2.7 Social inclusion through volunteering
With the adoption of the Law on Volunteering (Закон за волонтерство), North Macedonia fit into the positive european practices and adopted the recommendations that were made by the international organizations. According to the overall ethos of the Law on Volunteering in North Macedonia, as a top-level policy is that everyone can be a volunteer, whether that is a person who is a citizen of North Macedonia or a foreigner, or even a minor, which means that there are not minimal requirements for a person to become a volunteer. A foreigner can volunteer in North Macedonia with previously secured consent from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and with previously obtained residence in North Macedonia.
Persons who are volunteering in North Macedonia have the right to support regarding the compensation for the pre-agreed costs associated with volunteering (food expenses, transportation expenses to and from the place of volunteering, business travel expenses and training costs). The foreigners who are volunteering in the country have the right to the above mentioned support whereas the volunteering organisation is obliged to cover their costs for accommodation, health insurance and round trip expenses.
The challenges that are evident in North Macedonia is that the institutions, both at local and national level are not investing enough resources to promote and further develop volunteering among the youth. As a form of support is the strategic goal provided in the National Youth Strategy regarding development on youth activism which includes complementary measures presupposing and encouraging volunteering. (Национална стратегија за волонтерство). What additionally arises as a challenge is the lack of volunteer programs and the lack of resources among the CSOs to involve and mobilize a larger number of people. Although they are the ones who nurture the spirit of volunteerism and a high percentage of them (81%) include volunteers, they are micro organizations and have low income.
According to the Action Plan for Implementing the Strategy for Promotion and Development of Volunteering 2021-2025, through its goal “establishing a system of institutional support for volunteering” aims to provide social cohesion and inclusion of young people and system for support of voluntary programs and projects at both national and local level, and the already existing programmes (e.g. the European Solidarity Network). Through its four goals in the Strategy, that are composed of promoting volunteering to the general public, encouraging a culture of volunteering within the educational system, increasing the level of volunteering in the civil sector and establishing a system of institutional support for volunteering, are going to ensure, in the following period constant development, promotion and strengthening of the volunteering engagement and its culture of volunteering in North Macedonia.
There are no top-level policy measures, initiatives, or programmes supporting young volunteers to engage in projects that contribute to solving societal challenges.