religion, gender, or ethnicity