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Hungary

Hungary

2. Voluntary Activities

2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering

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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation

Governance

Governmental activities related to youth volunteering belonged to the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families. As of 1 January 2022, the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökséget vezető miniszter) took over the Minister tasks related to youth policy. According to the Government regulation no. 94/2018. (V.22.) on the tasks and on the functions of the members of the Government [94/2018. (V.22.) Korm. rendelet a Kormány tagjainak feladat – és hatásköréről] the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office is responsible for the volunteering tasks as part of the child and youth policy. (For more information about the tasks related to youth of the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office, please see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.)

Main actors

As mentioned above, the governmental structure of volunteering does not specify youth volunteering, but since the main responsible body is under the same organisational unit with youth policy, an integrated approach is assumed. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium) takes part in the administration of the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The Deputy State Secretariat Responsible for Civil and Social Relations 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 (Nemzeti Önkéntes Tanács) established by the Government Decision 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 Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office, 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 Churchthe Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, the Association of the Hungarian Jewish Community and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.'

Its role:

'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 information provided by the Ministry in 2021, the members and permanent guests of the Council are currently being reappointed.

Financial support for civil society

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) 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.

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). As far as their tasks are concerned, they promote the culture of volunteering, organise and carry out campaign type volunteering. The network works with 19 so-called opportunity county offices and with one office in the capital.

Non-public actors

There are no central actors that specifically focus on youth volunteering. However, there are smaller youth organisations where volunteering and its promotion play an essential role in their daily work. One such organisation is 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 fulfill our personal and professional life. To reach that we do trainings and volunteer activities.'

The target groups of their activities are the Hungarian and the international youth and experts who works with youth or youth organisations and communities. They organise workcamps, festivals, meetups, trainings, youth exchanges, workhops to connect young people 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)] is operated and controlled by the Deputy State Secretariat Responsible for Civil and Social Relations, 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 

  • supporting civil organisations, so that they comply with the administrative requirements,
  • informing these organisations about the available funds and applications,
  • providing practical help and individualised consultation for NGOs,
  • supporting and promoting communication and cooperation within the sector and also with other sectors.

The other important organisation is the 'Volunteering Hungary - Centre of Social Innovation' [Önkéntes Központ Alapítvány (referred hereinafter to as ÖKA)] which aims

'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.

The head of the Civil Union Public Benefit Foundation (Civil Összefogás Közhasznú Alapítvány), as the president of the National Cooperation Fund (Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap), is responsible for the distribution of state funds to NGOs.

 

Cross-sectoral cooperation

 

One of the horizontal objectives of the National Volunteer Strategy (Nemzeti Önkéntes Stratégia) 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 Prime Minister's Office (Miniszterelnökség). The institutional location of intersectoral cooperation on the field is the National Volunteer Council, a consultative body involving

  • government representatives,
  • NGO-s,
  • churches and
  • for-profit companies. 

It also exercises an advisory role for the relevant ministerial body, and promotes

  • the popularity of active citizenship,
  • volunteering,
  • social and community engagement. 

As mentioned above, the Council is chaired by the Minister heading the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry is represented by 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 the Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) the State Secreters responsible for 

  • healthcare,
  • public education,
  • culture,
  • sport,
  • social issues and inclusion,
  • EU development policy appoint members and
  • the Minister of Human Capacities appoints one member from his 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, one for minorities),
  • Minister of Agriculture,
  • Minister for Foreing Affairs and Trade,
  • Minister for Finance [Government Decision 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.