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A National Programme for youth volunteering does not exist in Cyprus. However, the Office of the Commissioner of Volunteerism and NGOs has launched a new website under the name prosfero.com. The new website is used as a platform in which people can register in order to volunteer in different NGOs.
There is very limited research on youth volunteering in Cyprus. The main studies with official statistics related to volunteerism were conducted by the Youth Board of Cyprus and the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT) respectively.
The first report, ‘The current situation of young people in Cyprus’, was assigned to KPMG on behalf of the Cyprus Youth Board (publication date: November 2015). Based on this research, most of the young people between 14-35 years old who answered the questionnaire (55%) were not involved in voluntary activities in the last year. From those who had been involved in voluntary activities, the majority were involved in voluntary activities at a local level.
The second study, also conducted in 2015 by the CYSTAT in collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteering and Non-Governmental Organizations, did not focus exclusively on youth volunteerism but rather on volunteerism and active citizenship in the general population of Cyprus. The results showed that only 7.17% had participated in volunteer work through an organization or organized group, and 2.63% in voluntary work on their own initiative.
From those who volunteered in an organization, 21.78% were aged 16 and 29 years old and 24.35% 30 and 39 years old. The main fields of activities took place in Parent Associations, Community and Municipal Councils, Ecclesiastical Committees, Sports Associations and Youth Centres, at fundraising events, charity and other events which aimed to collect money, food and clothing to support deprived people. Participants also volunteered in blood donations and initiatives related to the cleanliness of parks, beaches, coasts, municipalities and schools.
From those who volunteered on their own initiative, 24% were aged between 16 and 29 years old and 20.29% between 30 and 39 years old. Voluntary activities included voluntary care for stray animals (mainly dogs), free work and/or services, such as repairing objects, and voluntary assistance to citizens who are ill or in need of transportation. In addition, they participated in voluntary activities aimed at collecting and/or distributing food and other basic commodities to homeless people, they provided (either directly or indirectly) financial support to other citizens and volunteered in initiatives for the cleanliness of parks, beaches, municipalities, schools and gardens. Lastly, the study mentions that it is encouraging that participation rates in volunteer activities, either collectively or individually, for the age groups 16-29 and 30-39 are among the highest.
The survey was held again in 2017 and the results were presented in October 2020. The survey showed that the percentage of the population that participated in voluntary activities amounts to 12.4%. Excluding blood donation, which was not included in the 2015 survey, the participation rate of the population is 8.7%. It is noteworthy that 43% of active volunteers, either collectively or individually, are 16-39 years old. This shows that the tendency towards Volunteering is increasing at a younger age.
The “Youth Barometer” survey is another source which is giving us some general information about youth volunteering. So far, it was carried out twice: the first one in January-February 2020 and the second one in November-December 2020, both with a sample of 1000 people between the ages of 14-35. Although this research does not focus on volunteering, in the chapter "Participation" there is a section for the participation of young people in volunteering or voluntary organizations. Specifically, in the first Youth Barometer, it appeared that 26% of respondents were involved in volunteering, while in the second one this percentage increased to 29%. Despite the fact that the rate is relatively low, it is quite significant that there was an increase, as well as that the participation of young people in volunteering activities/organisations is the highest among all the other forms of participation in the chapter.
The ‘Declaration of rights and responsibilities of the volunteers’" outlines what kind of support should be given to volunteers. Specifically, each volunteer is entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred during the implementation of the voluntary activity (only costs related to the activity). It should be noted, though, that the decision to provide such reimbursement for their volunteers or not is up to the organisation. In addition, the voluntary organizations should provide insurance which covers social protection, medical care and civil liability.
Also, the operation of the "Home of Volunteer" is an important initiative of the Commissioner. It aims to meet the basic housing and office needs of voluntary and Non-Governmental Organizations, such as the free provision of housing and basic office equipment (offices, computers, telephones etc.). The spaces are provided for use by a number of organizations and they are configured to be suitable for organizing events and meetings. The first "Home of Volunteer" inaugurated in 2014 in Larnaca and the second one in 2016 in Nicosia. The goal is to increase the number of voluntary Organizations that are hosted in the Houses in the coming years and the creation of a corresponding House in Troodos and Kofinou.
A system of quality assurance of the programmes and schemes of youth volunteering does not exist in Cyprus.
Given the fact that there is not a national Programme for Youth Volunteering, there are not any target groups specified.