2.4 Youth Volunteering at national level
National Programme for Youth Volunteering
There is no youth program dedicated exclusively to volunteering. Article 36 of the Youth Act (Закон за младежта) says that the central and local government shall promote youth volunteering through national and municipal youth programmes. Although there is no standalone program, the National Youth Program (2016-2020) contains a section dedicated to youth volunteering. Under Sub-program 2 – National Youth Initiatives and Campaigns, thematic area “Youth Volunteering and Participation in Volunteering Initiatives” funding is available for projects aimed at establishing good knowledge of volunteering, exchanges of good practices and promotion of volunteering opportunities.
No public funding is provided in Bulgaria for the implementation of youth volunteer activities only. Through the state budget projects are financed under Sub-program "National Youth Initiatives and Campaigns", subject "Youth volunteering and participation in volunteer initiatives" of the National Youth Program (2016-2020) (Национална програма за младежта 2016-2020).
General characteristics of young volunteers
According to the research conducted for the purposes of the 2019 Annual Youth Report (Годишен доклад за младежта за 2019 г.), data on volunteering show positive attitude to the participation in volunteering/ charity causes. 68% of young people respond that it is worth participating in such kind of causes, without significant differences in terms of sex.
46% of young people declare their willingness to participate with voluntary work in case of disasters and failures. Topics like environment protection and social activities also attract the interest of young people.
Data show that there are two goups of young people in terms of volunteering: young people who would get involved in a kind of volunteering activity on ad hoc basis, whenever necessary, and young people who may be permanently engaged with volunteering based on their scope of interest.
The level of education influences young people’s attitude to volunteering. 81% of young people with higher education state that it’s worth participating in volunteering, while 57% of people with secondary and lower education share such opinion.
The participation of young people in charity activities is another key factor for determining their attitude to volunteering. Data show that about 46% of young people have participated with financial donations, including SMS. During the recent years, the SMS donation system in Bulgaria has developed and this is the major mean for donations by young people. In principle, volunteering among young people in Bulgaria is related to money and, to a less extent, with other types of activities. 27% of them have donated things or clothes. Data show that women are more willing to donate clothes and things than men. Only 15% of young people have participated in volunteering with labour.
The percentage of young people who have not participated in charity causes is high – 37%.
Only 2% of young people have participated in volunteering abroad, while 39% of them have been involved in such type of activities in Bulgaria. In terms of young people who have participated in volunteering in Bulgaria, there is no significant difference in terms of sex and age. It is obvious that the higher level of education creates another type of social responsibility.
Available support to young volunteers
There are no official top-level policy measures to support young volunteers and to mitigate the indirect expenses participants might incur in such as transportation, material, meals. However on occasions of volunteer activities with the participation of public authorities the expenses are covered by the organizers. Article 42 of the Youth Act stipulates that when involved in youth volunteering, every young volunteer shall receive health and safety instructions or specialist training, if applicable, from the event organisers.
Mechanisms of quality assurance
Although there is no standalone program, the National Youth Program (2016-2020) contains a section dedicated to youth volunteering. In 2020 the National Youth Program (Национална програма за младежта) (2016-2020) had opened calls for projects under Sub-program 2 – National Youth Initiatives and Campaigns, thematic area “Youth Volunteering and Participation in Volunteering Initiatives” The projects are aimed at establishing good knowledge of volunteering, exchanges of good practices and promotion of volunteering opportunities. The main mechanisms in place to monitor and ensure the quality of these projects are part of the work of the Ministry of Youth ans Sports responsible for this national programme. The quality assurance mechanisms are according to the rules of the programme.
There are no criteria/indicators/standards used to assess the quality of programmes and schemes of youth volunteering as the national programmes are not for volunteering itself but for good practices in volunteering and its promotion. There is no a quality assurance mechanism established on top authority level
There are no policies/programmes/projects/initiatives in the field of youth volunteering at national level that identify specific target groups within the youth population, young people in transition between education and employment, young unemployed, young adults without formal qualifications whose participation in voluntary activities is sought.