2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering
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Main actors involved in the administration and governance of Youth Volunteering
Youth volunteering is not regulated separately from volunteering in general. Host organisations of volunteers, NGOs or public institutions, have a great autonomy in organising voluntary activities, provided that they are following rules established by the Volunteering Law (Legea no. 78/2014 privind reglementarea activitatii de voluntariat în România). The law states the main rights and obligation of volunteers and host organisations, mainly obligations on correct treatment and safety insurance.
There is no governmental authority directly responsible for youth volunteering according to the Volunteering Law.
Beside the Law on Volunteering there is no national policy, programme or strategy dedicated to youth volunteering. The Volunteering Law was initiated by an NGO and assumed in the Parliament by the by a young Member of the Parliament.
Volunteering was part of the Youth Strategy 2015-2020 and the Ministry of Youth and Sports was the governmental authority taking action to inform young people on volunteering. One of the eligible objectives for projects funded by the Ministry is informing on volunteering and promoting it. For decision-making on promoting youth volunteering in the national programmes, the Ministry of Youth and Sports consulted the National Council for Youth (NCFY) created in 2020 as an advisory body composed by 50 representatives of youth civil society organisations. This council includes a committee dedicated to youth volunteering.
Several NGOs have been participating to the grant competition and implementing youth volunteering initiatives with both national and international (mainly European) funding.
General distribution of responsabilities
Concerning the general distribution of responsibilities, the Ministry of Youth and Sports was the main governmental authority responsible for implementing the Volunteering Law provisions as part of the youth policy and, at the local level, the County Departments on Youth and Sports had been supporting the implementation process. The Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities, established in January 2022, and the newly created County Departments for Family and Youth, established in February 2022, are expected to take over responsibilities in promoting youth volunteering, but their strategies and approaches in promoting youth volunteering have not been established before March 2023.
According to the Law, the local public authorities are to include volunteering activities in their local development strategies both for the communities’ development but also to support citizens’ participation to the community life. But there is no monitoring mechanism for these local level initiatives.
The most important non-public actor taking part in the regulation and implementation of youth volunteering is VOLUM Federation- the Federation of Organisations Supporting Volunteering in Romania. This non-state actor promoted the law on volunteering in 2013-2014 and due to their advocacy campaign a young member of the Parliament assumed and promoted the law to the legislature. Although it is not the only non-public actor relevant in the field, VOLUM is the umbrella organisation for all the relevant NGOs working with volunteers and it was the official partner of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in its initiatives to inform young people about volunteering.
Nor the Volunteering Law, neither the Youth Strategy provide for a formal distribution of responsibilities between the top level and local authorities. At top level, the Ministry of Youth and Sports included youth volunteering among the elements that can be funded by its programme (global grants for NGOs) aiming to promote youth work in general. The same can be done by the local authorities, but there is no systematic approach and management of promoting youth volunteering al local level.
Cooperation for the volunteering system
There is no information on cooperation established with volunteering systems of other countries in order to exchange information and identify best practices.
No existing mechanism of cross-sectorial cooperation between Ministries, Departments, Agencies involved in defining policies and measures on youth volunteering are established in Romania.