Two Conferences, held in Budapest, marked start of the European Year of Volunteering. Many events, exhibitions, live demonstrations and other activities will be taking place throughout Europe during the year. Hungary took over presidency of the European Union, and that was the opportunity to promote this important campaign.
The European Year of Volunteering aims to encourage more people to get involved by:
- making it easier to volunteer
- rewarding volunteers, for example by formally recognising the skills they acquire in the course of their work
- improving the quality of volunteering by providing training and matching volunteers to suitable vacancies
- raising awareness of the value of volunteering.
WOSM and WAGGGS are members of the EYV 2011 Alliance, a cluster of 33 European volunteering networks founded in 2007. We are proud to say that WOSM was in forefront of the organisations that initiated the idea of the European Year of Volunteering.
The kick-off of the EYV Alliance work took place in Budapest on 7th-8th January 2011. The Alliance's 6 working groups work on the topics of quality volunteering, legal framework of volunteering, recognition of volunteering, volunteering infrastructure, value of volunteering, and employee volunteering. It was the first of five meetings planned in 2011. Around 100 working group members coming from EYV 2011 Alliance member organisations will commonly develop and debate a policy agenda for volunteering in the EU. Final aim of the Alliance Working Groups is to contribute to producing the European Policy Agenda on Volunteering to be presented by the EYV2011 Alliance at the EYV2011 European Commission closing conference in Poland in December 2011.
On 8th January, the European Union organised their first Thematic Conference for the European Year of Volunteering "Recognising the contribution of volunteering to economy, society and the individual - where are we now, and where do we want to go?". Besides participants in the Alliance kick-off conference, numerous representatives of the EU member states, including coordinators of national campaigns, joined this Conference. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, made the keynote speech, followed by speeches from Mr Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Ms Flavia Pansieri, Executive director of the United Nations Volunteers, Ms Marian Harkin MEP and Ms Gabriella Civico, Project Manager for the EYV 2011 Alliance.
WOSM and WAGGGS in Europe work very well together on the European Year of Volunteering. Scouts and Guides are well represented in the Alliance Working Groups. Our representatives were competent, prepared and fully involved in the work..