Kazakhstan to increase support for volunteers in 2020 Year of Volunteer

NUR-SULTAN – Aliya Galimova, Chair of the Committee on Civil Society Affairs of the Ministry of Information and Social Development introduced the draft action plan for the Year of the Volunteer at the ministry’s Sept. 27 public council session. The draft outlines seven directions to develop favourable conditions for volunteer activities and she emphasised the experiences will be taken into consideration when calculating seniority increments.

 

The ministry began working on the action plan after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed the decree Aug. 27 declaring 2020 as the Year of the Volunteer.

“The first area is the development of an enabling environment for volunteer activities. In regards to this area, there are plans to develop an appropriate draft law. We created standards for accounting for volunteer activity when entering colleges and universities and we will work out the norm for including volunteering experience as part of seniority. A methodology will be developed for assessing the contribution of volunteering to the country’s socio-economic development for its subsequent inclusion in statistical reporting,” said Galimova.

The second direction is creating a volunteer activities infrastructure and increasing the potential of its participants.

“There are plans to create a volunteer council with the participation of Kazakh and Russian volunteer organisation leaders. This idea, which the President supported, was proposed by the volunteer organisations themselves. We are planning to create a single project office for the overall coordination and effective implementation of the volunteer project programme. The office will deal with the coordination and monitoring of volunteer projects planned as part of the Year of the Volunteer,” she added. 

Galimova noted the government will expand the work of existing youth resource and civic centres in each region by adding volunteer support centres. People will be trained in each region to continue coordinating volunteer activities beyond 2020. 

“The third area is the expansion of citizen participation in volunteer activities. We will continue our joint project with the Ministry of Education and Science to provide social loans for university students involved in volunteer activities. It already started Sept. 1 based on the website that our ministry created,” she said.

Kazakh students can register on the website volunteer.kz, where they will be compensated for their volunteer hours either with money or study credits.

Kazakhstan is planning to launch a joint project with the United Nations to increase its citizens’ representation as volunteers in foreign countries. 

“This is a new project; never has one like it been implemented in Kazakhstan. Approximately eight volunteers will be sent. We are currently solving all procedural issues with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other agencies,” said Galimova.

She noted more than 170 volunteer projects, part of the new Zhana Bastama programme, will be offered in the country by next year. The government will cover all expenses required, such as transportation for search teams and payments for any necessary materials, although volunteers will not be reimbursed.