2.4 Youth volunteering at national level
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Although there is not a full voluntary service program in the country that has completed its financial, administrative and legal infrastructure regarding volunteering, GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform, which aims to lay the groundwork for the necessary institutional collaborations for the development of volunteering, was designed as the prototype study of the national volunteer service program.
“GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform”, which has been carried out nationwide by the Ministry of Youth and Sports since 2015, provides services on the website www.gonulluyuzbiz.gov.tr.
The title of “civil society” was included as a separate title for the first time within the scope of the 11th Development Plan, which covers the years 2019-2023 and regards the development goals of our country in an inclusive way. Within the scope of the 2022 Presidential Annual Program prepared in line with the 11th Development Plan; “Measure 776.1. An inclusive framework arrangement will be made that strengthens the field of civil society and volunteering.” and the Ministry of Interior has been determined as the responsible institution. Based on the measure in question, the current situation of civil society awareness and volunteerism in Turkey and in the world by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Directorate of Civil Society Relations; "The Volunteering Begins at Young Ages Project" was carried out in 2020 in order to disseminate volunteering at young ages with problem areas and solution suggestions in the primary and secondary education curriculum. As a result of the project, an animated short film was made in order to introduce volunteerism and civil society awareness in primary and secondary school children and to create this awareness. The website www.gonullu.siviltoplum.gov.tr has been prepared and opened to access in order to introduce volunteerism and civil society awareness among primary and secondary school children and to create this awareness within the scope of “Volunteering Begins at Young Ages Project”.
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 provided an impetus for the improvement of the existing volunteering system. In addition, the process of preparing a law on volunteering continues under the coordination of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Directorate of Civil Society Relations.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports, which considers that volunteering is one of the most important tools in terms of personal, social and professional development of young people, carries out studies for the establishment of inter-institutional cooperation in this regard. The platform is run on a website where young volunteers and voluntary organizations can find each other. While young volunteers examine the existing volunteering activities in the fields of "Environment, Culture and Tourism, Education, Health and Social Services, Sports, Disaster and Emergency", voluntary organizations can publish announcements on the website for the volunteers with the required qualifications they are looking for. Institutions and organizations seeking volunteers can publish their own volunteer announcements after they become accredited to the site by performing their corporate memberships; Anyone who is an individual member of the site via the e-government system can apply to the up-to-date volunteering announcements.
All public institutions and organizations, foundations and associations, voluntary organizations, municipalities, provincial special administrations, universities, libraries, museums, hospitals, excavation directorates, federations can apply for corporate membership. The site provides its corporate members the chance to use their own volunteer management systems free of charge. According to this, each institution creates volunteer advertisements that they determine their own conditions regarding the volunteering activities they will carry out and sends them to the site administrator. The announcements that are checked for compliance with the volunteer job description are immediately published on the site. Thus, institutions have the chance to announce their volunteering activities to the farthest corner of the country and to reach the volunteers with the characteristics they want more easily.
Anyone who becomes a member of the site by filling out the profile page can apply to all volunteer announcements that are published and meet the conditions. Those who want to volunteer can choose from the options under 6 categories. Volunteers also have the opportunity to see the volunteer announcements instantly and apply for the announcement they want from wherever they are, by means of the mobile application. Volunteers are instantly notified via the system by the short message when their applications are accepted by the official of the institution that owns the announcement.
Volunteering activities that volunteers participate in and evaluation scores made by the advertiser are processed on their own profile pages. Volunteers can use this document, which is a volunteer report card, which they can get on the site, as a reference document in their education, job or scholarship applications.
According to the data of March 2022, there are 3,029 corporate members and 280,174 individual members on the GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform. The annual maintenance, support and additional development service procurement of the site is carried out by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and its costs are covered by the Ministry. In 2020, besides the existing English language support of the Platform, Arabic, Russian and German language support has been added. The domain name of the system, which previously served as the Young Volunteers Platform, was changed to "gonulluyuzbiz.gov.tr" with a corporate decision in the second half of 2021, and the names, icons, and logo names used in the design of the mobile applications were revised accordingly. The number of institutional and individual members of the Platform is increasing with the encouraging works carried out by the Ministry.
In the context of the Target 2030 Strategy, Turkish Red Crescent has implemented the Volunteer Management System - gonulluol.org by aiming to ensure the participation of volunteers in all its processes and to use the active and qualified contributions of its volunteers efficiently. In order to become a volunteer and participate in volunteer activities, people can become Turkish Red Crescent volunteers after registration via the "gonulluol.org" site or mobile application.
"gonulluol.org" is an online volunteering platform. The system also includes the features that will work as a social network for the dissemination of the good deeds done by the volunteers as well as the management of the entire volunteering process. The gonulluol.org system, which will work on the internet and mobile application, becomes the meeting point of those who work for good.
Anyone who likes to help can become a Red Crescent volunteer, but in order to take part in volunteer duties, they must be over the age of 18 to participate in volunteer missions in order to avoid any negative situation that may occur in the field. The system has two user groups: the volunteers and units that will work with volunteers.
The units which want to work with volunteers through the system;
- Will be able to create a call for for duty to volunteers who meet the qualifications they need,
- Be able to plan the trainings they want to give to the volunteers and invite them,
- Create volunteer teams,
- Will be able to share about the volunteering activities he/she carries out,
- Will be able to access reports of all these activities.
The volunteers through the system;
- Being able to register in the system by creating detailed profiles about himself/herself,
- Will be able to receive trainings suitable for the fields he/she wants to work and receive the certificate /participation documents of the trainings through the system,
- Will be able to see all the volunteer calls and apply to those who meet their qualifications and participate in those that are accepted,
- Will be able to obtain the necessary permission documents related to their assignment through the system
- Will be able to view the activity calendar related to his/her volunteer duties,
- Will be able to take part in team tasks by being included in volunteer teams,
- Will be able to share about the volunteering activities he/she carries out,
- Will be able to follow other volunteers or structures working with volunteers,
- Will be able to access the reports of all these activities.
With gonulluol.org, it is aimed to increase volunteering in the society by making volunteering simple and functional, thus increasing the volunteer activities and the social benefit provided to the society.
Also, The Green Crescent; After conducting field research for volunteer management between 2019-2020, it created a new “volunteer management” strategy in 2021. Within the scope of the strategy, which started to be implemented in the field as of December 5, 2021, the volunteer journey of every citizen who applies to volunteer has been designed from end to end; In order to be applicable in the field, content and trainings have been prepared. The prepared strategy was put into practice in 81 provinces through 120 branches of the Green Crescent.
No special budget is allocated to meet the expenditures of the GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform, which is a preliminary study for the National Volunteering Program. Since the Platform is carried out within the General Directorate of Education, Research and Coordination, the expenditures for its sustainability are covered from the budget allocated to the General Directorate. Most of the expenses go to the annual maintenance, support and additional development service of the existing web platform.
280,206 people across the country became individual members of the Platform to participate in volunteering activities. It is seen that 59% of the total volunteers are women. In addition, young volunteers between the ages of 18-25 constitute approximately 63% of the total volunteers. The most engaged voluntary activity fields turn out be education, health and social services, 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.
In addition, The Green Crescent also gets permission on the Illumination Text and the text of the clarification within the scope of the Personal Data Protection Law during its voluntary application and has it signed. In addition, for each event, the Volunteer Agreement and Commitment are signed and archived.
As GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform does not have a complete volunteer service program that has completed its financial, administrative and legal infrastructure regarding volunteering, and it is a website that brings together only people who want to volunteer and institutions and organizations seeking volunteers, it does not have any direct responsibility for the support to be provided to volunteers. Member institutions of the platform are responsible for all legal and financial needs related to their voluntary activities.
In this context, the reimbursement of the expenditures made by the volunteers, their allowances, and other provisions that can be provided to them are specified in the relevant announcement of the voluntary organization. During the application, the volunteer accepts all the conditions determined by the member institution; An undertaking stating the mutual responsibilities of the institution and the volunteer is approved by the parties. Volunteering advertisements are reviewed and accepted by the Ministry in order to avoid abuse of the volunteers and the organization.
The Turkish Red Crescent carries out its work and transactions in its volunteer activities based on the Volunteerism Policy, the Volunteer Management Regulation and the Volunteer Code of Conduct. The units that open tasks through the Volunteer Management System (gonulluol.org); has to clearly state the rights and benefits that can be provided to the volunteer. Although no payment is made to the volunteers for voluntary duties; Volunteers' needs such as accommodation, transportation and meals are met by the units that set up a mission.
For all kinds of situations that may occur in the field activities of the volunteers, the Volunteer Code of Conduct declared before the task is accepted by the volunteer and participation is ensured.
Since there is no protective law on volunteering in our country, volunteering activities are carried out on the basis of in-house legislation in order to protect each of the institutions and volunteer parties, especially disaster and emergency duties.
The GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform has a mechanism which enables it to respond to all the complaints and requests as soon as possible. Thanks to this mechanism, having found out the expectations and grievances of volunteers and volunteer organisations, actions are taken for improvement of the system. Another mechanism for maintaining the quality of the program is a scoring system in which volunteers and voluntary organizations mutually evaluate each other. After each volunteering activity, volunteer organizations and volunteers score each other. These assessments are open to the 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 has been determined as young people in the 14-29 age group. One of the application conditions for individual membership is to be 14 years old and over, as the GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform works integrated with the e-government system. GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform 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 %63 of total number of young volunteers.
Also, young people attending the activities of youth centres turn out to be the most active group in engaging in the GönüllüyüzBİZ Platform.