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.
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 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.
European Volunteer Measurement Project (EVMP) Kick off training session with Johns Hopkins University (Tallinn, Friday 6th May 2011)In view of the launch of the European Volunteer Measurement Project, the European Volunteer Centre (CEV), Centro di Servizio per il Voluntario del Lazio (SPES), and the authors of the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS), organised a kick-off training session in correlation with the CEV Symposium in Tallinn, on Friday 6th May 2011, from 09.00 to 13.00:
We now have all we need to make it happen: The ILO approved a Manual to produce globally comparable statistics on volunteer work, preparatory funding from the Italian banking foundations has been provided, and there is interest from the European institutions in seeing the Manual implemented in Europe. In Tallinn, during the opening panel session of the CEV Symposium, and in a kick-off training session that took place on Friday 6th May, Lester Salamon from Johns Hopkins University explained in detail how the new ILO Manual works and what we can expect to get by seeing it implemented. JHU, CEV and SPES engaged in a major 2011 collaborative effort to convince the EU governments that comparable statistics on volunteering is an essential foundation of good policy for volunteering.
The future of volunteering: concepts, trends, visions Tallinn, Estonia 4th-6th May 2011What do we hope for and want to see happen to the future of the voluntary sector? Do we share a vision on how to continue empowering European citizens to feel ownership of their communities and engage in voluntary activities? How does social media influence the range of opportunities to get involved? How is benefit and scepticism weighted against when thinking of cyber-volunteering, voluntourism or employee volunteering? What are our recommendations in order to make the best use of the momentum gained throughout the European Year of Volunteering 2011?
More than 160 participants shared their experience and views during the two-day CEV Symposium in Tallinn, Estonia, on May 4th-6th 2011. 'The future of volunteering: concepts, trends, visions' was discussed gathering reflections from representatives of CEV member organisations, researchers, civil society agents, businesses, the Polish EU presidency as well as national and local governments. The symposium was organised in partnership with CEV member organisation Volunteer Development Estonia (VDE) and it was supported by the European Commission.
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.
President Wulff Meets German Scouts and Recognises their Volunteer EngagementGermany's Federal President, H.E. Christian Wulff, joined representatives of the three German National Scout Associations for campfire talks when he recently attended the 14th German Youth Welfare Days in Stuttgart.
Sitting in front of a panorama picture taken at the 2007 International Scout Camp held in the gardens of Schloss Bellevue, the President's Official Residence in Berlin, the President discussed the German Associations' key areas of activities. The President shared his viewpoints on international youth education, on sustainable development of children and young people, as well as on different areas of youth policy. "Young people not only need adequate space for volunteer engagement, but also our society's recognition of this engagement", the President said. He agreed that recent developments in Germany's school and higher education systems might have an impact on the work of youth associations, such as the Scout Movement. "If our society wants to see its young people be engaged in volunteer work, it needs to provide the appropriate and stable framework", added Gunnar Czimczik, youth policy spokes person of Ring Deutscher Pfadfinderverbände (RDP), the German National Scout Organisation.
The President noted with great interest the fact that Berlin was host city for the 21st European Scout Conference in August 2013 (as well as of concurrently held 14th European Guide and 14th European Guide and Scout Conferences).
Later in August, more than 150 young people had been invited to be present at a special ceremony in Berlin, when H.E. Christian Wulff, the German Federal President, for the first time ever, honoured 14 young people for their volunteer engagement in youth associations.
Among those honoured are Saskia Scholten, DPSG, and Benjamin Euen (from VCP). DPSG and VCP are two of the three member associations of German's National Scout Organisation, the Ring Deutscher Pfadfinderverbände (RDP).
"It is far from obvious that young people continue to be engaged in volunteer work while facing growing requirements of school and higher education. Particularly encouraging is the fact that those who were engaged when young usually continue to do so throughout their adult life to the benefit of their community," the President noted in a communiqué in which the recipients were introduced, adding that he felt it more than appropriate to recognise the young peoples' volunteer work.
AGE position paper on older volunteering making the links between EYV2011 and EY2012
AGE has launched a new Position Paper which explores the links between the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and the upcoming European Year 2012 on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The objective of this paper is to encourage stakeholders to build on the momentum created by the European Year of Volunteering to foster active ageing in the community during 2012 and promote better recognition of the value that older volunteers bring for our societies.
AGE position paper on active ageing through volunteering:
AGE and Intergroup on Ageing organised a meeting on 'Enhancing the participation of older volunteers through the 2011 European Year of Volunteering (EYV2011)'In the context of the European Year of Volunteering (EYV 2011), the Intergroup on Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity held a meeting on 21 September 2011 to highlight the important contribution that older volunteers bring to society and to reflect on how best to remove the current obstacles to volunteering among older people.
This meeting highlighted how to encourage and facilitate participation in volunteering activities amongst the ageing population. It also stressed the necessity to bridge the efforts of the EYV2011 and the upcoming 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012). Furthermore, it provided an occasion for Intergroup members and stakeholders to reflect together on how their expectations for the current European Year of Volunteering are being met as well as the benefits that volunteering brings for older people and how this links into the aims of the EY2012 to promote active ageing.
During the meeting, a Resolution on the importance of involving older people in volunteering activities was endorsed by Cristina Gutierrez Cortines (EPP), Kinga Göncz (S&D), Jean Lambert (Greens), Kartika Liotard (GUE), Liz Lynne (ALDE), Claude Moraes (S&D) and Lambert van Nistelrooij (PPE), Co-Chairs of the Intergroup, and by Martin Kastler (PPE), rapporteur for the EP report on the EY2012. This Resolution presents volunteering as a vital component of active ageing and includes a number of recommendations to the EU and stakeholders at national and local level that would enhance volunteering opportunities for older people.
The meeting showed that all of Europe must mobilize its efforts to support the EY2012 and to extend the work of EYV2011. Such actions will promote active ageing, intergenerational solidarity, and will provide the stepping stones to the creation of an Age-friendly Europe.