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 strategic documents:
- The Strategy for Youth for 2021 – 2028 in the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as the Youth Strategy).
- The Strategy of Civil Society Development in Slovakia till 2020 was adopted in 2012. An essential part of the Strategy is the development of volunteering in Slovakia. There is also a proposal for the new Strategy of Civil Society Development in Slovakia, but it is not approved yet.
- Program of Support for Volunteering and Volunteer Centers from 2013
Youth Strategy 2021 – 2028
The strategic aim for youth volunteering in the Strategy is to increase the involvement of young people in Volunteering in Slovakia and abroad. The Strategy also set up several measures for achieving this aim:
- To improve the quality of work with volunteers by implementing training in volunteer management, providing consultations and advice in this area, and promoting a quality label in work with volunteers;
- To build capacities and strengthen the position and competencies of volunteer centers, youth, and other organizations working with Slovak and foreign volunteers;
- To support campaigns to promote domestic and international Volunteering;
- To support the involvement of disadvantaged youth groups in volunteering in Slovakia and abroad;
- To promote the recognition of youth skills and competencies acquired through Volunteering by the formal and non-formal education system and the labor market;
- Continue to support education and training for volunteering at all levels of education in schools and school educational establishments;
- Annually award the prize for schools implementing education and training of children and youth to volunteer in practice called Engaged School;
- Implement the education of pedagogical and professional staff as well as persons working with youth in the field of education for Volunteering.
- Develop active cooperation between schools, school educational establishments, volunteer centers, and organizations working with volunteers to support the involvement of young people in Volunteering;
- Support financial mechanisms to support the economic sustainability of long-term volunteering programs and volunteer centers and organizations as a critical element of the volunteering infrastructure.
- Use the European Solidarity Corps program in the context of supporting Volunteering in Slovakia and abroad
- To support young people's online Volunteering and create conditions for its quality management.
The Strategy of Civil Society Development in Slovakia till 2020 covered the issue of youth volunteering through the Program of Support for Volunteering and Volunteer Centers from 2013. New Strategy for Civil Society Development in Slovakia was not approwed in 2021, but there are several aims and measures connected with volunteering in the proposal.
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 2021 – 2028 in the Slovak Republic nor the Programme on Support of Volunteering and Volunteering Centres have been revised yet.