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The governmental activities in connection with youth volunteering belong to the Minister without Portfolio Responsible for Families (Családokért felelős tárca nélküli miniszter). 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 without Portfolio is responsible for the volunteering tasks in the frame of youth policy. (For more information about the tasks of the Minister without portfolio Responsible for Families, please see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.)
As mentioned before, the government 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. Besides this, 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 for Civil Society 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 (információ) for civil organisations.
The National Volunteer Council (Nemzeti Önkéntes Tanács) founded 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 of Human Capacities and the relevant civil and religious actors.
According to the regulation
'the president of the council is the State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs (Család- és Ifjúságügyért Felelős Államtitkárság), its vice-president is the Deputy State Secretary of Youth and Equal Opportunity.
According to the State Secretary, its members can be nominated, among others, by the National Council for Disabilities, 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 Trade and Industry Chamber.
The Council has at least 3 meetings a year, its members participate without any remuneration.' [The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (Magyarországi Evangélikus Egyház) - A Nemzeti Önkéntes Tanács segít terjeszteni az önkéntességet.]
Furthermore, the decision [1503/2016. (IX. 21.) Korm. határozat] also foresees that 5 additional members can be nominated by the Ministry and by those associations and NGOs, which promote the culture of volunteering. In connection with this, in 2016, the foundation of the National Youth and Volunteering Professional Centre was announced with the sole task of promoting volunteering and organising voluntary activities. And as part of the New Generation Reloaded (Új Nemzedék Újratöltve) programme, an advisory network will also be established. [The National Volunteer Council (Nemzeti Önkéntes Tanács)]
Tasks of the Deputy State Secretary of Youth and Equal Opportunity
- Preparing the professional proposal for legislation and public-law organisational tools for volunteering in the public interest.
- Carrying out volunteering tasks arising from EU membership and other international obligations.
- Ensuring the representation in the committees on volunteering in the UN, the Council of Europe and the EU.
- Carrying out the professional and coordination tasks related to the implementation of the National Volunteer Strategy.
- Developing programs to support volunteering and carrying out other volunteering tasks for which the Minister is responsible.
- It performs public authority tasks related to public interest volunteering. Keeping the official records specified in the Act on Voluntary.
The involvement of domestic celebrities with positive public image also helps to reach as many social strata as possible. Three well-known personalities volunteered as a goodwill ambassador during 2011. The Ambassadors of the Year of Volunteering in Hungary thus highlighted the importance of volunteering and conveyed the messages of the European Year.
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),
- College for Social Responsibility (Társadalmi felelősségvállalás kollégium),
- College for the Future of New Generation (Új nemzedék jövőjéért 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.
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 implement campaign-like voluntary activities. The network operates with 19 so-called opportunity county offices and with one office in the capital.
There are no central actors focusing specifically on youth volunteering. However, smaller youth organisations exist, where volunteering and its promotion play an essential role in the daily activities. Such an organisation is Egyesek Youth Association, which aims
'to inspire, empower and support youth in taking responsibility successfully in their lives and the lives of their communities',
Their activities are
'focused on the non-formal personal development of youth and young adults, in Hungarian and international context. [They] organise youth exchanges, voluntary service programmes, trainings for youth leaders and peer educators, summer camps and thematic weekends, as well as support volunteering which serves learning and personal development.'
There are several non-governmental organisations which rely on voluntary activities in general in their operations. There is only one network (network of organisations) which is responsible for coordinating the information activities regarding youth volunteering. The state supported network of Civil Public Service Centres [Civil Közösségi Szolgáltató Központok; (hereinafter referred to as CKSZKs)] is operated and controlled by the Deputy State Secretariat for Civil and Society Relationships operates under the Prime Minister’s Office (Miniszterelnökség). The NGOs which operate these centres have offices in every county and the capital as well. These centres support the professional work of NGOs and monitor the use of the state funds
'The tasks of CKSZKs, among others, include the following: professional support for NGOs regarding their operatio 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 Civil Public Service Centres are supporting civil organisations, so that they meet the administrative requirements, informing these organisations about the available funds and applications, providing practical help and individualised consultation for NGOs (regarding law, issues on public benefit; finance, accounting, taxation; methods and practices in applying for funds, using ICT technology), supporting and encouraging communication and cooperation within the sector and with other sectors as well.' [Civil Public Service Centres (Civil Közösségi Szolgáltató Központok)]
'Hungarian volunteers and the work of those organisations which receive volunteers, by providing information, counselling and training. In addition to these, the foundation also emphasises on promoting the culture of volunteerism and its integration into the national social context through specific activities with individuals, social institutions and enterprises.'
The Civil Unity Forum (Civil Összefogás Fórum) and its partner, the Civil Union Public Benefit Foundation (Civil Összefogás Közhasznú Alapítvány) are also significant actors worth mentioning in relation to the Hungarian civil society.
The head of the Civil Union Public Benefit Foundation (Civil Összefogás Közhasznú Alapítvány) is Mr. László Csizmadia, as the president of the National Cooperation Fund (Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap), is responsible for distributing the state funds to NGOs.
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 different fields of government, civil society and other sectors, the government intends to improve the involvement of the NGOs, churches and economic sector in volunteering management. In addition, the government seeks agreements that establish these long-term partnerships and contribute to the strengthening of common values through the benefits of cooperation.
Voluntary activities at policy level exclusively belong to the Ministry of Human Capacities. The institutional location of intersectoral cooperation on the field is the National Volunteer Council, a consultative body that involves
- government representatives,
- churches and
- for-profit companies.
It also carries out advisory activities for the Minister for Voluntary Policy, and promotes
- the popularity of active citizenship,
- social and community engagement.
As it was previously mentioned, the council is chaired by the state secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for family and youth policy, and the Ministry is represented by the deputy state secreter responsible for youth policy as vice-chair. However, many other relevant policy fields represent themselves in the form of invited members with the right of consultation.
The invited members are the following:
- Two persons appointed by the State Secreter of the Church, Citizenship and Civil Society Relations of the Ministry of Human Capacities (one member responsible for church, one for minorities and civil society).
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for healthcare.
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for education.
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for culture.
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for sport.
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for social issues and inclusion.
- One person appointed by the State Secreter of the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for EU development policy.
- One person appointed by the Minister and Parliament Head of Cabinet of the Ministry of Human Capacities.
- Three persons appointed by the Minister in Charge of the Prime Minister's Office.
- One person appointed by the Minister of Agriculture.
- One person appointed by the Minister for National Economy. [Government Decision no. 1503/2016. (IX. 21.)][1503/2016. (IX. 21.) Korm. határozat]
Moreover, the head of the council may invite other members with the right of consultation if requested by a member or if it is found necessary because of the council’s agenda.