Out of The Box International has been leading the process of writing a policy paper for Youth Volunteering Certification – Youth Voice (YECh) Project as one of the partner organizations co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.
Being aware of the previous studies, projects on validation, certification, recognition of volunteering, the process has been started by sharing policy brief examples, projects and asking three questions to be answered by the partner organizations as follows: “1) What are the main challenges faced during the project on the certificate of volunteer work? 2) When it comes to youth volunteering certification which sector should be more focused? 3) What are the three recommendations that the policy paper must cover taking into consideration that the document will be used for the advocacy at a policy level aiming the main decision-makers and policy-makers at national and European levels?”
The critical question, the critical challenge for such a process is finding the unvoiced, unwritten. Can we be more creative than the other examples and take the attention of the policy makers and making think and activate them for the sake of volunteering through new, freaky, out of the box alternatives? The repetitions also matter; all the processes and endeavors on the development of volunteering in Europe are adding values.
Each partner has sent the answers within a month and the second phase of the process continued by analyzing the answers and start writing the draft doing the best covering all the important issues mentioned in the answers of the partner organizations. The team and the experts of the Out of The Box International have finalized the draft policy paper and share it with the partner organizations to get the final feedbacks in order to be disseminated for the advocacy of the project’s process and output.
The policy paper on certification of volunteering calls for development of a holistic approach proposing five pivotal recommendations. Here are the resumes of these 5 actions.
- The implementation of the 2012 Council Recommendation on the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning is an urgent need.
- Volunteering strengthens and develops people’s skills and competencies and these skills and competencies must be officially valued first and foremost by civic space composed of civil society organizations and networks.
- Volunteering is complementary solutions to the skills gap in Europe, the business sector and employment agencies have to work in close cooperation with civil society organizations.
- Professionals working to support young people in the personal development and career paths and choices should be trained to understand better the value of volunteering for young people.
- Service Learning should be made compulsory in formal education curricula in Europe in order to introduce young people as soon as possible to civil society and volunteering, and the important role that it plays in social cohesion and the creation of inclusive societies.
In Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers are again already on the spot. In many countries potential Covid-19 vaccine is begun testing on volunteers. The way we live changes and all humans will continue to be affected by the heritage of the Covid-19 for years. The volunteering will continue to be one of the journeys of human, European solidarity therefore the policy makers in Europe should more pay attention to the developments on volunteering such as the outputs of YECh.
The final version of the policy brief on certification of volunteering waiting the feedbacks and approval of the partner organizations is on the way.
Some resources on volunteering:
- On the role of volunteering in contributing to economic and social cohesion – 2008
- Volunteering in the European Union – 2010
- Policy Agenda for Volunteering in Europe 2011
- Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning
- The State of the World’s Volunteerism Report – Transforming Governance 2015
- The State of the World’s Volunteerism Report – The Thread that binds Volunteerism and Community Resilience 2018
- Measuring The Impact of Volunteering – Position Paper 2018
- Position paper Validation in the voluntary sector Past, present, and future 2019
- Validation in Volunteering: Policy and Advocacy 2020