2.8 Raising awareness about youth volunteering opportunities
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At the federal level, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) functions as the “civic engagement ministry”. It provides information on opportunities for civic commitment and volunteering .
At the state and local level there is an extensive network of organisations, volunteering centres, groups and youth information centres that provide advice on civic commitment and volunteering opportunities. Detailed information is available from the information portal Bürgergesellschaft.de.
The European network Eurodesk has been active in Germany since 1996, informing and advising young people on international exchange programmes and volunteering schemes. It also offers information material free of charge. Besides the central coordination office Eurodesk Deutschland, there are more than 50 Eurodesk offices (Beratungsstellen) across Germany.
The Federal Association of Volunteer Agencies (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Freiwilligenagenturen, bagfa) is the national umbrella organisation of volunteering agencies in Germany. Volunteering agencies are a port of call for all individuals who wish to volunteer and for organisations who want to work with volunteers. The administrative office of bagfa is supported by BMFSFJ.
The National Network for Civil Society (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerliches Engagement, BBE) is a network of stakeholders in civil society, the government and the private sector. Its aim is to support civil society and civic commitment in a sustainable way. BBE is supported by BMFSFJ.
The Learning and Helping Overseas Association (Netzwerk und Fachstelle für internationale Personelle Zusammenarbeit, AKLHÜ) offers a volunteering vacancy exchange (Stellenmarkt) on its website. AKLHÜ provides information on placements in international volunteering schemes, development programmes and other specialist development cooperation programmes.
Engagement Global gGmbH was established by the Federal Government on 1 January 2012. It is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für Zusammenarbeit und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, BMZ) www.bmz.de. Engagement Global brings together various development policy initiatives, organisations and projects. It functions as a portal for civic and local-level commitment in the field of development cooperation. Its main tasks are to inform and educate, provide advisory services and training, support initiatives and projects financially, and help build networks. Engagement Global’s Engagement Compass (Engagement-Kompass) provides an overview of various ways to show civic commitment.
Civic commitment week (Woche des bürgerschaftlichen Engagements) is organised annually by the National Network for Civil Society (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement, BBE). The 2020 date is 11-20 September (virtual event). Funding comes from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ).
Eurodesk’s Time To Move week was established in 2014 to inform young people across Europe about stays abroad as well as volunteering and other opportunities. In Germany, Time To Move is organised by Eurodesk Deutschland and the Eurodesk counselling offices. In 2020, Time To Move will extend across the entire month of October, combining online and on-site events.
In addition, a range of volunteering days and action weeks take place every year across the country. They are designed to encourage young people of any age to consider volunteering and participating in the community. Examples include Berlin’s “Common Cause” Volunteer Days (Freiwilligentage „Gemeinsame Sache“) (11-20 September 2020), Saxony’s volunteering action week (20-25 April 2020) and Munich’s volunteering fair (FreiwilligenMesse) (22-31 January 2021).
Each year since 2009, the Franco-German Youth Office (Deutsch-Französisches Jugendwerk, DFJW/FGYO) has appointed “junior ambassadors” (Juniorbotschafter). They represent the FGYO at the local level and inform others about the opportunities offered by the programme. In 2018, there were 96 active junior ambassadors.