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There is a nationwide programme conducted by Ministry of Youth and Sports called “Genç Gönüllüler-Young Volunteers”. This programme has been in use since 2016. Programme operates through a web platform called (www.gencgonulluler.gov.tr).
After the adoption of new governemental system, with the issuing of Presidential Decree 1 dated 10/07/2018, the enhancing of the volunteering activities and developing civil consciousness on volunteering among youngsters have been specified as the task of Ministry of Youth and Sports. This legal basis has provided an impetus for the betterment of existing National Programme. Also, there is an ongoing process for preparing a statue law dedicated to volunteering.
Top-level authority for the implementation and coordination of the National Programme ise the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This programme operates through a web platform whereby young volunteers and voluntary organization can find each other. Young volunteers can make a search for available volunteering activities in the areas of “Environment, Culture and Tourism, Training, Social and Health Services, Sports and Disaster and Emergency situations, in turn voluntary organizations put an announcement on the website for engaging volunteers. Volunteers need to be registered before making a search for voluntary activities as well as the voluntary organization should be registered before announcing a voluntary position. The programme is not limited to voluntary activities in Turkey, but it covers announcements and volunteers across the world. Not every soi-disant voluntary organization is permitted to be registered, in order to protect the volunteers being abused for illegal ends the volunteering organizations which are permitted to put announcements are of public interest and official/semi official organizations. Announcements of corporate members (voluntary organisations) should be approved by the Ministry before it takes effect. Announcement requests of corporate members are evaluated with a view to the description of the voluntary work and the report card of voluntary organisation, based on its achievements in engaging volunteers. Thanks to these mutual evaluations, the Ministry maintains the quality assurance process.
Individual members (volunteers) apply for the best volunteering choice announced on the website via therin account on the website. Website has a mobile application and it helps young volunteers be informed about announcements almost immediately. When their application is accepted, they receive a notification via sms.
At the end of voluntary activities, voluntary organization rate the volunteer’s performance, in turn volunteer can evaluate the voluntary activity. As a result, a volunteering report comes into open revealing the volunteering experience and grades of volunteers.
According to 2018 data, National Programme keeps 1828 corporate members and 94634 individual members. The programme functions effectively with its existing members, however it is lacking in appealing to more members. The maintenance of the Programme is carried out by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and its expenses are afforded by the Ministry as well. The Ministry has not a specific quantitative target concerning the number of volunteers, however increasing number of volunteers year by year can be observed and it is encouraged.
Besides the reference made in the 190 th article of the Presidential Decree 1 dated 10/07/2018, volunteering is mentioned in various laws, regulations and other legislation documents. Some of the laws which includes volunteering are given below:
1) Special Provincial Administration Law, Voluntary Participation in the Services of Special Provincial Administration, Article 65
2) Municipal Law, Parish of a county and its administration, Article 9 ; Voluntary participation in municipal service Article 77
3) Environmental Law, Definitions, Environmental Volunteer
4) Law on Disabled People, General Principles, Article 4
5) National Afforestation and Erosion Control Mobilization Law, Application, Article 4
6) Health Services Fundamental Law, Main Principles, Article 3, Article 4
7) National Education Fundamental Law, Education Everywhere, Article 17 ; Coordination, Article 42, Constructing and Equipping Primary Schools, Article 75
No specific budget is allocated to cover the expenditures of National Programme for Volunteering. Since National Voluntary Programme is conducted in the body of General Directorate of Education, Research and Coordination, the expenditures for sustaining the National Programme for Volunteering are covered from the budget allocated to abovementioned General Directorate. The larger portion of expenses go to the maintenance of existing web platform.
In existing situation, 94.634 young volunteers across Turkey turn out to have been engaged in voluntary activities at least once. %62,5 of total volunteers have proven to be female. In addition, young volunteers between 18-25 accounts for the %85 of the total young volunteers. The most engaged voluntary activity fields turn out be education, culture and tourism, health and social services, sports, environment and disaster and emergency situations respectively. Within existing circumstances there is no any legal definition to support a specific voluntary group. The educational and family background of volunteers or therin socio-economic status are diverse so that no specific group can be pointed out as more volunteering than others.
National Programme does not prescribe any condition concerning what is to provided to volunteers. Reimbursement of incurred expenses of volunteers, their per diem, other provisions which can be provided to them are set down within the announcement of voluntary organisation. During the application, volunteer accepts the conditions laid down by the organisation and a commitment letter indicating the mutual responsibilities of the organisation and volunteer is signed between the parts. The announcements are superintended by the Ministry in order not to leave a room for abuse of volunteers and organisation.
The National Programme has a mechanism which enables it to respond to all the complaints and requests in 24 hour. Thanks to this mechanism, having found out the expectations and grievances of volunteers and volunteer organisations, actions are taken for improvement of the system. An other mechanism to sustain the quality of programme consists in the mutual ratings of volunteers and voluntary organisations for each other. Subsequent to each volunteering activity, volunteer organisastions and volunteers grade each other. These ratings are open to general public. As a consequence of quite poor results, voluntary organisastions and volunteers may face exclusion from the system. Besides, every year software infrostructure of the system is updated and developed so as to provide a closer monitoring capability and more and detailed statistics.
The target audience of the National Youth and Sports Policy Document is determined as the young people in 14-29 age group. Within the framework of the National Programme for youth volunteering (www.gencgonulluler.gov.tr), one of the criteria to volunteer at is being 14 years old or older. National Programme has a global approach with respect to youth volunteering, so it embraces all the young volunteers and it has not any specific emphasis on a distinct group of youth. With the expected promotion of National Programme among youngsters, it is foreseen that certain groups of youngsters (with a view to education, employment, social inclusion) can be identified and targeted to engage in voluntary activites. Young volunteers are mostly high school and university students, this accounts for the %85 of total number of young volunteers. The teachers, accounting for %4,3 of total number of young volunteers, is the largest volunteering group among professionals.
Also, young people attending the activities of youth centres turn out to be the most active group in engaging in the National Volunteering Programme