2. Voluntary Activities
In Portugal Law no. 71/98 provides the legal framework for volunteering, aiming to promote and ensure all citizens the participation in volunteering activities. This law defines volunteering as the ‘set of actions of social and community interest carried out unselfishly [...], within the framework of non-profit projects, programmes and other forms of assistance to individuals, families and the community [...]’.
The tutelage of volunteering is under the purview of the Ministry of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security and in 2017 competencies for the implemetation of policies in the area of volunteering were assigned to CASES – Cooperativa António Sérgio para a Economia Social, CIPRL. On the other hand, the promotion of youth volunteering has been an inherent objective of youth policy, as a tool that provides young people opportunities of civic and community intervention, which contribute to the acquisition of new skills in a non-formal manner. With that in mind, the Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth (IPDJ) under the guidance of the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports, created a National Youth Volunteering Programme, named Now Us (Agora Nós), which foresees the implementation of short-term or long-term youth volunteering projects. For their contemporaneity and dimension, the following long-term initiatives stand out: Youth Volunteering 70JÁ - Young People Rights, Messages and Company (Recados e Companhia), for the promotion of solidarity and intergenerational dialogue; Dating with Fair Play (Namorar com Fair Play), for the prevention of abuse in dating and Generation Z (Geração Z). In 2017, by Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 166/2017, the programme Young Volunteering for Forests was reinstated (it had been active between 2004-2010). Renamed Youth Volunteering for Nature and Forests VJNF – Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e Florestas)this programme aims to bring awareness on natural and forest resources preservation and to prevent and minimize forest fires in the country (see section 2.5).
At the transnational level, the European Solidarity Corps Programme takes on particular importance in the national panorama, providing unique and outstanding experiences to young people.