Young Volunteers Stand up!
On September 7-11, the European Youth Forum organised the biggest Civil Society event of the European Year on Volunteering proving and showcasing the impact and outreach of volunteers in youth organisations: the II Youth Convention on Volunteering.
The event, hosted by the European Parliament, was a space for young volunteers and youth organisations to work together, to discuss with European decision-makers and to celebrate the commitment of young people throughout Europe building a better Europe every day.
The Convention consisted of a wide range of activities, most notably the Stakeholder Conference on the Rights of Volunteers, the Volunteer Bridge dedicated to the EU-China Year of Youth, the Volunteers Village, hosting Member Organisations' and other partners' stands and activities, the launch of the European Youth Forum Alumni Network and the YO!Fest which celebrated 15 years of the European Youth Forum.
Part of the Convention was the Volunteer Bridge, one of the flagship events of the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth, organised by the European Youth Forum in partnership with the All-China Youth Federation, the European Commission and the European External Action Service and with the support of the Policy Dialogue Support Facility. A World Music Village Workshop, a Graffiti Workshop and the III China-Europe Symposium on Youth Work Development featured in this event. It provided an experience of volunteering and showcased the contribution of participatory youth organisations to the volunteering sector and to society.
The Village provided the space to more than 80 organisations, Members and non-Members of the platform, to present their work, to bring forward the added value of volunteering within their specific contexts and to engage participants and visitors in a set of workshops and interactive sessions. This Village showed the diversity and strength of youth work and the work of youth organisations. The Youth Forum therefore held a meeting in the Village with experts of the institutions who work on the new cycle of EU Programmes dedicated to Youth.
Overall the Convention gave visibility to volunteering in youth work, showcased the impact of youth organisations, provided them with a space for exchange and to learn from best practices and gave political visibility to the European Youth Forum across the institutions in Brussels. One of the first results was the support to the draft Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers from several important actors such as Mr. Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Mr. Gianni Pittella, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Ms. Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr. Jean-Pierre Vandersteen, Director General for Communication of DG Communications (EC), Ms. Marian Harkin, EP Coordinator of the European Year of Volunteering.
The video report of the Convention can be viewed on the Youth Forum's Vimeo page.
CEV and UNV jointly organized the Brussels launch of the State of the World’s Volunteerism ReportThe European Volunteer Centre (CEV) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme hosted a special Brussels launch reception on International Volunteer Day, 5th December 2011 to celebrate the International Volunteer Day and the international launch of the UNV State of the World's Volunteerism Report. The event aimed to raise awareness about the research conducted at world level for over a year and a half. In addition, it offered the occasion to make an overview of the achievements of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and to reflect on the best way to move forth and continue the momentum raised by the Year.
ENGSO Adopts a Position Paper on Volunteering
On 9 July, the Executive Committee of ENGSO adopted a position paper on volunteering. In the statement, ENGSO underlines that the European Union should develop European cooperation to promote volunteering through recommendations, relevant EU programmes and enabling visa practices. ENGSO also supports the development and recognition of the skills and competences of volunteers. According to ENGSO, the EU should also aim at decreasing administrative burdens of volunteers and voluntary sports organisations, minimising the unintended harmful consequences that European legislation can have on volunteering, and ensuring the sustainable financing of non-profit voluntary sports organisations.
More information and the position paper available on ENGSO Website.
CEV member organisations led the national campaign “CROATIA IS VOLUNTEERING”The Association for Civil Society Development SMART in partnership with Volunteer Centre Osijek, Association Mi and Volunteer Centre Zagreb organised the promotional campaign "Croatia is volunteering" under the slogan of EYV 2011 "Volunteer! Make a difference", through the Croatian Network of Volunteer Centres. The purpose of the awareness-raising event was to increase the visibility and value of the contribution of volunteers and volunteering Croatian society. The event took place on 21st September 2011. Different volunteer activities/small scale actions were simultaneously held in partnership with different stakeholders from various sectors (public, civil society, local/regional government) and took place all over Croatia. Several thousand people got involved in the campaign. The events benefited from national and local media coverage and were held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
CEV General Assembly and Symposium „Volunteering and Active Citizenship: Two sides of the same coin ?“In 2011 we celebrate the European Year of Volunteering for the Promotion of Active Citizenship. While aspects of volunteering are widely discussed and the need to value and recognize voluntary activities is highlighted, we are still lacking a profound discussion on the link and interdependence between volunteering and active citizenship.
The Symposium aimed to accomplish the following main objectives:
1. To further grasp the link between volunteering and active citizenship;
2. To ensure a space for debate starting from concrete, specific projects implemented at local level by comparing and contrasting similar projects from across Europe;
3. To identify the most effective ways to empower citizens to be active through volunteering.
Volunteering as a means of empowerment and social inclusion- A bridge between the European Years 2010 and 2011What is the role played by volunteering in the fight against poverty and social exclusion? Is volunteering inclusive itself and is its empowering potential used to the full? What recommendations can we formulate for more and better voluntary action in combating poverty and social exclusion, as well as for a better recognition of the role of volunteers in this area?
These constitute a sample of the questions that were addressed by the over 150 participants of the CEV Symposium on 'Volunteering as a means of empowerment and social inclusion – A bridge between the European Years 2010 and 2011', organised in Brussels from 6th to 8th December. Symposium participants included professionals from the volunteering sector; decision-makers; experts in the field of the fight against poverty and social exclusion; as well as volunteers and people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. The conference was organised in collaboration with CEV's four Belgian member organisations – Vlaams Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk, Het Punt Brussel, Plateforme Francophone du Volontariat and Association pour le Volontariat – in the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (EU).
Consult the Brussels Declaration on the role of volunteering as a means of empowerment and social inclusion here.
Keeping the Youth out of Exclusion - The benefits of VolunteeringIn the framework of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering and as a member of the EYV 2011 Alliance, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory, through its European branch, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory (EJJO), has launched an awareness campaign emphasizing the benefits brought by volunteering to the youth in situation, or at risk, of exclusion.
Always willing to enhance children's well-being, both Observatories decided to focus on the benefits brought by volunteering to the youth, especially to those in situation, or at risk, of social exclusion.
Hence the European Juvenile Justice Observatory developed an awareness campaign, which details the benefits brought by volunteering to the youth. For instance, volunteering is inter alia an including activity, which helps children and young people feel implicated in their community; it broadens their circle of friends and provides them with practical and social skills that may help them find a job in the future.
Such benefits have been underlined by theories developed at an academic level and practices discerned at a grass roots level. In fact, the awareness campaign developed by the European Juvenile Justice Observatory emphasizes these findings and gives the floor to different stakeholders. Hence, theories developed by academics are exposed alongside testimonies of volunteers, social workers and national representatives. Moreover, a series of NGOs encouraging the involvement of children and young people in voluntary activities are being presented in this campaign in order to underline good practices implemented throughout Europe and foster a greater implication of children and young people in volunteering – as it turns out, NGOs do not always think about engaging children and young people in their activities. Yet, more than the benefits they could receive from the work of volunteers, youngsters can greatly profit from volunteering themselves!
To find out more about this initiative, please go to: http://eyvcampaign.ejjo.org/
EUCIS-LLL key messages on the European Year 2011 on Volunteering
The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) brings together 25 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education. Together they represent millions of students, school heads, parents, human resources professionals, teachers and trainers, reaching out to hundreds of millions learners all over Europe and beyond.
Volunteering plays an indispensable and capital role in lifelong learning. EUCIS-LLL key messages on the European Year 2011 are the result of the discussions that took place during the EUCIS-LLL annual conference on "The role, place and value given to volunteering in education and training" (9 May 2011, Krakow) and EUCIS-LLL working group on the social dimension of education and training.
European Year of Volunteering 2011 Tour Book
Summary: The book containing highlights, stories and photos of the EYV2011 tour has been published! Read all about the events, activities, volunteers, organizations, celebrities and high-profile visitors that attended the Tour stops in all 27 EU Member states.