9.7 Current debates and reforms
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Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
International youth volunteering and exchanges were severely impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. According to a 2020 study by France Volunteers (France Volontaires), 80% of volunteers thought that the crisis had affected their assignment objectives and their ability to carry them out. Exchanges have been progressively picking up since 2021.
Both public stakeholders and stakeholders in volunteering have set up a number of initiatives, including:
- Bolstering physical or virtual Volunteer Spaces (Espaces Volontariats) to properly register volunteers and guarantee their safety;
- Holding a briefing between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) and France Volunteers (France Volontaires), which led to 7 region-specific meetings to regularly report on the situation;
- Working on a plan, by France Volunteers (France Volontaires), to resume volunteering activities from autumn 2020;
- Creating a “general public” communication strategy tailored to a crisis context.