Presentation on theme: "Volunteering : The Way Forward Dominic Verhoeven, Caritas in Belgium."— Presentation transcript:
Volunteering : The Way Forward Dominic Verhoeven, Caritas in Belgium
Content The complex relationship between Volunteering, Society and State Role of the State Recommendations by Caritas Europa
I would have liked to talk as well about: Intrinsic Value Motivations Recruitment Prophetic appeal Economic added value … … but I won’t (well, maybe…)
Volunteering, Society, State (1) Volunteers deserve heartfelt applause, Not only because they perform ‘good works’ and help people But because the help constitute Society (≠State)
Volunteering, Society, State (2) Society = Gemeinschaft (Tönnies): ‘Natural’ relations between people: help, care Complex societies: functional differentiation, yet still: ‘Lifeworld’ governed by face to face relations ‘Unpaid’ voluntary work = Norm, cornerstone for developing the society benchmark for the quality of a society
Volunteering, Society, State (3) We can add from a christian perspective: If God has loved us so dearly, that He sent his Son, then we cannot but respond to His love by loving our Neighbour Hence we have to ‘make our faith work within our community’
Volunteering, Society, State (4) Ergo: ‘Voluntary Commitment’ is an intrinsic duty seen from Christian Faith, As well as a human task for all members of society But what about the State ?
Volunteering, Society, State (5) A complex Society needs the support of the State, providing frameworks and regulations But a State doesn’t need people to function (like man and the Sabbath)
Volunteering, Society, State (6) If volunteering is so much linked with Society why should the State take care? Three dangers: Cf. Concept of Big Society (Cameron) volunteering as an excuse to avoid State intervention Volunteering as producing ‘cheap labour’ Volunteering seen as ‘non-professional’, hence no need for capacity building … and again: low wages…
Role of the State (1) Four main objectives: Public recognition Legal framework Financial framework Empowerment
Role of the State (2) Public Recognition: By Public Authority and Civil Society alike ! It’s such a great contribution we just can’t take it for granted ! Yes, you’re doing a great job ! Thank you ! (You don’t have to be a fool to become a volunteer )
Role of the State (3) Legal Framework: Rights and duties for volunteers Rights and duties for organisations working with volunteers Information and transparancy Costs covered – forfaitory remuneration ? Insurance (You don’t have to ruin yourself by becoming a volunteer )
Role of the State (4) Financial Framework: Because voluntary work is for free, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything New types of voluntary work require a lot of capacities: need for professional capacity building Need for accompanyment of volunteers and organisations (intermediate structures) (You don’t have to give in on quality when becoming a volunteer )
Role of the State (5) Strengthen Empowerment If voluntary work constitutes Society, it should also empower people Support participation of excluded people in voluntary work (proper empowerment and role models)
Caritas Europa Policy Statement Caritas Europa calls upon the European Union as well as upon the Council of Europe, to urge European and national policy makers to acknowledge and support the importance of volunteering for a more humane society of solidarity, and to help volunteering further develop and realize its full potential.
Caritas Europa Recommendations (1) This means first of all to recognize and make visible the role of volunteers and their contribution to society.
Caritas Europa Recommendations (2) It also means that in every country a legal framework should exist that provides basic legal recognition of, and legal protection for volunteers, taking into account the specificity of volunteering while avoiding to impose too many restrictions or too much administrative burden that would hinder volunteering instead of promoting it.
Caritas Europa Recommendations (3) It implies the need to strengthen support structures that offer training and accompaniment for volunteers. The quality and added value of volunteering also depend on the quality of the support that volunteers receive.
Caritas Europa Recommendations (4) Special attention should be given to volunteering initiatives that empower poor and excluded people by taking up a role in society –also giving them the opportunity to volunteer on their turn-, as well as to initiatives that introduce new forms of volunteering and of volunteer exchanges within the European as well as within the global context.
Caritas Europa Recommendations (5) At the same time though, the European Institutions and national political bodies should remain vigilant that volunteering should not be instrumentalised as a form of cheap labour, replacing paid work. Neither should it be instrumentalised to substitute the duties of governments or local authorities in the areas of health care, social services or social work, or in international cooperation.
Strasbourg, 2 – 5 Dec. 2011 Closing event: Reiterate the aforementioned demands and bring them once again to the attention of the European Institutions, both from the European Union and the Council of Europe.