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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.6 Supporting youth organisations

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Legal/policy framework for the functioning and development of youth organisations
  2. Public financial support
  3. Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants

Legal/policy framework for the functioning and development of youth organisations


The Ministry in charge of youth actively supports the development of youth associations, which is one of the ministry’s areas of action and competence. Youth organisations are associations of which the functioning is governed by the law of 1 July 1901, which defines an association (cf. 2.1).

One of the departments of the ministry in charge of youth, the DJEPVA - Department for Youth, Non-Formal Education, and Voluntary Organisation (Direction de la Jeunesse, de l’Éducation Populaire, et de la Vie Associative), is tasked with supporting associations through grants, as well as providing them with “youth and non-formal education” accreditation, in accordance with article 8 of the law of 17 July 2001 as well as Decrees nos. 2002-570 and 2002-571 of 22 April 2002, as amended.

Accreditation can be given to associations that have been duly registered for at least three years, that have an activity in the field of youth and non-formal education, and that “satisfy requirements relating to respect for freedom of conscience, the principle of non-discrimination, democratic functioning, transparency in their management, equality of access for men and women, and access for young people to their governing bodies.”



Public financial support


The financing arrangements for youth associations / movements and unions (cf.5.3) comply with the same principles and laws as govern the financing of all types of associations, including the law of 1 July 1901, which stipulates that “any duly registered association may, without any special authorisation, hold and administer […] State grants.”

The ministry in favor of youth makes grants to accredited youth and public-education associations that carry out actions accessible to all members of the public, contributing to the general interest and to strengthening social links. Examples of projects supported are: access to artistic practices, holidays and leisure, education in independence and citizenship, youth mobility, etc.

Youth associations that make an application must meet the conditions for those grants to be made, i.e.:

  • the association must be registered
  • only the governing bodies of the association can request the grant
  • the grant must be used to set up a project of general or local interest or a training programme for volunteers
  • the public authority must “establish an interest” in the project, which must come solely from the association.


In addition, the Government supports youth organisations and citizen commitment through several actions, including:

  • the development of bénévole training via the Fund for the development of associative sector (Fonds de développement de la vie associative, FDVA), which contributes towards financing association training plans,
  • The development of training for volunteers via the Fund for the Development of Associative Life (FDVA - Fonds de développement de la vie associative), which contributes, among other things, to financing training plans for associations, with a budget of €8.1M in 2020,
  • the implementation since 2018, of the citizen commitment fund (Compte d’engagement citoyen, CEC). The CEC lists individuals’ bénévolat and volunteer activities and allows them to acquire training hours that are transferred to their personal training account (Compte personnel de formation, CPF).



The health crisis and the development of youth associations

As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, numerous associations – including youth associations and associations for young people – were forced to suspend their activities or postpone projects, some of which are subsidised by the state and local authorities.

To limit the financial impact of the cessation of activities brought about by the crisis, the government has implemented an exceptional assistance and support package for employer associations and their employees, as well as state-guaranteed loan systems, solidarity funds and the deferred payment of rents and charges.


Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants


Numerous studies have shown that political and associative participation is closely associated with a high level of education and membership of a higher socio-professional category, a situation which youth professionals wish to remedy.

 In order to develop the involvement in civic and solidarity-based activities of young people who are furthest away from them, the Youth Experimentation Fund (FEJ - fonds d’expérimentation pour la jeunesse) (see 1.7), created in 2009, has launched several experiments on youth involvement and participation aimed at developing and strengthening the mobilisation of young people, particularly those with fewer opportunities. 

Thus, the Experimental Fund for Youth launched the call for projects "APRURAL" to support the integration, autonomy and participation of rural youth. Launched in 2019, this call for projects, which provides ten experimental projects with a total of 1.5 million euros, allowed all the stakeholders in the experimental programme to meet in 2021. The project leaders and evaluation structures were able to discuss the expectations of the call for projects and its results.

Other public comitmment schemes aim to encourage the development of civic participation (volunteering, associative participation, etc.) among all young people, particularly minors, who are not very aware of volunteering or young people with fewer opportunities, such as the Volont'R programme of the civic service agency and the Junior Associations scheme.


The Civic Service’s Volont’R programme

Volont'R is a civic service programme launched on 26 October 2018 by the interministerial delegation for the settlement and integration of refugees (Diair - délégation interministérielle pour l’accueil et l’intégration des réfugiés) and the civic service agency (ASC - agence du service civique).

It has a double-pronged approach whereby it is aimed at:

  1.  The civic service commitment within the framework of the great program "Volont'R" offers the possibility to any young person between 16 and 25 years (or up to 30 years for the young people in situation of disability) to carry out missions with the refugees.
  2.  Young refugees. Any refugee between 16 and 25 years old (or up to 30 years old for young people with disabilities) can engage in a civic service mission. The civic service missions offered to refugees allow them to immerse themselves in French society. So that mastery of the French language is not an obstacle to civic engagement, refugee volunteers carry out adapted missions and take French lessons throughout their engagement.


Junior Associations

The "junior association" scheme was created in 1998, on the initiative of the public authorities (ministry in charge of youth) and various associative groups concerned with developing young people's capacity for action and associative initiatives, as well as making it easier for young people to fulfil the projects themselves.

A "junior association" is a mechanism that allows young people under 18 years of age, who have a project (in a wide variety of fields: sports, culture, access to citizenship, etc.), to come together to implement this project with the support of a contact person in each department. A junior association can include adults, but there must be a majority of young people aged under 18 and minors in a position of responsibility.

The "junior association", despite its name, is not an association as such pursuant to the law of 1 July 1901: it is a "label" that allows it to benefit from a certain number of advantages.


In addition, the National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (INJEP - National de la Jeunesse et de l’Éducation Populaire) published an article on the mobilisation of young people who are furthest away from commitment, "Engagement: What levers can be used to mobilise young people who are not involved? (INJEP National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (Institut National de la Jeunesse et de l’Éducation Populaire) analyses & syntheses n°3, 2017).