2.3 National strategy on youth volunteering
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Although there is no national strategy on youth volunteering, in Portugal, for the past 16 years, the IPDJ, I.P., and private non-profit organisations have carried out a constant work to promote youth volunteering as a way of contributing to the acquisition of skills and intervention in the community.
In 2013, the first National Volunteering Plan – 2013-2015 (not specifically targeting youth) was created, being established by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 29/2013. This Plan was a strategy to implement voluntary service and, although not referring exclusively to youth volunteering, it also provided measures affecting youth.
The Plan was structured in three axes:
Priority 1 – Raising awareness and publicizing - Making society commit to volunteering, promoting the fundamental values of volunteering and the participation of all citizens. It equally intends to acknowledge how indispensable the dissemination of information and knowledge regarding volunteering is, as well as debate and publicise good practices instituted.
Priority 2 – Promoting and training - Considering the State responsible for a transversal strategy that involves the different Ministries, according to strategic guidelines for action and innovation that lead to the involvement of State bodies in volunteering.
Priority 3 – Acting and developing - Supporting the modernisation of the social sector and contributing to the facilitation of the performance of its duties, through the growth and consolidation of the volunteering field; improving the quality and management of institutions and volunteers.
For each of these axes, a set of 13 intervention measures were implemented, properly scheduled and with the involved entities identified.
In July 2017, when CASES received the competencies for the prosecution of policies in the area of volunteering, a set of measures to support volunteering was presented, aiming to contribute to the consolidation, expansion and qualification of voluntary work:
- an online platform, whose management is CASES’s responsibility. Besides being a flexible help in the gathering of those who want to develop a voluntary action and the organisations that promote them, it provides all necessary information for the voluntary activity, such as the legal framework, the responses and current insurance products and available endorsements;
a financial support for organisations that promote long term voluntary actions, in the social area, that develop long run voluntary actions in the field of social action, to deal with expenses that may come from the personal accident and liability insurance of the volunteers they receive.
- a financing line for training actions and awareness-raising in the area of volunteering, for qualification of voluntary work, namely capacity-building of the volunteers and of the entities that promote voluntary actions.
Although these measures are not entirely to support young people volunteering, it is sure that this back up mechanism may become a consolidating and promoting tool for young volunteering.
Also in the context of the National Youth Plan (Plano Nacional para a Juventude), youth volunteering has two strategic goals (SG):
1. SG 1: to promote youth volunteering practices on the preservation of forests, ecosystems and nature (key subject: Environment and Sustainable Development). Youth Volunteering for Nature and Forests is the instrument to bring it about.
2. SG 2: to increase civic and political participation of young people mainly through support given to the associative movement and volunteering and investment on political literacy (key subject: Governance and Participation). Now Us, 70NOW! and International Work Camps (Campos de Trabalho Internacional) are the instruments to bring it about.