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There is no specific national Programme for Youth volunteering.
The Czech Republic implements a European programme for young volunteers - The European Solidarity Corps.
On the national level, there exists only a concept of general 'Voluntary Service'. This concept is legally defined by the Act on voluntary service (no. 198/2002 Sb.) that came into force on January 1st 2003. Young people from the age of 15 can volunteer in the CR, and young people from the age of 18 can volunteer abroad under this framework in voluntary service as any other citizens.
Data concerning the individual level or youth participation in this programme are not available. There exist no short-term or long-term goals concerning the number of (young) people in voluntary service. Lists of accredited projects under this framework are published by the Ministry of the Interior.
Children and Youth associations
Key actors in the sector of volunteering performed by young people are the associations of children and youth, mostly united within the Czech Council of Children and Youth (ČRDM) or its regional counterparts if the youth organisations are of regional and local and not pan-regional or state character. In practice, each member who is more than 15 years old has their own voluntary role within the organisation – either regular in a form of any function, or occasional, mainly in summer camps and other events throughout the year.
There were 57 426 volunteers aged between 15 and 26 years in the ČRDM organisations in 2015.
Volunteering in sport
Based on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) best practices report from 2011, there are around 200 000 organised volunteers in the sport in the Czech Republic who ensure different activities necessary for the functioning of organised sport, especially for children and young people.
Since 2003, as the national volunteering authority, the Ministry of the Interior has provided grants to non-governmental, non-profit organisations that submit a project accredited as set by the act on voluntary service. No division of youth volunteering and general volunteering is known.
Since 2011, the support for organisations using the voluntary service framework has been stabilised at around 10 million CZK annually (ca 370 000 EUR).
These are funds from the Ministry of the Interior budget. Other funds have not been declared.
However, there are specific initiatives of the Ministry of the Interior to support development of general volunteering at local level, especially with the EU Funded project 'Concept of volunteering development in the Czech Republic with an emphasis on ensuring the regional and professional availability of volunteering in the form of volunteer centres', which in the years 2016-2021 is focused on supporting regional volunteering centres and creating guidelines for their operation. Part of the project is to create a national Strategy for volunteering development.
There is no official public data source on youth volunteering in general.
In the Czech Republic since 2005, there has existed only a limited source of consolidated data on general volunteering from the Czech Statistical Office (CSO).
This data shows e.g. the number volunteers re-counted full time (since 2008 around 25 thousand volunteers have full-time workloads within NGOs).
The economic value of their work would be around 45 million a year.
Amount of volunteered hours within NGOs is around 44 million a year.
There are also general numbers on volunteers in 21 sectors of industry, e.g.:
- Agriculture, forestry or fishery (from 400 to 1900 volunteers a year)
- Public administration, defence and compulsory social security (from 700 to 3400 volunteers a year)
- Cultural, entertaining and recreational activities (from 2500 to 9000 volunteers a year)
- 'Other activities' data (from 11400 to 22300 volunteers a year).
This summary indicates deficiencies of this approach to collection of data on volunteering in the CR.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in its report on volunteering in the youth field from 2008 states: 'according to serious estimations, the share of young volunteers until 30 years of age is 50% of all the volunteers.'
A partial study was done by Frič in 2015 for the concept of the State Policy Towards Non-governmental Non-profit Organisations until 2020. He claims that the amount of organised volunteers in the CR has been relatively stable since 1991 and around 30% of the population has been participating. According to him, the age category of volunteers between 15 and 34 years takes around 30%. However, his data are based on different sources, which should be taken into account when evaluating their comparability.
Furthermore, partial information is provided by the Ministry of Health. In the Record of volunteers at healthcare providers in the year 2013, there were around 2400 volunteers who worked around 80500 hours. No data are available concerning the age of the volunteers; it is therefore impossible to state numbers of young volunteers in health care.
Other partial results are shown in the research done by Janíková, who carried out a questionnaire survey on volunteering in social services and found out that more than 50% of responding organisations had several years of experience with volunteers. A similar study by Dostál and Vyskočil from 2013 shows that one-third of volunteers working for ADRA voluntary centres were in the youth age category.
The above-mentioned sources and information have shown several essential deficiencies.
Firstly, there is not a unified methodology that would enable us to describe Czech volunteering in all its diversity: as we have seen, the Czech Statistical Office's data are also limited.
Secondly, no detailed and continual data are available, that would enable us to thoroughly analyse not only individual areas of volunteering but also a profile of volunteers in these areas.
The SAFE project of the Czech Council of Children and Youth attempted in 2015 to solve the problem of lack of data. Goals of the SAFE project (The System of Record Keeping and Valuation of Voluntary Work as a Tool for Improving Transparency and Effectiveness of NGO Economic Management) were:
- To improve transparency in voluntary work in NGOs in two areas in which volunteering is significantly used – work with children and youth and environmental protection;
- To research the specifics of many different types of voluntary work in these areas and take them into consideration during record keeping and quantification of the value of voluntary work not only directly in NGOs but also on the side of the public administration;
- To implement proven methodologies from abroad and adjust them into identified specifics in the Czech Republic.
The SAFE project took into account the International Labour Organisation´s methodology for valuation and record keeping of voluntary work. Inspiration also came from abroad, from organisations which already counted and kept records of voluntary work for different purposes.
The new specific methodology for record keeping of voluntary work, compatible with foreign standards of measuring and record keeping, was proposed and piloted between May 2014 and April 2015.
Results are discussed with the Czech Statistical Office to arrange the methodology and to conduct a representative survey, and with the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic to define a methodology for value calculation and accounting of voluntary work.
The SAFE project worked with results obtained from more than 2800 volunteers working in 34 organisations in 2 areas – work with children and youth and environment.
According to the findings of the SAFE project:
- One volunteer works on average 324 voluntary hours a year
- The average hourly wage, counted by the weighted average methodology, was 143 CZK.
- In total, 2898 volunteers carried out work worth 110 million CZK. If re-counted to all 36 861 volunteers working in the monitored youth work organisations and environmental organisations, they carried out work in the overall volume of 11 959 563 hours per year that was worth 1 717 569 564 CZK.
Interesting data about volunteering were brought by research on Civic Engagement in 2015 done by the Centre for Civic Education.
Different forms of civic engagement have been researched based on a huge data set provided by a private marketing company and weighted on the whole Czech society according to the data from the Czech Statistical Office.
They could categorise society into 6 segments according to the level of individual activity of any form in last year of the lives of those individuals, and it is also possible to follow the age categories, including Young people aged 15 – 24 years and 25 – 34 years of age.
According to this study, we can see that young people are the most engaged part of society, especially in political activities (52.6% of the politically active are young people until 34) or as helping hands on different occasions (41.2% of the helping hands are young people until 34). Interestingly, young people aged 15 to 34 are underrepresented in the apolitical active engagements (only 33.2% of apolitically active).
The segments and generational share of them are as follows:
Financial support for volunteers outside of the accredited voluntary service is an issue of Civic Law agreement between the organisations and individuals and has thus no specific statute when this is not an agreement between those sides. There are no impacts on public social or health insurance nor on taxes.
Regarding the support of youth volunteering and volunteering in the youth sector, specific state-funded insurance is provided and managed by the Czech Council of Children and Youth.
It consists of possibilities for:
- Accident insurance
- Liability insurance of youth organisations
- Liability insurance of volunteers
- Employees insurance by youth organisations
Accident and Liability insurance is provided free of charge (funded by a state yearly grant) for members of the Czech Council of Children and Youth, for members of the Regional Councils of Children and Youth and youth organisations which have been granted yearly support from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Others can join this insurance as well, however for a small annual contribution per individual (still very favourable compared to other kinds of private insurance).
The Czech Council of Children and Youth manages the administration and public procurement on the private insurance company every three years. It brings favourable conditions for young people and youth volunteers under this Framework.
Support under the voluntary service
Financial support of individual volunteers in the Czech Republic is officially possible only under the voluntary service according to the Act on voluntary service, article 5 which states:
'f) should the nature of the service require so, on compensation of costs associated with the necessary preparation for the role of a volunteer in a certain voluntary service programme of a project, on compensation of the travel costs abroad and back, on personal allowance to cover for general expenses in the place of deployment, and on provision of working equipment and personal protective equipment;
(3) The contract concluded between the volunteer and the deploying organisation on a long-term voluntary service may also include a provision guiding that prior to deployment, the volunteer shall apply for the pension insurance, should he/she meet the conditions stipulated in the special instrument of law, the deploying organisation shall pay, on behalf of such person, pension insurance premiums based on at least the minimum assessment base, should the long-term voluntary service be performed for an average of over 20 hours a week.'
and, furthermore, as stated in article 7 of the Act a volunteer is entitled to insurance:
'(1) The deploying organisation shall, before the deployment of the volunteer to the volunteer service, conclude an insurance contract to cover the liability for damages on property or health caused by or to the volunteer in the course of the volunteer service. The volunteer shall be liable only for the damage he/she caused intentionally.
(2) The deploying organisation shall, before the deployment of the volunteer to the volunteer service abroad, conclude, based on the nature of the service and the particularities of the country of deployment, a health insurance contract for the volunteer.'
In other words, a volunteer is entitled in case of voluntary service performed under the Act no. 198/2002 Sb. as amended, to the following financial support:
- compensation of costs associated with the necessary preparation for the role of a volunteer
- compensation of the travel costs
- personal allowance (general expenses in the place of deployment)
- compensation of working and personal protective equipment
- insurance to cover the liability for damages on property or health
- health insurance
- and, if agreed with the deploying organisation, also pension insurance
Legal quality assurance is valid only for the programmes of the voluntary service. If young people decide to volunteer under voluntary service and in social services or medical sphere, they also need to comply with the standards of those spheres (for details see Chapter 2.4), and they can use all the benefits of the volunteer within the voluntary service. Any other standards or benefits for young volunteers or youth volunteering are a matter of non-state actors and organisations working with young volunteers usually based on their mutual agreement.
Under the Act on voluntary service, article 6, quality assurance is ensured through the accreditation process:
'(1) The Ministry of the Interior shall accredit the deploying organisation (from now on only "the Ministry"). The Ministry shall provide the accreditation upon the proposal of an Accreditation Commission composed of one representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Finance, and the Government Council for NGOs. The Accreditation Commission is an advisory body to the Ministry of the Interior.
(2) The Ministry shall accredit, in keeping with Art. 1), a deploying organisation, which is a civil association, foundation, institute, social cooperative, public beneficial society, church or religious organisation or a legal person formed by a church or a religious organisation, which is of good repute and integrity, and should such a subject prove that it has the necessary bodies, employees, or members aswell as particular voluntary service projects or programmes and finance to organise and perform voluntary service and to meet other obligations under this Act. The accreditation shall be granted for a period of four years.'
The Accreditation Commission is composed of representatives of different ministries and investigates the quality of the applicant organisation. The accreditation expires after a period of 4 years (and is subjected to re-accreditation) or after any change of facts decisive for granting of the accreditation throughout the whole period of accreditation validity. Different ministries cooperate, but the authority is the Ministry of the Interior.
The Ministry of the Interior maintains a list of all accredited organisations:
'The Ministry shall maintain a list of accredited deployment organisations. The list shall be a public list and shall be made accessible electronically. The list shall include definitions and objectives of types of voluntary service the deploying organisation facilitates and manages.'
The register is available online, at the Ministry of the Interior's web pages and includes a list of accredited projects.
In the Act on voluntary service, as amended, no mechanism can be found that would impose upon any subjects to gather feedback from voluntary service participants. These mechanisms can be present on the level of deploying organisations, however, according to the law, they are neither obligatory nor centrally monitored.
Currently, no summary reports from the Ministry of the Interior's accreditation processes or grant processes can be found, with the exception of the Frydlova's report (2015) that sums up the support of the Ministry of the Interior for voluntary service in 2015.
Neither the Ministry of the Interior nor other central authorities monitor the level of social inclusion of voluntary service or volunteering in general, i.e. outside of the force of the Act on voluntary service.
There are no particular guidelines for youth volunteering.
However, general volunteering and application of voluntary service are further regulated in a number of different areas administrated by different ministries in accordance with standards in those areas and sectors. If young people decide to volunteer in these areas under the framework of voluntary service, they need to comply with those sector standards as well.
Volunteering in Social Services:
- Since amended version 2007 of the Act on social services (Act. no. 108/2006 Sb.) volunteers can be deployed in social services, however, they need to operate only under the regime of voluntary service.
- There are Standard of quality of social services and their Implementing regulation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (no. 505/2006 Sb.) of the Act on social services. All volunteers deployed thus in social services, need to fulfil these standards as well including the duty of secrecy.
- Volunteers (both under the force of the Act on voluntary service - with accreditation – and outside of it) cannot perform a professional activity (do not belong among defined people who directly provide social services), and therefore it is unnecessary to provide documents on clean records or professional qualifications. They can only support the professional staff of the social services.
Ministry of Health (MH) also refers to the Act on voluntary service, however, defines specificities of volunteering in health care through methodical recommendations. These methodical recommendations deal extensively with different aspects of volunteering in medical facilities, from the introduction of voluntary programs to their evaluation.
Similarly, MI published, in accordance with the Act on Voluntary Service, methodical material concerning volunteering in emergencies. The document provides an overview of the legal framework of volunteering in emergencies and a set of practical steps to be followed in emergencies to involve volunteers securely and effectively.
As neither volunteering nor youth volunteering is regulated, there are no specific target groups.
The only document explicitly targeting young people is the Youth Strategy 2014-2020, that defines the age group as up to the age of 30.
The Act on voluntary service defines volunteers under the voluntary service as follows:
- at least 15 years old in the case of volunteering in the Czech Republic
- at least 18 years old in the case of volunteering abroad
- maximum age limit is not specified
The Ministry of the Interior's document on volunteering in emergencies states the age limit only in the form of recommendation: 'On the basis of experience from emergencies it is recommended that a volunteer is older than 15 years, ideally 18 years, especially in order to protect the volunteer as well as his surroundings against possible risks connecting with his/her involvement in aid'.
The Youth Strategy 2014-2020 defines young people clearly as being up to 30 years old, although it also targets other age groups that can be defined based on declared goals (for example support the development of quality management, support of organisations and institutions working with volunteers; please see the concrete measure above).