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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


2. Voluntary Activities

2.6 Raising awareness about youth volunteering opportunities

On this page
  1. Information providers
  2. Key initiatives

Information providers

Public sector activities aimed at raising awareness of the availability of youth volunteering at national level are limited to the publication of basic regulations (again regarding volunteering in general and not specifically youth volunteering) on the website of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy and organisation of the “Volunteer of the Year” competition by the Ministry of National Education. No information on youth volunteering can be found on the websites of the National Institute of Freedom - Centre fro the Development of the Civil Society (established in 2017). Some informatio on youth volunttering are to be found in the reports on the Institute's events - for example in the report from the meeting of the Expert team on Polish Solidarity Corps. Undoubtedly, the largest compendium of knowledge on volunteering is available on the website of the nationwide network of Volunteering Centres. The network also organises cycles of meetings addressed to volunteer service organisers (e.g. within the framework of the Warsaw Volunteer Project), runs the Online Volunteer Service Agency, and organises a nationwide competition called the “Colours of Volunteering” (Barwy Wolontariatu). Similar activities are organised by regional and local Volunteering Centres, as well as many organisations supporting the Polish non-governmental sector (infrastructural organisations).

Key initiatives

The key activities of the public sector aiming at raising awareness about youth volunteering are carried out mainly by the Ministry of National Education and are the following:

  • "Wolunteer of the year" - a nation-wide competition for school pupils;
  • "Teacher-volunteer of the year" - a nation-wide competition for teachers;
  • "Open school" - competition for schools aimed at stimulating civic participation and engagement of your people;
  • "Scouting volunteering" - a competition organised in 2013-2015 for non-governmental organisations, aiming at providing trainings for volunteers;
  • "School volunteering" - a competition organised in 2016 aiming at promotion of volunteering among young people.

Moreover, the Association for the Promotion of Volunteering (Stowarzyszenie Promocji Wolontaritu) deals with “the promotion of the idea of volunteering as a special form of international youth contacts” and a portal devoted to online volunteering as well as other projects exploiting the potential of new technologies for strengthening civil society and increasing the level of social engagement. International Volunteer Day (5 December) is celebrated, but its celebrations are organised spontaneously and optionally by the individual organisations and institutions, without national co-ordination. Significant youth volunteering promotion effects have in recent years been produced by events such as Euro 2012 or Youth Days in 2016, and the media are annually publicising mass charity events based on voluntary work (such as those mentioned in Section 2.2.1 Administration and Governance of Youth Volunteering). Volunteering could potentially be promoted within the framework of the Programmes of Co-operation with Non-Governmental Organisations, which are mandatorily adopted (under the Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work) by local governments, but unfortunately promotion and organisation of voluntary service is nowhere to be found among the priority public tasks planned. Schools and their volunteer groups acting for the local community seem to be the key institutions for the development of youth volunteering, but “as it turned out during an analysis of the websites and social media profiles of schools across Poland, which was performed by the Youth Activity Factory (Fabryka Aktywności Młodych - FAM) volunteers from April to June 2014, 90% of schools do not have information on their school volunteer group or any volunteer activities on their website. If there is volunteer activity at a particular school, its website or Facebook profile will not tell us anything about their achievements or who the leader of volunteering activity is in that school. As a result, such unselfish actions of young people for the local community go without notice and the organisers of volunteering activity are not given any recognition.”