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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.7 Social inclusion through volunteering

Last update: 27 June 2024


Marginalisation, difficult socio-economic backgrounds, educational poverty, fragile familiar contexts and disability are invisible barriers for youth participation, which risks of becoming a privilege for the few, reproducing existing inequalities and differences in opportunities.

In this regard, promoting good practices of volunteering and active citizenship helps contrasting distress and exclusion among young people with fewer opportunities.

Support to young volunteers

In order to allow every young person to participate in volunteering activities, the Department for Youth Policies and Universal Civic Service provides young volunteers participating in the Universal Civic Service projects (Cf. 2.4) with a monthly allowance. 

Moreover, among the Universal Civic Service projects, some include the measure “fewer opportunities”. This measure reserves some placements for young people with economic difficulties, low schooling, disabilities, temporary personal and social fragility or young care leavers. It is an important opportunity that contributes to making the Universal Civic Service truly universal: an inclusive experience open to all young people aged between 18 and 28, including those coming from the most disadvantaged categories. The application to the placements reserved to young people with fewer opportunities includes, in addition to the standard requirements, a self-certification, drawn up in accordance with articles 46 and 47 of the Presidential Decree 445/2000, proving the young person’s belonging to one of the aforementioned categories, which must be submitted at the time of appointment.

Community building

Through the Universal Civic Service, young volunteers participate in developing and strengthening social cohesion and inclusion in the communities where they carry out their activities. The Universal Civic Service projects (Cf. 2.4) include activities in the sectors of assistance, civil protection, promotion of peace among peoples, nonviolence and unarmed defence, promotion and protection of human rights and development cooperation, thus fostering social cohesion and inclusion.

The development and strengthening of social cohesion and inclusion is a fundamental characteristic also of the Civic Peace Corps, as their activities are aimed at, inter alia, supporting local civil society, humanitarian activities and supporting the civilian population.

Moreover, Italy promotes the participation of young people in existing European volunteering schemes, such as the European Solidarity Corps.

Tackling societal challenges

As mentioned before, both the Universal Civic Service and the Civic Peace Corps include activities aimed at contributing to tackle societal challenges. 

Moreover, every planning and programming activity of the Universal Civic Service includes a context analysis, as required by art. 4 comma 2 of the Legislative Decree 40/2017. The three-years plan 2023-2025 takes into account the national and international context in which the volunteering activities take place, considering the prevailing needs to be addressed and the societal challenges to be tackled. 

Regarding European volunteering programmes, the European Solidarity Corps promotes inclusion, equal opportunities and access. Individual volunteering and Volunteer Teams activities make a significant contribution to the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities. Sending and hosting organisations are responsible for designing accessible and inclusive activities, taking into account the opinions and needs of participants with fewer opportunities. To better support the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities, additional support measures and funding are available, enabling organisations to better accommodate and meet the needs of young people with fewer opportunities.