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YouthWiki

EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Belgium-French-Community

Belgium-French-Community

2. Voluntary Activities

2.4 Youth volunteering at national level


National Programme for Youth Volunteering

There is no national programme for youth volunteering.  

Funding

Youth volunteering associations (youth organisations working with young volunteers) are mainly funded by public subventions.  

Characteristics of youth volunteering

The King Baudouin Foundation published in 2014 a statistical study about general volunteering in Belgium: “Le volontariat en Belgique: chiffres clés et analyse” (volunteering in Belgium: key indicators and analyse). Out of the total of volunteers, the group of youngsters aged between 15-29 years old represents 12.9 %.  This percentage stays quite similar for every age group. A relation between age and intensity of volunteering commitment is observed. Youngsters aged between 20 and 24 years old are the one who give the most of their time to volunteering. Thereafter, the time devoted to voluntary activities decreases as young adults get more involved in work and family life.

Young people are mainly actives in the following activity fields:

  • Youth associations (32.3% in 2014);
  • Social services (19.7 % in 2014);
  • Sports (14.7 % in 2014);
  • Culture and socio-cultural associations (13.3% in 2014);
  • Education, training and research (7.6 % in 2014);
  • Defence of rights and interests (6.7 % in 2014).

Scouting movements are deeply integrated in the Belgian society. Many young people aged above 17 years old volunteer as youth leader every week end and during summer camps.  

Support to young volunteers

The Law of 3 July 2005 related to volunteer’s rights establishes a clause related to the indirect expenses of participants (transportation, material, meals, etc.). The law specifies that the volunteer doesn’t need to justify the total amount of the compensation as long as it doesn’t exceed 24.79 euros per day.

The type of support is not established by law. Associations are free to organise it the way they want to.

However, there is a public aid for scouting movements. Public administration through the “Centre de prêt de Naninne” (the rental centre of Naninne) supervises the distribution and the renting of tents for summer camps.

The law of 3 July 2005 related to volunteer’s rights establishes social security provisions to which every volunteer is entitled. There is no specific legal framework for young volunteers. The law authorises unemployed person to be volunteer if the person declares officially its activity to the National Office of Employment (ONEM).

The law of 3 July 2005 protects the young volunteer’s right to receive family allowances as the compensation received by the young volunteer as part of its volunteering activity is not considered as an income.

All the organisations responsible in the civil law are bound to contract an insurance policy which covers at least the civil liability for their volunteers. They are not legally bound to contract any other insurance such as the physical injury insurance. The “Plateforme francophone du volontariat” has detailed the insurance topic in the document “étude de la loi de 2005 relative aux droits des volontaires: sa mise en pratique par le secteur associatif et son evaluation depuis sa mise en application” (study of the law of 2005 related to volunteer’s rights:  practical implementation by the associative sector and evaluation since the enforcement).  

Quality Assurance (QA)

There is no specific system of quality assurance for evaluating specifically the volunteering activities available to young people.

However, the Youth Department of the French-Speaking Community evaluates every four year the activity of youth associations. In order to receive financial support from the administration, associations must submit a report of their activities and get the approval from the department (See section 1.7 Funding youth policy).

The “Plateforme francophone du volontariat” will launch a new website which will gather all volunteering associations including the ones focusing on young people.

There are no official mechanisms to collect young volunteers’ feedback on their experience.

 

Target groups

As there is no specific national programme for Youth Volunteering in the DG, a specific target group hasn't been defined. Due to its nature, volunteering can be carried out by anyone, regardless of background, level of education, etc. Volunteering can be a pool for special target groups to develop experiences, to reintegrate themselves into society, to be a forum in which isolated people can establish social contacts.