The project – aiming at enhancing the management and the participated governance, as well as innovation capacity and internationalization, of not-for-profit organizations working with and for Youth, targeting young volunteers (18-30 years old) and youth workers and trainers – directly involves 8 countries in studying, training/learning activities, and in the sharing of best practices in the field.
Countries involved are indeed 7 EU Member States (Slovenia, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece) and Brazil, towards which the EU has started a process for building a strategic partnership, as stated by the Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 30 May 2007Towards an EU-Brazil strategic partnership, focusing on Human Rights, Democracy and Governance, as well as on Civil Society, social development and employment.
All the partners involved are organizations with experience in volunteering or in innovative and participated methodologies of training for young people. The partnership is composed by not-profit and profit organization very active in the areas of social inclusion, youth training, and other policies for youth. INNOVOL objectives match thus perfectly with the missions of partners.
In Slovenia, volunteers have significantly increased from the mid-1970s onwards in what can be described as a bottom-up approach (Irma Meznaric, 2008. Speech for EU Parliament, Volunteering Interest Group, 13/01/2008). Volunteering is particularly developed also in Italy, where non-profit organizations play a crucial role in providing social services and contributing to achieving social policy goals. At the 31st of December 2011, the date of the last census survey on this sector (http://censimentoindustriaservizi.istat.it), these organizations in Italy were 301.191, growing by 28% from 2001, with a consistent presence of young volunteers (950 thousand volunteers are aged under 29 – namely 20%, 4% of volunteers aged under 18 – compared with 704 thousand volunteers aged over 64).
By involving these partners, the project intends to highlight specific local needs, both in the areas where voluntary practice is considerably developed and structured – engaging many young and youth workers – as well as in other where volunteering is still not vey practiced, or where civil voluntary engagement concerns especially people over 30.
In this partnership framework, more experienced Member States, such as Slovenia and Italy (Susan G. Komen Italia Onlus will also bring the successful USA Volunteering model as a matter of study and reflection among partners), share activities and aims with countries less experienced in the field (with low or relative low levels volunteering), such as Bulgaria, Poland, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece, according to the 2010 report on Volunteering in the European Union (EAC-EA & DG EAC), that has been an important starting point for the building of the partnership involved.