2.4 Youth volunteering at national level
On this page
On this page
There is not a single National Programme for Youth Volunteering in Slovakia. The topic of youth volunteering has been included in the content of the Youth Strategy 2021 – 2028 and Programme on Support of Volunteering and Volunteering Centres (2013).
The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic provides specific financial support to youth work development through the Programmes for Youth. Being one of the key topics of the Youth Strategy 2014 – 2020, youth volunteering has also become one of the Programmes’ objectives. Yearly financial allocation for the Programmes, reserved to support the entire Programmes’ goals, including youth volunteering, represents 2.3 million Euro in 2019 and 3,2 million Euro in 2020 and the same amount in 2021.
The specific subprogram within the Programmes for Youth supporting the development of volunteering at the national and regional level is called „Service for Youth in Volunteering“. In 2021 according to the final protocols wihtin the subprogram, the amount 325.300 Eur was allocated for organizations developing youth volunteering. Part of financial allocation within the programme „Support of Youth Organisations“ was also given and targeted at the support of volunteering as well as education towards volunteering (volunteering is a natural part of youth work in youth organisations). Other financial sources for youth volunteering support are represented by the Erasmus+ program, European Solidarity Corps, private foundations, and donors.
There are no official statistics on youth volunteering in Slovakia. Slovak Statistics Office gathers the data on volunteers every year, but with no reference to their ages. Thus the only information source provides the representative research from 2017 focused primarily on youth volunteering (Brozmanová, Siekelová, Šolcová, 2018), and the latest research on participation in civil society in Slovakia conducted in 2019 as a part of the National project “Better public policies thanks to the better understanding of civil society“ which also focused partly on youth volunteering (Čavojská, Feherpataky-Kuzmová, Fishbone Vlčková, 2020).
Compared to 2011, the participation of young people has increased in formal as well as informal volunteering. Over the last 12 months, according to the representative research in 2019, 36.0% percent of young people have been involved in formal volunteering, and 70.0% have been providing help to neighbors or friends (informal volunteering). (Čavojská, Feherpataky-Kuzmová, Fishbone Vlčková, 2020). Young people who are active in formal volunteering are also active in informal volunteering and vice versa.
7.0 percent of young people were involved in formal volunteering a minimum once a week, 8.0 percent participated once or two times for a month, and 22% less than once for a month. 52.0 were not involved. (Čavojská, Feherpataky-Kuzmová, Fishbone Vlčková, 2020)
The largest areas in which young people volunteer are the environment, sport, health, social services and children and youth organizations. More than half of youth volunteer assistance is provided by non-governmental, non-profit organizations, 12.2% are engaged in volunteer activities within schools.
The most frequent activities carried out in volunteering are the organization and coordination of leisure activities for children, youth, senior citizens, clients in social services facilities, organizing or assisting in the realization of activities or events (e.g. promotion of the organization, its mission, selected topic) and activities related to the preservation, protection and the restoration of the environment, animal welfare and wildlife protection. Youth volunteering is differentiated in terms of education, socio-economic position, housing and membership. Formal volunteering significantly involves more young people with a university education, from towns, secondary and tertiary school students, and members of organizations. Informal volunteering involves mainly young people with higher education, and members of organizations. The older the young volunteer, the length and frequency of volunteer activities increases. (Brozmanová, Siekelová, Šolcová, 2018),
In the sources of information on volunteer opportunities, direct resources predominate. The most common form of getting information about volunteer opportunities is information from people with whom a young person is in close contact, i.e. friends, family, acquaintances, and relatives. For young people involved in volunteering, teachers were the source of information on the possibility of volunteering in 16 percent of cases. (Brozmanová, Siekelová, Šolcová, 2018),
Young people are motivated to volunteer for altruistic, egotistic, and normative motives, with no significant differences between them. The most important barriers to engage young people in volunteering are lack of time, lack of information, and non-requests for help. (Brozmanová, Siekelová, Šolcová, 2018),
Young people aged 30 years or less have been defined as a target group by official documents related to youth volunteering in Slovakia (Strategy for Youth for the years 2014 – 2020 in the Slovak Republic). Volunteering of young people with specific needs has been mentioned in the provisions of the aforementioned Strategy, but only as “worth to support”, with no particular measures included. Specifications for the term´young people with specific needs´ also have not been defined (or clarified) in the Strategy itself, but it is mentioned in the Programmes for Youth (Programy pre mládež) supporting youth work and youth volunteering as follows: ´ young people with fewer opportunities (mládež s nedostatkom príležitostí) are those young people who for various reasons do not have equal conditions for their personal development in comparison to most children and youth in the society. The lack of opportunities can be caused by educational, social, cultural, health, economic or geographic disadvantage or other form discrimination.´