Volunteerism Act – a topic that affects many people
In November 2014, in MOVE.BG, the discussion of “Volunteering in Us” made it clear that the regulatory framework is a topic that is a matter of concern for many volunteer people. That’s why we decided to look for answers to the questions “Is a law about volunteering and what is it?” Maria Petkova , Lale Foundation Director, Luben Panov, program director of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Lilia Elenkova, former chairman of the National Youth Forum, as well as representatives of volunteer organizations, took part in the discussion .
The meaning of a law on volunteering
Maria Petkova – Director of the Tulip Foundation
“The purpose of a law on volunteering is to regulate the relationships between volunteers, organizations and countries in need of their work by defining their rights, responsibilities and security,” said Maria Petkova. “The professional and social skills developed by volunteers , to be shown to potential employers in order to support employment, especially for young people “.
Luben Panov – Program Director of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Lyuben Panov from BCNL stressed that the draft law in its present form regulates only organized volunteering and does not hinder spontaneous voluntary acts. According to him, however, business corporations should be excluded as volunteer organizations and only volunteerism organized by non-governmental organizations, state institutions and international organizations should be regulated. It is also necessary to change the order of registration and to include only long-term volunteers in a register.
Liliya Elenkova – former chairman of the National Youth Forum
Lilia Elenkova was categorical that it is high time that the laws in Bulgaria were created after their impact assessment and that there is a need for long-term and lasting policies to stimulate and support volunteering activities and to create a voluntary work culture for young people. According to the NMF, a law is necessary, but it is important that it reflects the interests of all participants and avoids narrow focus on particular groups – it will only be recognized by all stakeholders.
Lyuben Panov said that according to NSI data there are currently over 80 000 volunteers in NGOs in Bulgaria, which is small compared to the population of our country. Maria Petkova added the picture with European statistics, according to which there are about 100 million volunteers in the European Union a year. Their economic impact is significant because their work represents about 3% of EU GDP, and each euro invested in volunteering is returning EUR 5 to the respective national budgets.