Volunteering: The Importance of the Question and Development of the Practice in Georgia

18 Oct, 2011

On October 11, with the Support from the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) Young Republican Institute unveiled the outcomes of a project – ‘State Policy in the Field of Volunteering:  Georgian Legislation and World Practice’.

Apart from high civil self-consciousness and economic welfare of the public the institutional factors are also important for the introduction and development of volunteering.  In particular, the legislative base, which should support the organizations interested in using services provided by volunteers.

Volunteering is deemed to be the traditional, established practice in some societies, while in others it has been slow to gain a foothold.  Citizens in Georgia and its two neighboring countries are less involved in volunteering activity.

The purpose of the project was to reveal the factors, which get in the way of the development of the practice in Georgia.  The research provides the analysis of the global experience of developing legislation in the volunteering field and exposes respective shortcomings in Georgia.

“Since 2001 most of the countries have placed the development of state volunteering programs on their agenda.  International organizations started encouraging countries in various ways in order to contribute to the development of volunteering.  However, it should be noted that Georgia still significantly lags behind other countries, which have made important moves for the past 10 years.  It will be good if policymakers become aware of the positive effect yielded by volunteering, which helps the country save funds and harness the youth energy for the benefit of society to deal with crises successfully.  Unfortunately, we have seen the need for that for the past period seeing the example of several countries, which have been hit by natural disasters”, said Archil Abashidze, an Assistant Professor at Ilia University and one of the authors of the project.

The research considers examples of several countries and provides conclusions and recommendations, which will help respective structures to take successful steps.

“With the help of the research we wanted to understand how the policy in the volunteering field effects the development of the practice: whether the presence or absence of any laws hinders more active and large-scale involvement of volunteers by non-governmental organizations.  We see that at the stage, the government is interested in the development of the practice.  The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs has initiated the volunteering campaign and is ready to take into account conclusions and recommendations made as part of the study.  At the same time we are ready to cooperate with them in specific questions, for instance in the strategy development”, said Giorgi Abashishvili, the project author.

See the full version of the research.