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Volunteerism & ICTs in Europe

Volunteering in Figures

In many European countries, there is a long-standing tradition of volunteer activities and initiatives, from the Netherlands --host of the 2001 World Volunteer Conference of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE)-- to England --home of the Institute for Volunteering Research, one of the leading institutions in the field-- to Belgium, WHERE the European Volunteer Center (CEV) is located, which has members in 21 European countries.

Volunteering in Figures

In a survey carried out in France, nine percent of all adults declared to volunteer. Out of these, 60 percent spend 20 or more hours per week. (1)

In Germany, 34 percent of the adult population has a volunteer activity that keeps them busy for at least 15 hours per week within an association, initiative or project. (2)

A similar percentage is obtained in Ireland, WHERE 33% of the adult population volunteers. In 1999, the volunteer hours in Ireland represented 96,454 full-time positions. 72% of the people who participated in the survey said that their volunteer activities could not be carried out by paid personnel. (3)

In Switzerland, one adult out of four carries out a volunteer activity, mounting to 44 million hours per months, or 248,000 full-time positions. (4)

ICT Need of European Volunteers

As pointed out CEV in its paper prepared for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), ICTs are increasingly playing a key role for volunteers in Europe. At a time when it is more and more difficult to recruit young volunteers, online volunteering combines the desire to help with the interest in new technologies. 

At the same time, there is also a need to widen access to this new information and communication technology to include schools, colleges, universities, businesses and homes etc. that need, and would benefit greatly from, it.


(1) Lions Club international, 1998, cited by Henri Valot, United Nations Volunteers

(2) Projectverbund Ehrenamt/Infratest Burke, 1999

(3) Charitable Giving and Volunteering, Ruddle, H. and Mulvihill, R., 1999, cited by Henri Valot, United Nations Volunteers

(4) Voluntary Work in Switzerland, Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO)


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