The Heads of State and Government of the African Union, in decision Assembly / AU / Dec.274 (XVI), recognized youth volunteering as a tool for youth empowerment and a catalyst for the development of youth in the continent. The decision further mandates the African Union Commission (AUC) to promote youth volunteering in Africa.
The African landscape of volunteers and exchanges includes wide range of programs, policies, and stakeholders working at different levels (national, regional, continental and international) with little or no coordination.
The African Union Commission (AUC) strongly believes that volunteering does not happen in isolation and therefore requires an enabling environment and strategic collaboration among stakeholders to ensure that volunteering receives greater attention and actively contributes to economic development and social cohesion in Africa.
In this context, the AUC developed in close consultation with the main stakeholders (civil society organizations, private sector, government, regional structures, volunteers and alumni, volunteer organizations, partners) an online volunteering linkage platform (VLP) to provide an overview of volunteering and exchange programs and a learning and exchange platform presenting good practices and tools, statistics and an information exchange platform.
The VLP, among others performs the following functions:
The need for the Volunteer Linkage Platform
The Volunteer Linkage Platform (VLP) comes as an instrument that brings together all stakeholders and creates a space for information exchange and data generation that can be leveraged to improve volunteerism in Africa. The VLP is conceived as a marketplace for volunteer initiatives and actors on the African continent. It provides information to the public interested in volunteerism and exchange in Africa; young Africans; sending and hosting volunteerism and exchange organisations; partners involved in supporting volunteer and exchange programs; state, regional and private actors in the field.
As such, it serves the following needs:
- Provide an overview of volunteering and youth exchange policies, programmes and statistics searchable by region, country, thematic area and target group
- Provide volunteer practitioners and volunteers the opportunity to learn from each other and exchange in the frame of communities of practice.
- Provide a space for the provision of tools and good practices
- Provide volunteer organizations, including national volunteer agencies, with the possibilities to showcase their programs and volunteering efforts (by country, sector, hours of volunteering, etc.)
- Provide young people on the African continent with the possibility to learn more about the benefits of volunteering and to search for volunteering and exchange opportunities according to their age, center of interest, etc.
The Continental Volunteer Linkage Platform
The Volunteer Linkage Platform is embedded into the Continental Volunteer Linkage Platform, a platform aiming at:
- Developing policies on volunteerism through a Continental Volunteerism Standards and guiding principles – to set minimum standards and common understanding for regional, national and community volunteerism in Africa.
- Creating an online Volunteer linkage platform, a volunteerism mapping and knowledge management online platform as a single access point for volunteerism in Africa.
- Facilitating technical support from a pool of tools on volunteerism including the Volunteer Management System (VMS) to regional, national and community-based volunteer initiatives in Africa.