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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

2. Voluntary Activities

2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering

Last update: 28 November 2023

The relevant ministries for administration and governance of Laws on voluntarism in Bosnia and Herzegovina are: FBiH Ministry of Justice and RS Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports.

There are no national or regional authorities responsible for youth volunteering, and the majority of voluntary activities are administrated and govern by youth non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs).

The Law on Associations of Citizens and Foundations (Zakon o udruženjima i fondacijama Bosne i Hercegovine) defines the non-profit sector in BiH. This Law regulates procedures for the registration of NGOs or CSOs and the general framework for their operation. Furthermore, in both entities of BiH there is a Law on Youth that regulates the registration of and operational framework for youth organisations. Besides CSOs, the non-profit sector includes other types of legal entities such as sport clubs and public institutions operating in different sectors, such as education, health, social care or culture.

According to the Law on Volunteering in RS and Law on Volunteering in FBiH, all legal entities mentioned above are allowed to be volunteering organisers and to engage volunteers.

The secondary school students’ councils and university students’ organisations form another part of the non-profit sector, relevant to volunteering. These structures are usually based on voluntary work, and the results they achieve through implementation of their programmes would not be possible without volunteers.

Regarding the structures focused on the promotion and development of volunteering, there are local volunteer services operating in the country, and they are united through the informal network named “Volontiram!”

There is no other specialised structure, although many NGOs use volunteers for the planning and the implementation of various programmes focused on local community needs.

Other stakeholders

Beside the local voluntary sector in BiH, there are other stakeholders influencing the promotion and development of volunteering. A few of these are governmental stakeholders that support volunteering, like for instance:

In RS, the Law on Higher Education define possibility for obtaining of ECTS credits through volunteering.

In the same entity, the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport delivers the annual awards for an outstanding volunteer and one volunteering organiser on 5 December, International Volunteer Day. The same Ministry provides financial support, every year, in the form of small grants for voluntary activities planned and implemented by secondary school students’ councils.

Regarding the profit sector, there are not many examples of their support towards volunteering. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is still something new in BiH and not so much used at this point. Some of the international corporations that operate in BiH include CSR in their policy, however this has not been done in a systematic way and nor has it been promoted within the communities. In the future, CSR will be an interesting topic to be developed and promoted by the business sector. The civil society sector in BiH is not entirely prepared for these processes, with some exceptions, such as CSR Plus, the consultancy agency focused on the promotion and development of corporate social responsibility in BiH.

Regarding the international organisations and institutions actively involved in promotion and development of volunteering, these are United Nation Volunteers (UNV) in BiH and the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in BiH. These two international organisations through their various programmes provided support to volunteering, especially in area of lobbying for volunteering legal framework and for the recognition of volunteering by local governments.

The Delegation of the European Commission to BiH does not provide specific funding for promotion and development of volunteering in BiH, even if some of the projects funded by this institution include volunteering as tool or methodology for project implementation. This is mainly due to the non-recognition of volunteering by the state government which is the one defining priorities for the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) funding in negotiations with the EU.