proMENTE AVSO research - impact of youth voluntary service in Europe


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1. Shaping policy for voluntary service through research The impact of long-term youth voluntary service in Europe Steve Powell & Esad Bratović proMENTE social…
  • 1. Shaping policy for voluntary service through research The impact of long-term youth voluntary service in Europe Steve Powell & Esad Bratović proMENTE social research, Sarajevo
  • 2. In the headlines Lifelong learning Intercultural competence Compulsory service? Can volunteers fill more gaps in social services? Social cohesion Social inclusion Social capital European citizenship
  • 3. Why research the impact of youth voluntary service? <ul><li>Reason 1: voluntary service is increasing in popularity </li></ul><ul><li>Reason 2: feed into hot debates on youth policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary or compulsory service? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should volunteers play a major role in provision of social services? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reason 3: help to improve quality </li></ul><ul><li>Reason 4: check claims </li></ul><ul><li>Reason 5: how to use the voluntary service toolbox </li></ul>
  • 4. Vision Golden rules for „matchmaking“ volunteers to placements Voluntary service makes young people more tolerant than language study or gap years 5 out of 10 inter-cultural leaders were volunteers Girls benefit more from voluntary service than boys: what to do about it Voluntary service worth 4 Billion EUR in EU Social scientists agree that voluntary service is proven to produce more mature, tolerant young people EU adopts proven EVS model to encourage inter-religious dialogue in inner cities
  • 5. Definitions <ul><li>Voluntarism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>freely chosen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unpaid or only for expenses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>structured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>benefits strangers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voluntary service : a special form of voluntarism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>+ intense (time-limited & full-time) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Youth voluntary service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>+ youths: older than 15 - 18 and younger than 25 - 30 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+ non-skilled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+ focus on personal growth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Impact studies … </li></ul><ul><li>… on long-term service… </li></ul><ul><li>… in Europe </li></ul>
  • 6. The spirit of voluntary service <ul><li>Long-term youth voluntary service is special </li></ul><ul><li>Has a long history </li></ul><ul><li>Now more than ever: rites of passage </li></ul><ul><li>It’s about values </li></ul>
  • 7. Survey purpose <ul><li>What do we know about voluntary service impact </li></ul><ul><li>What do we still need to find out </li></ul>
  • 8. Studies review ed <ul><li>Over 300 documents analysed: published and unpublished research and evaluation studies </li></ul><ul><li>50 directly relevant to the impact of youth long-term voluntary service in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>About 7 with acceptable research design </li></ul><ul><li>… a lot of anecdotal evidence … </li></ul>
  • 9. Overview of findings Decreased career indecision active citizenship Future volunteers life-long learning Improved organisational climate? Reduced costs? less wasted time at schools better education & career choices <ul><ul><li>Value of services delivered </li></ul></ul>Personal growth interest in social studies broadened horizons Social & communication skills … Tolerance / intercultural competence / Improved staff skills? job creation? employability generic skills and work experience bridging social capital? improved discipline? Basic European identity intention to continue to volunteer? Potential to involve disadvantaged groups employment?
  • 10. Main result <ul><li>You get the impact you program for. </li></ul>
  • 11. So … <ul><li>Voluntary service regularly produces those kinds of impact for which voluntary service by definition provides the input: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal growth, independence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career orientation </li></ul></ul>
  • 12. Human capital <ul><li>Voluntary service can impact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employability </li></ul></ul>
  • 13. Voluntary service reduces career indecision ????
  • 14. Social capital <ul><li>… plus, with the right kind of service, placements, pre-departure training and mentorship, voluntary service can impact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social & communication skills and teamwork; networking; sense of belonging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active citizenship / civic values / social activism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tolerance / intercultural competence / bridging social capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic European identity; attitudes to Europe / EU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intention to continue to volunteer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved discipline; decreased crime and risk taking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But: &quot;Ceiling effects&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  • 15. Impact on community: social capital <ul><ul><li>Understanding between regions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration of less advantaged young people </li></ul></ul>
  • 16. Impact on community: economic capital <ul><li>Preliminary analyses show that EVS probably does at the very least pay for itself in terms of the value of work done in relation to the cost of the program – and maybe much more </li></ul>
  • 17. Good news … <ul><li>Voluntary service works for everyone! </li></ul>
  • 18. … but not everyone is doing it
  • 19. 3 models of how voluntary service can impact volunteer lives <ul><li>Traditional volunteers – easy to find </li></ul><ul><li>Non-traditional volunteers – value for money </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers with disadvantaged backgrounds – good results & social inclusion </li></ul>
  • 20. Recommendations <ul><li>Be aware of the extraordinary impact and future potential of voluntary service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Toolbox for social change – but we need more knowledge about what works </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Program for specific goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum standards generally and for additional components </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming other policy issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Crossing the new borders: more cost-effective, more challenging, more relevant </li></ul><ul><li>Role of voluntary service in regional understanding </li></ul><ul><li>We only have anecdotal evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stop wasting money on traditional evaluation approaches! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We need an impact measurement framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generic enough for voluntarism as a whole </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve volunteer/placement fit – matchmaking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This research was funded by the Ford Foundation! </li></ul></ul>
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