proMENTE AVSO research - impact of youth voluntary service in Europe

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proMENTE AVSO research - impact of youth voluntary service in Europe

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 10. Main result <ul><li>You get the impact you program for. </li></ul>
  11. 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. 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. 13. Voluntary service reduces career indecision ????
  14. 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. 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. 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. 17. Good news … <ul><li>Voluntary service works for everyone! </li></ul>
  18. 18. … but not everyone is doing it
  19. 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. 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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