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The the National Programme for Youth Volunteering (Order on Description of the Organization of the Youth Voluntary Service) defines the principles of organization of youth volunteering in Lithuania, its implementation organization of their work and financing of volunteering activities. The goals within the National youth policy development program for 2011-2019 program also determines the importance of voluntarism and sets up the goal of creation the conditions in order to implement the volunteering activities. In addition, The Plan of Measures for the Implementation of the National Youth Policy Development Programme points out the measures, how, when and who has to implement the goal. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour together with relevant ministries, ministry departments and the Department of Youth Affairs is implementing the National youth policy development program for 2011-2019 through Action Plan for the periods of 2014-2016 which has the objective 4.2. „to encourage young people to actively participate in the local community, non-governmental organizations and voluntary activities”. This objective is implemented through action 4.2.1. - „the implementation of sports programs and projects aimed at children and young people and action”; and action 4.2.2. – „the development of young people and local communities in partnership, taking into account the concerns of young people, the needs and involvement of young people in the local communities in problem solving processes. There is no available data on youth participation in the Youth volunteering program’s activities
The volunteers of Youth Volunteer Service - Discover Yourself project implemented by the Department of Youth Affairs and the Lithuanian Labour Exchange may receive funding for food, accommodation and travel plus a single compensation for complimentary stationery. Volunteering organisers might receive funding for the development of volunteering activities from the following sources: the national budget through projects, EU funding, donors, support from charities, membership fees, charges for services provided, and 2% of income tax.
There is no official statistics collected on youth volunteering within or outside of the program’s measures. Hence, it is difficult to capture trends, effects on specific target groups and main fields where activities take place. Some information is available on the website of the Department of Youth Affairs which presents available information and data and statistics on volunteering. Some data on volunteering in municipalities is collected by the Department of Youth Affairs on short-term (up to 3 months) or long term volunteering but this data is not very reliable due to data collection issues.
There are special provisions mentioned in the Law of Volunteering concerning legal obligations of both an organization and a volunteer. However, there are no support measures for young volunteers beyond the level of individual organization. Despite that, the majority of voluntary organizations provide support and training to young volunteers themselves. These organizations provide volunteers with the advice and knowledge that would ensure a successful outcome to their voluntary work. Volunteer support (mentoring, training etc.) is mostly conducted by more experienced or former members of voluntary organizations. Support is highly dependent on resources available to the individual organization. Some organizations measure the effectiveness of their support using questionnaires, having discussions, and observing volunteer work. Larger organizations have well developed training and support plans.
The Department of Youth Affairs issues a national certificate of the volunteer activities coordinated or implemented by the department itself (see these guidelines). The Department also aims to include volunteering experience into the youth pass - a European recognition tool for non-formal and informal learning in youth work. Some volunteer organizations have their own standards of quality and quality regulations (e.g. Agency of International Youth Cooperation guidelines on volunteer services). The standards of quality and self-evaluation activities are included into the framework of the Youth Volunteer Service - Discover Yourself project implemented by the Department of Youth Affairs and the Lithuanian Labour Exchange. Moreover, examples of good practice exist: e.g. the Regulations of Volunteer Activities in Šilale Municipality have been approved in 2015 where standard procedures of volunteer activities are described (including formal recognition of volunteer work). This document is aimed at improving standard of quality of volunteering in municipality.
Order Approval of the description of the accreditation procedure for youth volunteer organizationshas been adopted in 2019 by the Department of Youth. Applicant organizations can receive 3-year accreditation or re-accreditation for 2 years. Organizations that have been accredited in the Youth Voluntary Service or Discover Yourself projects can apply for re-accreditation. The updated accreditation procedure provides for the development of all organizations, therefore each organization will receive recommendations for the improvement of its activities upon application and meeting with the expert, regardless of the final decision of the expert. In this way, the aim is for youth volunteer hosting organizations to be innovative and responsive to the changing needs of young people.
Accreditation of a youth volunteer host organization consists of 3 stages:
1. Application Submission - Organizations seeking accreditation or re-accreditation must complete an application that provides information about the organization, its activities, and its plans. If the organization intends to host volunteers at more than one location, the application must include all mentors working with the volunteers in the units.
2. Evaluation of the application and meeting - the application of the organization is evaluated by the staff of the Department of Youth Affairs and external experts who meet with the representatives of the organization.
3. Decision and recommendations - After the meeting with the organization, the experts make a decision on accreditation based on the information provided in the application of the organization and during the meeting and prepare recommendations for further development of the organization.
If an organization has already been accredited through a Youth Voluntary Service or Discover Yourself project, it can apply for re-accreditation. During re-accreditation, the organization will also have to submit an application, a meeting with experts will take place, and the organization will receive expert recommendations.
If an organization is already accredited to host volunteers under European Voluntary Service or European Solidarity Corps programs, it may apply for simplified accreditation. During the simplified accreditation, the organization must also submit an application, together with details of the current accreditation, and confirmation that it is familiar with the requirements of the Youth Voluntary Service.
Organizations that will not be granted accreditation will be able to re-apply for accreditation or re-accreditation after the implementation of the recommendations provided by experts after no earlier than 1 month.
If an accredited volunteer-hosting organization wishes to expand its activities to include additional units , it should provide request. Representatives of the unit will also have a meeting with accreditation experts and receive their recommendations.
If there is a change of volunteer tutor within the organization, the organization should submit a free-form request to the Department stating the contact details of the new tutor, the reason for the need to include a new tutor and other information related to the request.
An organization seeking to accept more volunteers from the program submits a free-form application to the Departmental specialist stating the number of volunteers to be accepted. The application is accompanied by a completed description of the quality and supervision procedure for the implementation of the Youth Voluntary Service (No. 2V-164 (1.4) of 4 September 2020) Annex 1, which provides detailed activity plans for a typical volunteer week, with as many plans as the volunteer organization has indicated in the application for acceptance.
Lithuanian youth policy is aimed to be inclusive. The National Program on Youth Volunteering aims to include any young person willing to volunteer (see also: Order on Description of the Organization of the Youth Voluntary Service). The only target group defined in supporting guidelines on long-term (3-4 month long) volunteering is the group of 15-29 year old persons not in education and not in employment. Moreover, Lithuanian Agency of International Youth Cooperation provides possibilities for 17-30 year old persons for short-term volunteering (from 14 to 12 months) in sectors of education, social integration, health care, charity, reception of migrants and refugees, environmental protection and prevention of natural disaster. Short-term volunteering is available to all youth.