The European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV 2011) is the first organisation to encourage volunteers to enter their volunteering hours online, representing a very first step towards the quantitative evaluation of the impact of volunteering on the european economy and society. The Alliance is composed of 39 European networks active in volunteering. Since 2007, its members agreed to be involved in the promotion and the implementation of the EYV 2011.
This initiative is timely given the recent political recognition given to the value of volunteering during the II Youth Convention on Volunteering: “Volunteering is our most precious form of renewable and sustainable energy”, stated Irish MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE). Ms. Harkin, who actively works with the Alliance, has the project to place volunteering at the heart of Europe and strives to get more people involved in volunteering in the framework of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. She believes that volunteering has a real economic benefit on the European society and highlighted the contribution of volunteers to social inclusion: “Volunteering is global, volunteering is sustainable and creates employability”, she added. The MEP, who also took an active part in the Stakeholder Conference “The Rights of the Volunteer” held during the II Youth Convention on Volunteering, would like to have in place some policy recommendations to bring to the European Commission, as well as a study conducted by the Commission on the contribution of volunteering to the european economy.
The European Youth Forum warmly welcomes the initiative taken by the Alliance to collect hours of volunteering, and hopes that this first step will lead to more actions that will prove the value and economic and social benefits of volunteering.