2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering
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Youth Volunteering in the Republic of North Macedonia is not strictly regulated. There is a Law on Volunteering but it’s general and it doesn’t emphasize youth as a target group. Three local municipalities from Tetovo, Bitola and Kavadarci in cooperation with the non-governmental sector, have adopted Local Strategies on Volunteerism 2015-2018. The processes of adopting Local Strategies on Volunteerism, were initiated by the civil society sector (Youth Cultural Center- Bitola) and funded by international foundations. Local Strategies expired at the end of 2018 and they were not renewed. The previous Local Strategies aimed to provide sustainable development, promotion and strengthening of volunteerism at local level. They also provided analysis and detailed action plans, adopted measures for all key stakeholders. However, they didn’t delegate key staff on monitoring and evaluation of the implementation. Main responsibility for implementation of the Local Strategies remained on Local Self-Governments.
In October 2018 in the municipality of Bitola a Local Volunteering Council (Локален совет за волонтерство) was established. The Volunteering Council consists of 9 members and it was established in order to work on increasing the number of youth participation in the local community through volunteering and to work on the recognition of volunteer work at the local level. Even though the Local Strategies on Volunteerism already expired, the Local Volunteering Council is still active in the Municipality of Bitola.
Volunteering as a subject in the Republic of North Macedonia has a general focus and the Government does not target young people with tailor-made approaches, thus all legal documents are based on equal inclusive opportunities, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social status, age and does not target specifically young people. Therefore, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is responsible for volunteerism in general, not the Agency of Youth and Sport. However, all legal bindings connected with young people and volunteering are exclusive and provide greater focus on young people and their process of development.
In May 2021, at the initiative of several civil society organizations, with the support of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, an initiative was launched to amend the Law on Volunteering in the Republic of North Macedonia. In June 2021, a draft Law for amending the Law on Volunteering was published on the ENER platform (Unique Electronic Registry of Regulations of the Republic of North Macedonia).
Nationwide, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is responsible for youth volunteering. In September 2021, a new Strategy for Promotion and Development of Volunteering 2021-2025 (Стратегија за промовирање и развој на волонтерството (2021-2025) и Акциски план за спроведување на Стратегијата за промовирање и развој на волонтерството) was adopted and based on it, the policies for volunteering in North Macedonia are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
In direction of the fulfillment of the institutional support in the process of volunteering, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy formed National Council for Volunteering Development (Национален совет за развој на волонтерството) where 9 representatives were nominated from, The Ministry for Labor and Social Policy, Ministry for Education and Science, Agency of Youth and Sport, the General Secretariat – department for cooperation with non-governmental organizations, Association of Local Self – Government and 4 representatives of the Civil sector. But since the mandate of the Council has expired (in 2017), it does not currently function.
Ministry for Education and Science initiated the opening of the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility that has the leading role in providing international volunteering opportunities for youngsters from North Macedonia and volunteering assignments in N. Macedonia for young citizens from EU member states, with its sub programs adopted by European Commission. The Law on establishing the National Agency for European Education Programmes and Mobility (Закон за основање на Национална агенција за европски образовни програми и мобилност) was adopted in 2007.
Non-state actors such as civil society organizations and non-formal groups, mainly have the role of initiators and contributors towards implementing the measures set by the government. Civil society organizations are the main organizers of voluntary jobs. Given that volunteers work for a common good and not for someone's own interest, business organizations must not conclude voluntary agreements.