2.3 National strategy on youth volunteering
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There is no independent national strategy on youth volunteering. A strategy for the development of youth volunteering is included in the content of two strategic documents:
The Strategy for Youth for the years 2014 – 2020 in the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as the Youth Strategy) was adopted by the Slovak Government on 23 rd April 2014.
The strategy of Civil Society Development in Slovakia till 2020 was adopted in 2012. An important part of the Strategy is the development of volunteering in Slovakia.
The strategic aims for youth volunteering:
- To involve as many young people representing various groups as possible through creating of diverse volunteering opportunities in reaction to the actual needs of young people and trends in volunteering;
- To ensure sustainable integration of young people in volunteering.
- The other aims of youth volunteering activities are as follows:
- To link volunteering and formal education;
- To support recognition of skills of young people gained through volunteering by the institutions representing formal and non-formal education sectors and the labor market;
- To ensure visibility of volunteering for both, the individuals and the society, and to raise awareness of the value of volunteering;
- To support volunteering of youth people with specific needs;
- To create tools for the support of organisations working with young volunteers, so they are ready to react to the specific needs of young people;
- To create conditions (financial, personnel, organisational) for long-term voluntary programmes engaging young people;
- To support cross-border mobility of young volunteers.
The Youth Strategy emphasizes a need to create measures according to various needs, including the needs of specific groups.
The Strategy of Civil Society Development in Slovakia till 2020 covers the issue of youth volunteering through the Program of Support for Volunteering and Volunteer Centers from 2013.
The Strategy and Program have been implemented through the Action Plans. Currently, there is an Action for the implementation of Strategy for 2019 and 2020, and it is focused on volunteering in two points: the first is legal issues connected with volunteering (also rlevant for youth volunteering) and financial mechanizm for support of long-term volunteering and volunteer centers.
In 2018 Strategy of Education towards Volunteering was adapted. The goal of this strategy is to create prerequisites for the implementation of education for volunteering at all levels of education, to define the objectives and principles of education for volunteering, and to set up measures for its implementation. The strategy and its introduction into practice should help volunteering to become a natural part of the lifestyles of people and communities in Slovakia, and thus connect formal education with real life.
Youth volunteering is a subject to legislation of two acts: Act 406/2011 on volunteering and on amendments of certain acts [Zákon č. 406/2011 Z. z. o dobrovoľníctve a o doplnení niektorých zákonov] and Act 282/2008 on support of youth work and on amendment of act 131/2002 on higher education and on amendment of certain acts as amended [Zákon č. 282/2008 Z. z. o podpore práce s mládežou a o zmene a doplnení zákona č. 131/2002 Z. z. o vysokých školách a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov v znení neskorších predpisov].
Act 406/2011 on volunteering has been adopted by the Slovak National Council and entered into force on 1st December 2011. The Act provides the legal status of volunteers and legal relationships in the delivery of services, activities, and other volunteers’ performances. It defines who is and who is not a volunteer and what is and what is not a voluntary activity. It also provides who may and who must not be a beneficiary of voluntary activities and sending organisations, including their rights and obligations in relation to volunteers and elements of a contract on voluntary service.
Act 282/2008 on the support of youth work has been adopted by the Slovak National Council and entered into force on 1st September 2008. The Act defines (or clarifies) who a youth volunteer is, what is voluntary service in youth work, what elements must be included in a contract on voluntary service, and what obligations are relevant to organise working with volunteers in the field of youth work.
Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic bears responsibility for the implementation, coordination, and monitoring of Youth Strategy. By its resolution 192/2014, the Slovak Government approved the creation of an Interministerial working group for the state policy in the field of youth (further IMGY). The group’s members take an active part in delivering on the Strategy objectives through the particular measures and special-purpose projects and prepare yearly reports on the current state of the Strategy implementation for the above ministry.
The Programme on Support of Volunteering and Volunteering Centres has been created under the auspices of the Governmental Plenipotentiary for the Development of Civil Society (Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic). The Plenipotentiary bears an advisory role for the Slovak Government. It has not been stated in the Programme who bears responsibility for its implementation, coordination, and monitoring.
Neither the Strategy for Youth for the years 2014 – 2020 in the Slovak Republic nor the Programme on Support of Volunteering and Volunteering Centres have been revised yet.