2.7 Social inclusion through volunteering
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Support to young volunteers
The German-speaking Community of Belgium takes part in the EU programmes Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps and has its own National Agency tasked with implementing these programmes. Said National Agency is located in the Youth Office (Jugendbüro). One possibility of the European Soldarity Corps is the volunteering service, meaning young people up to the age of 30 may for a limited time go to another country to volunteer there in an organisation. The German-speaking Community has both hosting organisations who take volunteers from other countries on a regular basis as well as a sending organisation to enable young people from the German-speaking Community to volunteer in another country. Hosting volunteers is funded by the European Solidarity Corps. Additional funds are available when the volunteer in question is a young person with fewer opportunities. The additional funding amounts to 11€ per day per participant with fewer opportunities. Also, there is the possibility to have real costs reimbursed which are caused by enabling the participation of a person with fewer opportunities if the beneficiary can show that the costs could not be covered by the 11€ per day per participant with fewer opportunities. In this case the reimbursement of the real costs will replace the unit cost. As inclusion is also one of the programme priorities, the National Agency has its own dedicated Inclusion Strategy to specifically support projects, including volunteering projects, in strengthening their inclusive dimension.
Bel’J is a programme of the three Belgian communities, that is to say of the Flemish, French and German-speaking Community. With this programme young people between 16 and 30 years can do a volunteering service in one of the other Belgian communities. The volunteering service can last between 10 days and 3 months and can be spread over 6 months. Examples of possible offers for the volunteers include working in the childcare, accompanying camps or the cultural sector. The volunteering service does not need to be focused on an inclusive dimension, but it can be, for instance there are also offers for being active in the area of refugee aid. A Bel’J volunteer receives 40€ per day with a maximum of 1.600€ for the volunteering service.
EuroPeers are former participants of Erasmus+ Youth or the European Solidarity Corps who want to share their experiences and motivate other young people to participate in the programmes. It is a possibility for young people to stay engaged in the European programmes. The EuroPeer network is a growing network with young people from all over Europe. It is promoted in the German-speaking Community on a regular basis.
Tackling Societal Challenges
There are no top-level measures, initiatives or programmes supporting young volunteers to engage in projects that contribute to solving societal challenges.