On March 15, during the training organised in the scope of the EU-funded “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project, representatives of more than 12 of civil society organizations (CSOs) learned about the current and planned legal regulations related to the volunteer institute.
Mr. Marat Atovmyan, Mentors’ Group Coordinator/Justice and related Sectors Mentor of the “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project presented the provisions regulating the activities of volunteers in Armenia as well as the legal regulations that aimed at the introduction of the volunteer institute that are provided by the new draft law.
Ms Lusine Manukyan, Vice President of the Association of Young Journalists NGO, who participated in the training, said in a conversation with us: “There were provisions that could be taken and applied immediately in our activities. There were also provisions in the draft law that we were really concerned with. The first provision that we were worried with, was that the organisation can involve volunteers only in proportion to 5 percent of its employees. I believe that this may be a problem for many small NGOs which have a problem of development, because it is very important for newly established small organisations to have as many volunteer as possible,” Lusine Manukyan said.
According to her, their organisation often involves volunteers in their activities, and at the moment they have two volunteers, and in case the law is adopted in that form, they may have to stop cooperating with volunteers.
Ms Nunel Hovnanyan, representative of Soldier’s Mother NGO, attached great importance to the idea of having a separate law coordinating this field. “I think the law will be effective, and we will understand what steps we should take, if we get acquainted with the terms of the contract, and also learn the way we should prepare and conclude the contract with volunteers,” she said and added that, of course, certain provisions of the current draft should be reviewed.
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The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by a Consortium of civil society organisations, which are the Armenian Lawyers’ Association (lead organisation), Agora Central Europe (NGO based in the Czech Republic), the Armenian Centre for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, the International Centre for Human Development, the SME Cooperation Association and the Union of Communities of Armenia.
The project aims to enhance the influence of civil society organisations (CSOs) and CSO coalitions/networks on public policies in Armenia. This will allow organisations that are already working in sectoral coalitions to access additional resources, new groups of civil society experts to come together and encourage place their causes on the local and national policy agenda, to identify common concerns and priorities and approach government bodies with constructive and strategic policy engagement initiatives.
The project will provide sub-grants to CSOs and CSO coalitions for developing public policies and bringing significant changes in the 9 target sectors selected within the project, including those of justice, education and business.