2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering
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According to the Government Decree no. 182/2022. (V.24.) [182/2022. (V.24.) Korm. rendelet], governmental activities related to youth volunteering belongs to the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs, under the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium). (For more information about the youth-related tasks of the Secretariat, please see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.)
As mentioned above, the governmental structure of volunteering is not specifically geared towards youth volunteering, but as the main responsible persons are located in the same organisational unit as youth policy, an integrated approach is assumed. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium) participates in the administration of the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The Deputy State Secretariat for Civil and Social Relationships within the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökség) has a Division for Civil and Social Consultation administers the sectoral policies of the civil sector and provides information for civil organisations through the Civil Information Portal (Civil Információs Portál).
The National Volunteer Council
The National Volunteer Council (Nemzeti Önkéntes Tanács) established by the Government Decree no. 1503/2016. (IX. 21.) [1503/2016. (IX. 21.) Korm. határozat] is a forum for volunteerism, which brings together the Ministry and the relevant civil and religious actors.
According to the regulation the organisation of the Council is the following:
'the president of the Council is the State Secretary for Families, its vice-president is the Deputy State Secretary for Youth Affairs.
Its members can be nominated, among others, by the National Disability Council, the Charity Council, the Council of Seniors, the National Council for Environment Protection, the Hungarian Catholic Church, the Hungarian Reformed Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, the Association of the Hungarian Jewish Community and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.'
'The Council gives an opinion on the concepts, strategies, proposals and reports on volunteering submitted to it. It proposes the creation and amendment of legislation and regulatory instruments concerning volunteering and other government policies related to volunteering. Promotes cooperation between the governmental, church, non-profit and business sectors in the field of volunteering. Contributes to the coordination of various voluntary programs and measures, monitors and supports the preparation, adoption and implementation of the current National Volunteer Strategy.'
According to the Ministry information in 2022, the new members and permanent guests of the Council were appointed in 2022.
The network of Family, Equal Opportunity and Volunteer Houses
Another element of the state institutional system is the Network of Family, Equal Opportunity and Voluntary Houses (Család, Esélyteremtési és Önkéntes Házak). Their tasks are to promote the culture of volunteering and to organise and carry out campaign type volunteering. The network works with 19 so-called opportunity county offices and with one office in the capital.
There are no central actors that focus specifically focus on youth volunteering. However, there are smaller youth organisations where volunteering and its promotion play an essential role in their daily work, such as the Egyesek Youth Association, which aim is defined in the following:
'The aim of our activities is that - we, young people – explore our own strengths and resources using them consciously to fulfil our personal and professional life. To reach that we do trainings and volunteer activities.'
The target groups of their activities are Hungarian and international youth and experts working with youth or youth organisations and communities. They organise work camps, festivals, meetups, trainings, youth exchanges and workshops to bring young people in contact with society, with others and with themselves.
There are several non-governmental organisations that rely on voluntary activities in general for their work. There is only one network (network of organisations) which is responsible for coordinating the information activities related to youth volunteering. The state supported network of Civil Public Service Centres [Civil Közösségi Szolgáltató Központok; (referred hereinafter to as CKSZKs)] are operated and controlled by the Deputy State Secretariat for Civil and Social Relationships, under the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökség). The NGOs that run these centres have offices in each county and the capital as well. These centres support the professional work of the NGOs and monitor the use of the state funds.
'The tasks of CKSZKs, among others, include the following: professional support for NGOs regarding their operation strengthening their sustainability and ensuring that the use of the state budget support is in line with the regulations.'
The main services provided by the CKSZKs are
- to support civil organisations, so that they comply with the administrative requirements,
- to inform these organisations about the available funds and applications,
- to provide practical help and individualised consultation for NGOs,
- to support and promote communication and cooperation within the sector and also with other sectors.
'to promote positive social processes through the implementation of volunteer-based programs that contribute to strengthening a society based on responsibility and participation.'
The Civil Unity Forum (Civil Összefogás Fórum) and its partner, the Civil Union Public Benefit Foundation (Civil Összefogás Közhasznú Alapítvány) are also important actors worth mentioning in relation to the Hungarian civil society.
General distribution of responsibilities
The National Cooperation Fund (Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap) coordinates the financial support of the civil sector. Different thematic colleges administer the allocation. In youth sector, the following colleges are relevant:
- College for National Cooperation (Nemzeti összetartozás kollégium),
- College for Social Responsibility (Társadalmi felelősségvállalás kollégium),
- College for the Future of New Generation (Új nemzedék jövőjéért kollégium)
- Board of Social Environment (Közösségi környezet kollégium)
- College for Mobility and Adaptation (Mobilitás és alkalmazkodás kollégium)
- College for National Inherence (Nemzeti összetartozás kollégium).
College for National Cooperation (Nemzeti Összetartozás Kollégium) makes decisions on the support of NGOs active in protecting human and civil rights.
College for Social Responsibility (Társadalmi Felelősségvállalás Kollégium) includes non-profit organisations, services for umbrella organisations, representation and advocacy, charity, social activities, family support, care for the elderly, rehabilitation activities, support for disadvantaged groups, other NGOs.
College for the Future of New Generation (Új nemzedék Jövőjéért Kollégium) supports NGOs dealing with education, skill development, advocacy for children and youth, health protection, disease prevention, healing, health rehabilitation activities, drug prevention, nature and environment protection.
Board of Social Environment (Közösségi környezet kollégium) supports civil society organisations who are active in the fields of cultural education, science and research, audio and telecommunications, information technology, electronic communications, vocational and adult education, information dissemination, consumer protection, urban and community development, cultural activities and civil society organisations.
College for Mobility and Adaptation (Mobilitás és alkalmazkodás kollégium) supports civil society organisations working in the fields of safety of life and property, public safety, voluntary fire-fighting, rescue and disaster relief, protection of public order and road safety, leisure, hobbies and sport, and protection of equal opportunities for women and men.
College for National Inherence (Nemzeti összetartozás kollégium) aims to support cooperation, European integration and religious activity in the Carpathian Basin. It also supports the protection of the nationalities living in Hungary, human and civil rights, and other cultural activities (music, dance, folk music, folk dance), and traditionalism.
Cooperation with other countries
Currently, there is no active cooperation in the youth field and no exchange of information with volunteer systems in other countries. Nevertheless, the EU Youth Dialogue process, launched to implement the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027, provides an excellent opportunity for civil society, government and young stakeholders to directly exchange practices, experiences and information on volunteering.
One of the horizontal objectives of the National Volunteer Strategy 2012-2020 (Nemzeti Önkéntes Stratégia 2012-2020) is to support cross-sectoral cooperation. In order to strengthen collaboration between the different branches of government, civil society and other sectors, the government intends to better involve NGOs, churches and business sector in volunteering management. In addition, the government is seeking agreements that will establish these long-term partnerships and help strengthen the value shares through the benefits of cooperation.
Voluntary activities at the policy level are the exclusive responsibility of the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs, under the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium). The institutional location of intersectoral cooperation on the field is the National Volunteer Council, a consultative body involving
- government representatives,
- churches and
- for-profit companies.
It also exercises an advisory role for the relevant ministerial body, and promotes
- the popularity of active citizenship,
- social and community engagement.
As mentioned above, the Council is chaired by the State Secretary for Families and the Deputy State Secretary Responsible for Youth Affairs as vice-chair. However, many other policy areas are represented in the form of invited members with consultation rights.
From other relevant ministries, the State Secretaries responsible for
- public education,
- social issues and inclusion,
- EU development policy appoint members and
- the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister (Miniszterelnöki Kabinetiroda) appoints one member from the Cabinet.
There are also ministers who appoints further members:
- Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (one member responsible for civil and social relations, one responsible for church),
- Minister of Agriculture,
- Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
- Minister for Public Finances [Government Decree no. 1503/2016. (IX. 21.)] [1503/2016. (IX. 21.) Korm. határozat].
In addition, the chairperson of the Council may invite other members with the right to be heard if requested by a member or if deemed necessary by the agenda of the council.