8 recommendations for the social inclusion of young people in international volunteering

European Conference of the IVO4ALL project, 6 June, Brussels

Tuesday, June 6, 2017, France Volontaires organized the European conference for the restitution of IVO4ALL project (International Volunteering Opportunities for All) at the Social and Economic European Committee in Brussels: “Removing barriers to international volunteering to improve youth social inclusion”. For three years, eight partners from five European Union member countries, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, experimented measures to encourage the social inclusion of young people. Eight Recommendations have been developed to increase access to volunteering.


“We are convinced that volunteering, in particular international volunteering, is not only a way of involving young people, but rather a tremendous opportunity to reach their full potential to society” said Jean-Daniel Balme, Executive director of France Volontaires.


The inclusion of youth, a societal reflection

The end of IVO4ALL was the opportunity to bring together all the actors around a common problem: volunteering, as a tool for social inclusion of young people. A real stake in society, international involvement has been discussed and apprehended by complementary angles: the volunteer, the sending structure, the receiving structure and the policy.

A range of 120 key stakeholders from an array of organisations from the European Union and from outside the Europe, attended the day, which included Victoire Dogbé, Minister of Development and youth in Togo, Mohamed Dehman, Director of the EVO of Morocco and also representatives of European and international institutions (the International Organization of the Francophonie, the European Commission and Parliament, the Council of Europe), ministries, local authorities, European associative platforms including the European Youth Forum, National and local associations, Erasmus + agencies, youth institutes and IVO4ALL volunteers. Rarely have so many civil society actors and institutions had this time to share their points of view.

Two workshops brought together the thoughts and feedback from representatives of associations, communities, international organizations and young volunteers who participated in the project. In the afternoon, the theme “An inter-sectoral approach to removing obstacles to international volunteering to improve the inclusion of young people” was enriched by discussions of policy and professional reflections.


How to facilitate access to volunteer opportunities for all young people? 

Interesting discussions during the workshops highlighted the interest of volunteering for a young person.Djamel BENIA of the association ADICE recalled that the voluntary commitment of a young person is not only a simple occupation but is indeed a step in his process of integration into society. Indeed, an international voluntary experience offers the volunteer the opportunity to learn about the values ​​of a new culture, to understand the environment in which he / she operates, but also to be an important vehicle for personal development. For this process to take place in the best possible conditions, Marie-Agnès SABLAYROLLE, head of the Mobility office of Mission Locale in the Montpellier, stressed the need to propose targeted programs according to the different publics and stressed the importance of training Advisers to mobility opportunities. The second training workshop proposed to evaluate the IVO4ALL impacts on associations and young people. Marc-André HERMAN, Director of the Association Civil Service International, encouraged all associations to extend their relations at national level in the form of a partnership in order to build together tools or eventually to pool practices. It is also important to create projects in disadvantaged areas according to Teresa CONSTANÇA LISBOA SAMPAIO DA NÓVOA, representative of the Portuguese association Palombar. Indeed, it is by developing projects in these areas that young people will be able to see the different opportunities and, in turn, engage in the creation of new projects on their territory.


Eight recommendations for better inclusion of young people

The afternoon plenary was opened by Floor VAN HOUDT, Head of Youth Policy at the DGEAC of the European Commission, Pavel TRANTINA, President of the Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship Section at the European Economic and Social Committee, Silvia COSTA MEP and Luigi BOBBA Italian Secretary of State.Floor VAN HOUDT recalled the framework of the Erasmus + program and the political reforms undertaken. The recommendations of the IVO4ALL project “could not be better, it is important to capitalize all the recommendations in the development of new projects”. MP Silvia COSTA welcomed the work of the IVO4ALL consortium. It is important in her opinion that all young Europeans feel concerned by this initiative at a time of crisis. It encourages European decision-makers to support voluntary actions by equipping the European Solidarity Corps with the necessary funds and by transposing the model of international volunteering to all the member countries, as is already the case in France with the Civic service agency or in Italy with the Italian Civil Service. Luigi BOBBA illustrated the importance of volunteering through examples of the new Italian legislation in force. The law governing the Italian civic service must enable all young people who wish to do so to undertake 3 months of voluntary work in a foreign country (IVO4ALL), and will receive a certificate of competence acquisition called soft skills.Ernst & Young, the evaluator of the project, then presented the recommendations of the experiment.


  1. Define: Set clear vision and targets for inclusion. Design a coherent volunteer journey. Advocate and support the removal of potential barriers
  2. Implement: Create an environment to foster coordination between all relevant actors (national and from the receiving countries). Raise stakeholders’ (including local prescribers) awareness about the importance of mobilizing young people with less opportunities in volunteering schemes and improve their level of knowledge on the opportunities of international volunteering for young people with less opportunities. Support practitioners of both countries to remove remaining obstacles which impede the participation of young people with less opportunities to international volunteering. Volunteer support should be considered throughout, including budgeting, staff time and resources.
  3. Evaluate: Ex-ante. Realise ex-ante evaluations to appreciate whether the proposed level of funding and resources are relevant with the initial situation and in accordance with the expected results and impacts. On-going. Clear processes should be in place for monitoring quality and reporting against diversity targets.Ex-post. Evaluate the outcomes and impact of inclusion to inform futures policies.   
  4. Partnerships: Partnerships between key stakeholders in both countries involved should be developed and utilized to improve accessibility and inclusive practices. 
  5. Recruitment: Organizations should set clear diversity recruitment targets and create inclusive recruitment and selection processes
  6. Placement : all placements should consider inclusion and accessibility when being designed 
  7. Support: Add extra levels of support for volunteers with less opportunities, considering volunteer support throughout (including budgeting, staff time and resources) 
  8. Quality : Clear processes should be in place for monitoring quality and reporting against diversit targets.

“An intersectional approach is essential in order to improve access to devices. The positive effects of the implementation of these 8 recommendations will be considerable.” said Lénaïk LePoul, IVO4ALL Manager.

An immersion experience is available on video.360 ° Video Capsule 

Jean-Benoît DUJOL, Inter-ministerial Delegate for Youth in France, spoke of the importance of a political portrayal at all levels. In his view, the inter-ministerial approach is to strengthen partnerships and the coordination of actors. He also joined the Italian Minister on the importance of the recognition of prior learning.Victoire DOGBE, Minister of Youth in Togo, emphasized the well-being of young volunteers. The youth of a country is, according to her, one of the main engines of society. Policy-makers need to ensure opportunities, regardless of the youth environment. According to the Minister, international volunteering is an open door to “a better world”, it allows the young person to develop, to train and thus to forge his own way of thinking. 

“There is a consensus on the relevance of promoting ambitious national and European public policies of international volunteering as a powerful and transversal lever for the development of our societies, but this must be done in a partnership and intersectional approach in Europe and beyond, they are truly inclusive and multiply their impacts” Jean-Daniel Balme. 


european conference

Jean-Daniel Balme, France
Jean-Benoît Dujol, France
Victoire Dogbé, Togo
Lénaïk Lepoul, IVO4All

– All pictures here –

– Audio here –

Relive the conference with #ivo4all on Twitter.


Autors :

  • Alexis Protat,  IVO4All, Direction de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et de la vie associative, France
  • Marie-Albane Ully, communication manager, France Volontaires, France