AEGEE-Europe enthusiastically welcomes the decision of the Council of Europe (CoE) to include volunteers’ time in the grants that they are opened to youth organisations through the European Youth Foundation, bringing into reality the concept of volunteers time recognition (VTR). The CoE specifies VTR is “a contribution people provide of their own free will to invest time and service for the benefit of a youth activity implemented by a non-profit-making youth-led organisation, and for which there is no monetary or in-kind payment (e.g. fees, salaries)”.
Y vote 2014 volunteers working in implementation of the project.
Co-funding is usually a big issue for youth organisations, and being able to give economical value to volunteers time and contribution can be considered as a positive sign that we are moving towards a fair and better treatment of volunteers. Therefore, we would like to thank the efforts of all the actors involved in the process that has lead to the adoption of this measure, specially the Advisory Council on Youth and the European Youth Forum.
Unfortunately, volunteering remains little recognised despite its benefits on the individuals as well as on the society. In its position paper on recognition of Volunteering, AEGEE-Europe is asking for greater efforts from decision-makers as well as Educational centres, to give more credit and recognition to the figure of volunteers and provide flexibility to make volunteering compatible with studies.
In spite of being only a trial phase of two years, this initiative from the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe is a big step forward; a recognition of the contribution of volunteers with their time will drastically help Youth Organisations when preparing their grant applications. It will also give more opportunities to small youth NGOs to apply for these grants, if they are allowed to complete the co-financing requirements with the VTR. Moreover, it will also prompt youth organisations to measure the actual impact of volunteers work on a project, not only in terms of time, but also in terms of social impact.
AEGEE-Europe expects that the European Youth Foundation’s decision will set an example for other institutions, such as the European Union, to also consider implementing co-funding with VTR within the EU grants.