5.6 Supporting youth organisations
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Polish youth organisations are funded on the strength of general principles which are governed by the Public Benefit Activities and Voluntary Service Act passed on 24 April 2003 (ustawa z dnia 24 kwietnia 2003 r. o działalności pożytku publicznego i o wolontariacie) and the Associations Act of 7 April 1989 (Ustawa z dnia 7 kwietnia 1989 r. Prawo o stowarzyszeniach) as well as some other laws: for example, the Social Cooperatives Act passed on 27 April 2006 (Ustawa z dnia 27 kwietnia 2006 r. o spółdzielniach socjalnych, Dz.U. 2006 nr 94 poz. 651 z późn. zm.); the activity of scouting organisations is regulated by the following acts: the Act on the Common Duty to Defend the Republic of Poland passed on 21 November 1967 (Ustawa z dnia 21 listopada 1967r. o powszechnym obowiązku obrony Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), Teacher’s Charter passed on 26 January 1982 (Ustawa z dnia 26 stycznia 1982r. Karta Nauczyciela), Upbringing in Sobriety and Alcoholims Prevention Act passed on 26 October 1982 (Ustawa z dnia 26 października 1982r. o wychowaniu w trzeźwości i przeciwdziałaniu alkoholizmowi), Act on the Education System of 7 September 1991 (Ustawa z dnia 7 września 1991r. o systemie oświaty), Forest Act of 28 September 1991 (Ustawa z dnia 28 września 1991r. o lasach), Act on the organisation and undertaking of cultural activity passed on 25 October 1991 (Ustawa z dnia 25 października 1991r. o organizowaniu i prowadzeniu działalności kulturalnej), Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Service Act passed on 24 April 2003 (Ustawa z dnia 24 kwietnia 2003r. o działalności pożytku publicznego i o wolontariacie), Drug Abuse Prevention Act passed on 29 July 2005 (Ustawa z dnia 29 lipca 2005r. o przeciwdziałaniu narkomanii), Emergency Medical Services Act passed on 8 September 2006 (Ustawa z dnia 8 września 2006r. o Państwowym Ratownictwie Medycznym) and the Mass Event Safety Act passed on 20 March 2009 (Ustawa z dnia 20 marca 2009r. o bezpieczeństwie imprez masowych). There is no document equivalent to a law or regulation which, in general terms, would: a) clearly define a youth organisation or an organisation acting for youth b) specify the terms of operation and potential support for such organisations; which differ from those relating to non-government organisations in general. Therefore, it is difficult to talk about a separate support system for youth organisations. It should be emphasised that attempts to develop that kind of system or its elements have been undertaken but have not been successful.
The sources of funding for youth organisations in Poland are diversified and dispersed. Apart from EU funding for youth programmes, youth organisations can obtain funds for public tasks as part of such initiatives as Youth, Youth in Action or the Erasmus+ programme. Public tasks become contracted when they have been transferred to non-governmental organisations or other entities. Contracted tasks may be transferred to non-governmental organisations, including those for young people, at central level (e.g.; agreements between non-governmental organisations and ministries, government agencies) or at a lower level (e.g.: agreements between non-governmental organisations and communes). Entities mandating youth organisations to perform such tasks must ensure the financing of the task.
The most important objectives of government and local government policies implemented by youth organisations as part of contracted tasks relate to the following areas: education and upbringing (especially issues of participation in social and civic life), youth and children international exchanges, cultural and sports activities, tourism and recreation for children and young people, environmental protection, prevention of addiction to psychoactive substances and behavioural addictions, safety and defence, historical education, sexual education and preparation for family life, equality education, European education, promotion of volunteering and the equalisation of opportunities in the labour market. A significant proportion of tasks delegated by the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy are linked to the equalisation of children’s and youth’s opportunities and are aimed at safeguarding the needs of groups at risk of social exclusion in various forms.
Non-governmental organisations providing support are a significant source of support for youth organisations. The most important of these are: The Centre for Citizen Education, The Batory Foundation, The Civitas Polonus Foundation, The Polish-German Youth Cooperation, The Polish Children and Youth Foundation, The Orange Foundation, The Foundation for the Development of Local Democracy, The Stocznia Foundation, Norwegian Funds. They take advantage of various forms of foreign governmental assistance or obtain funds from private sponsors. Supporting organisations often focus on helping youth organisations operating locally, in communities where young people have fewer opportunities, and their priority is given to supporting grass-root activity and creativity. Improving youth workers’ competencies is an important type of activity. Education and training programmes are intended for teachers, youth leaders, social workers, local politicians and many other groups.
Polish legislation offers provisions which are a good starting point for close cooperation and mutual support between student councils and public benefit organisations, including youth organisations. The Act on the Education System provides that formal education is supported by non-governmental organisations, including scout organisations, as well as legal entities whose statutory activity falls within the category of education and upbringing (J. of Laws 2004, No. 256, item 2572 as amended.). Moreover - in accordance with applicable legislation (J. of Laws 2004, No. 256, item 2572 as amended.) - heads of schools or educational institutions: “shall, in particular, create in their school or institution conditions to facilitate the activity of: volunteers, associations and other organisations, especially scouting organisations whose statutory aims are to engage in educational activities and to develop and enrich the forms of teaching, pedagogical and care activities of the school or institution.”