Statistics officials and civil society leaders met in chilly Podgorica, Montenegro on 27 January for a technical workshop hosted by the EVMP, the Association for Democratic Prosperity-Zid (ADP-Zid in Montenegro), and Monstat, the Statistical Office of Montenegro. The aim of the workshop was to connect statistics offices with civil society, to provide them with training in the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work approach, and to discuss the possibility for the implementation of the ILO Manual in these countries. The workshop took place within the International Conference “Improving the Quality of Community-based Voluntary Services”.
The workshop attracted the participation of statistical offices and civil society representatives from eight countries including Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of these, Italy has already formally committed to adopting the Manual, and Poland has already produced results. Czech officials also currently measure volunteering as part of the work to produce annual satellite accounts on nonprofit institutions, however they do so using an organization based survey.
In the end, perhaps the most important outcome from this workshop was the emphasis participants put on the importance of civil society and statistical offices working in cooperation to ensure the successful implementation of the ILO Manual.
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Slawomir Nalecz from the Social Surveys and Living Conditions Statistics Department at the Central Statistical Office of Poland and research fellow in the Institute of Political Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences described Poland’s experiences implementing the ILO Manual, presented some of the initial results, and outlined the most salient lessons learned in the process. In short, the Polish experience shows the importance of providing training for the interviewers, avoiding proxy response, and reducing respondent fatigue by being cognizant of when the survey is administered in relation to the labour force survey.
Tania Cappadozzi, from the Italian National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT), which is preparing to implement the ILO Manual in 2013, highlighted ISTAT’s successful collaboration with Italian civil society groups in forging a strategy for the Italian implementation. As an example of that collaboration, SPES (an EVMP partner) translated the Manual into Italian and triggered a wide working group of volunteering sector representatives which is working together with ISTAT towards the implementation. This civil society partnership secured support from a local foundation to help cover the costs of implementation, reviewed the questionnaire with a “volunteer’s eyes,” is helping to test the module, and will be training the interviewers and helping to disseminate the results.
Similar partnerships are forming in Southeast Europe. The ADP-Zid recently translated the ILO Manual into the local language, which is useful for other statistical agencies in the region (the final version of this translation will be available here) and will continue to cooperate with Monstat to forge a path forward to develop this work in Montenegro.
Based on the discussions that took place during this workshop, representatives from a number of countries indicated an interest in taking steps toward the adoption and implementation of the ILO Manual. Others indicated that they look favorably on the possibility, though on a longer time horizon; however, they agreed to remain in touch on the issue. To move the process forward, statistics officials from a range of countries agreed to bring the question of ILO Manual implementation back to their organizations and their colleagues, and to keep EVMP partners informed about their efforts.
To facilitate those efforts, and others throughout Europe, the EVMP partners remind readers that we maintain a technical section of the Project’s website to provide advocates and implementers with resources and lessons from countries that have carried out implementation of the ILO Manual, and to pool the results in order to build a sustainable and comparable source of information on the scope and nature of volunteering.