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Existence of a national strategy
The national strategy on volunteering, which is also addressed to youth, is not contained in an ad hoc document, but is inferable in the dispositions of the Title III of the Legislative Decree 117/2017 of the Third Sector Code where there are identified subjects and methods for the “promotion of the volunteer culture”.
The Universal Civic Service (Legislative Decree 40/17) represents a further step in the strategy of involving young people in activities aimed at the non-armed and non-violent defence of the Homeland, education, peace among peoples, promotion of the founding values of the Republic with particular reference to the fulfilment of the duties of political, economic and social solidarity (see paragraph 2.1).
The Code protects the volunteers from possible cases of exploitation. For example, volunteers shall not work for the organization where they serve as volunteers. In addition, the law requires insurance cover for third party liability as well as a comprehensive medical insurance. Moreover, volunteers cannot be remunerated, but may receive reimbursement for expenses incurred for the activity performed within the limits established in advance by the entity. These provisions do not apply to voluntary operators of the Universal Civic Service, to personnel employed abroad on a voluntary basis in international development cooperation activities, as well as to voluntary mountain rescue and speleological operators.
The Code requires public Administrations to promote the volunteer culture especially among youths, by organizing promotional initiatives in the premises of schools, Universities, and elsewhere, involving volunteer organizations.
To encourage voluntary activities, the volunteer can request work permits, and obtain the certification of the skills and competences acquired. Schools and Universities may recognize the certification as credits for extra work done.
The Universal Civic Service allows young people between 18 and 28 years of age to voluntarily participate in a service project lasting between eight months and a year in different areas of employment at the end of which a certificate of the activities carried out and the skills acquired is issued. The civic service operators receive a monthly fee of about €440.
Schools and universities can recognize these certifications as training credits for students and public administrations can recognize the service provided in the context of job selections.
The Minister of Labour and Social Policy has among his competences the promotion, development and support of activities and projects carried out by third sector organizations, with particular reference to voluntary organizations.
The Department for Youth Policy and the Universal Civic Service is the responsible Authority for volunteering in the framework of the Universal Civic Service.
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