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Croatia

Croatia

2. Voluntary Activities

2.4 Youth volunteering at national level

On this page
  1. National Programme for Youth Volunteering
  2. Funding
  3. Characteristics of youth volunteering
  4. Support to young volunteers
  5. Quality Assurance
  6. Target groups

 

National Programme for Youth Volunteering

The National Youth Volunteering Programme, as a comprehensive programme meant specifically for youth population and volunteering, does not exist.

However, since 2009 the relevant Ministry has been supporting a number of regional and local volunteer centres across the country which represent core infrastructure for the development of (youth) volunteering in Croatia.

 

Funding

The relevant Ministry has been supporting the work of regional and local volunteer centres via one- or three-year grants since 2009. The awarded grants are aimed at building the capacities of civil society organizations (volunteer centres) for the development of quality and sustainable volunteering programs and increasing public awareness on the importance of volunteering for social and economic development in Croatia. Most of the volunteering programmes have young people as one of the main target groups. Many projects also focus of the development of volunteering in primary and secondary schools.

 

Table: An overview of the state financial support awarded to regional and local volunteer centres for the period from 2009 to 2020

Year

Number of regional volunteer centres

Number of networks

Amount in HRK

Number of local volunteer centres

Amount in HRK

Total

2009

4

/

600.000,00

/

/

600.000,00

2010

4

/

600.000,00

/

/

600.000,00

2011

4

/

500.000,00

/

/

500.000,00

2012

4

/

500.000,00

4

200.000,00

700.000,00

2013

4

/

780.000,00

12

980.000,00

1.760.000,00

2014

4

/

780.000,00

12

999.940,00

1.779.940,00

2015

4

/

925.028,00

18

2.199.757,00

3.124.785,00

2016

4

/

925.028,00

15

1.850.000,00

2.775.028,00

2017

4

/

925.028,00

18

2.000.000,00

2.925.028,00

2018

4

/

636.000,00

20

1.764.000,00

2.400.000,00

2019

4

1

891.000,00

28

2.709.000,00

3.600.000,00

2020

4

1

1.000.000,00

27

2.570.000,00

3.570.000,00

TOTAL

24.334.781,00

Source: Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy

 

The data indicate a small but steady increase in the number of supported volunteer centres, as well as the allocated funds, except in 2018 and 2019, when the state support declined.

Apart from state funding, EU support is also available for volunteering centres and volunteering projects. For example, in 2013, the National Foundation for Civil Society Development announced a tender in the area of volunteering for the European Union funds for the first time. Under the IPA Component IV "Human Resources Development", is the Priority Axis 5: Strengthening the role of civil society for better governance, and measure 5.2 Strengthening the Role of Civil Society Organizations for Socio-Economic Growth and Democracy Development, was published a call for proposals for grant scheme called "Supporting Contribution of CSOs Active in the Field of Volunteering to Strengthening of Economic and Social Cohesion", aimed at promoting and empowering inclusive volunteering in civil society. The competition was defined by the Government of the Republic of Croatia Office for Cooperation with NGOs in cooperation with the Ministry.  A total of HRK 6.5 million was allocated to nine projects of civil society organizations. In 2017, the Government of the Republic of Croatia Office for Cooperation with NGOs awarded HRK 35 million in grants under the call "Support to the volunteering organizers for the improvement of volunteer management and the implementation of volunteering programs". This Call is implemented within the European Social Fund, i.e. the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020, Priority Axis 4, Specific Goal 11.ii.1. “Developing capacities of civil society organisations, especially NGOs and social partners, and enhancing civil and social dialogue for better governance”.

 

Characteristics of young volunteers

There are no statistics related only to the characteristics of young volunteers. However, in 2018, according to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering for 2017 and 2018, a total of 62,699 persons volunteered, which is 32% more than in 2017. Volunteer distribution in terms of age on the part of the younger population - volunteers aged between 15 and 30 make up 50.62% of the total number of volunteers which is 1.68 % more than in 2017.

Furthermore, according to the Comparative Statistics on Volunteering for 2019 and 2020, a total of 112,666 persons volunteered. In 2019, 3 % more persons volunteered more than in 2018, and 25 % less persons volunteered than in 2020, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Table: Number of volunteers, volunteering hours and volunteer organizers in the period 2012 – 2020

 

Total number of volunteers

Total number of volunteer hours

Total number of volunteering organisers

2012

19,422

1,222,583

446

2013

29,235

1,652,965

671

2014

45,955

2,597,121

1,032

2015

52,208

2,943,902

1,367

2016

48,731

3,332,984

1,217

2017

47,372

2,603,676

1,164

2018

62,699

3,253,667

1,497

2019

64,280

3,043,954

1,502

2020

48,386

2,819,655

1,574

Source: Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy

 

The table shows that the total number of volunteers from 2012 to 2015 almost tripled, until 2016, when it comes down slightly for two years in a raw. But in 2018 there was a big jump in numbers that shows almost 25% more volunteers and 20% more volunteer hours, if compared with the year before. The number of volunteers continued to grow in 2019 with the exception of 2020 and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The total number of volunteering hours was growing almost continuously until 2017, when it drops for 22%. Then, in 2018 the number raises again but it does not reach the total number of volunteer hours form 2016. After 2018, the number of volunteer hours is falling. Year 2020 is an exception due to COVID-19.

Positive trends also include the total number of volunteer organizers, which was on a steady rise and tripled from 2012 to 2020. That means that there is growing number of volunteer organisers which included more volunteers who volunteered a little bit less volunteer hours in last two years.

Volunteers are mostly Croatian citizens, while the share of foreigners in the total number of volunteers between 2017 and 2020 is around 2,5%.  In 2020, women are more likely to be volunteers (59%), while men participate on average with 41%. According to the same data, the largest share of volunteering is carried out in associations (87%), then in institutions (8%), and other non-profit subjects (3%). The fewest volunteers are present in units of local and regional self-government, religious communities, foundations and tourist communities (none of them exceeds 1%).

 

Support to young volunteers

According to the Act on Volunteering, the volunteerhas the right to reimbursement of the expenses incurred for carrying out volunteer work (e.g. purchase of special clothing or equipment for volunteering, travel costs, accommodation, meals, etc.) and such fees are not considered as a cash award or property gain. The Comparative Statistics on Volunteering includes data on the total cost of volunteering which refers to the reimbursement for travel, accommodation, meals, education and other volunteers’ expenses. The Comparative Statistics for 2019 and 2020 states that in 2019 the total cost of volunteering was 16,121,311.91 HRK (approximately 2,149,500 EUR), which is 1% more than in 2018. Same Comparative statistic for 2020 states that the total cost of volunteering was 11,324,342.78 HRK (approximately 1,509,910 EUR), which is 30 % less than in 2019. Also, a volunteer has the right to receive benefits under the EU program and international programs related to the funding of volunteering programs.

Besides the reimbursement of expenses, the volunteer has the right to appropriate training, support and supervision.

 

Quality assurance

The MLPSFSP, the body responsible for the monitoring of implementation of the Act on Volunteering once a year invites all associations, institutions, foundations, other non-profit legal entities, state bodies, and local and regional self-government units to submit report on organized volunteering via a web applications. The report contains general information on the organizer of volunteering, information on organized volunteering during the reporting period, information on the type of activity/service in which the volunteers were involved in the reporting period. Also, the MLPSFSP make a list of volunteer organisers.

Beneficiaries of state grants (local volunteer centres and regional volunteer centres) are obliged to submit a descriptive and financial report twice a year (once in 6 months). In a written report, volunteer organizers should describe project achievements and outcomes in the reporting period, co-operation with partners, project providers and their obligations, how the organization's capacities have been strengthened and how the project's performance is valued.

Programmes/Projects Monitoring Service of the Ministry analyses reports on the implementation of programs and projects, among others, and those related to volunteering. Their responsibility is to establish a system of financial control and spending funds in line with their specific purpose. Also, related to volunteering it advises and monitors the volunteer organizers in the field.

The Croatian Volunteer Development Center works on standardizing and improving the quality of the most important stakeholders necessary for the development of volunteering. The Center has developed a number of resources aimed at raising quality of volunteering projects and programmes (e.g. Quality Standards of Volunteering Programmes for Volunteer Organizations, Volunteer Management for Non-Profits, etc.)

 

Target groups

Act on Volunteering stipulates that particular attention is to be paid to volunteers coming from groups at risk of social exclusion and that is contained under the article 14. (OG 22/13) “Principle of inclusive volunteering”. In that article, ‘socially excluded youth’ as a group is not explicitly stated, therefore we can conclude that this principle of inclusive volunteering is applied to youth as well as all other age cohorts in society. The article contains the phrase “socially excluded groups of population” and nothing more specific than that.