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Youth volunteering is an important issue of youth policy in Luxembourg. It is part of the general youth policy strategy and plays an important role in its strategic orientation (2008 Youth Law, 2012 Youth Pact, Youth Pact 2017-2020).
Scope and contents
The 2008 Youth Law is an important reference describing the mission of the National Youth Service on youth volunteering. It outlines the tasks of providing support to young people's volunteering activities, organising voluntary service programmes (Art. 7c) as well as supporting the quality of youth work, promoting non-formal education and ensuring the recognition of experience acquired by young people through voluntary activities (Art. 7i). Procedures concerning youth workers' training (animateurs, aide-animateurs) as well as conditions concerning the recognition of young people's volunteering experiences are regulated by the 2009 grand-ducal regulation (for details see: 2.7 Skills recognition). The Youth Law further states that authorities will enhance volunteering by contributing to the organisations' support (Art. 15,4). Promoting and developing voluntary activities is also one among other objectives outlined in the 2012 Youth Pact, the national youth strategy guiding the government's political action in the field of youth. Under the objective 'promote and develop youth participation' the Youth Pact calls to strengthen all young people's participation in associations and voluntary activities. Under the objective 'better support', it also calls for the financial perpetuation of the Voluntary Guidance Service, a voluntary programme that especially focuses on young people with fewer opportunities (see: National programme for youth volunteering). The Youth Pact 2017-2020 defines the promotion of participation as an important objective. It aims at strengthening participation in formal and non-formal education, by addressing particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities) and fostering the collaboration of different stakeholders in the field of youth participation.
Youth volunteering falls into the competence of the ministry of Education, Children and Youth, which is responsible for the development of strategic orientations and policy programmes. The National Youth Service is the responsible authority for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of youth voluntary programmes on the national level. Several non-public actors also take part in the implementation of youth volunteering:
- The Youth Merit Luxembourg Foundation (Mérite Jeunesse Luxembourg) supports the development of young people (aged 14 to 25 years) according to the principles of the international association The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and annually confers the youth merit award to a group of committed young people.
- The Youth Information Centre (Jugendinfo) is an important nationwide contact point that provides information on youth volunteering and the voluntary service. The centre is run by the National Agency for Youth Information (ANIJ, Agence Nationale pour l'Information des Jeunes)
Furthermore, two agencies address the overall population, and not specifically youth in particular:
- The Voluntary Agency (Agence du Bénévolat A.S.B.L) provides information and guidance in the field of voluntary work. It serves as an interface between volunteers and associations working with volunteers, providing a platform for exchange and training (competence centre) and informing and sensitising the general public to the creation of favourable conditions for volunteering in civil society (resource centre). A large number of associations working with volunteers are members of this coordinating agency.
- The Higher Council for Voluntary Work (Conseil supérieur du Bénévolat) is a national institution that promotes volunteering and acts as an advisory body to the government in the field of voluntary work.
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