“It is time to really rejoice that the volunteering activity in Lithuania is growing every year – according to the poll, which was conducted according to our order by VILMORUS, about 27% of the population (previously (16%) and now (11%)) participate in voluntary activities. Compared to the corresponding figures for the year 2012, the participation in voluntary activities increased from 18% to 27%. According to preliminary estimates, such number of people creates over 1% of Gross domestic product (GDP) or it equals to 7.4% of contribution to this year’s State budget,” says Martin Žaltauskas, director of the Non-Governmental Organizations Information and Support Centre.
Comparing Lithuania’s situation in the European Union, according to the EUROSTAT and EUROBAROMETER data, Lithuania is in the average according to all European Union countries. Leading positions are taken by developed countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and several others. In Scandinavian counties, more than a third, and in Norway almost half of the total population is volunteering, therefore in Lithuania it is necessary to encourage volunteering and strengthen the sector of non-governmental organizations, which is the core base of volunteering.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), an organization operating in more than 45 countries, at the moment is seeking to pay attention to the contribution of volunteers to tackling migrant and refugee crisis issues. IVHQ has placed more than 85,000 volunteers all around the world on a variety of projects, ranging from elderly and special needs care, education, wildlife, environmental conservation, construction and renovation, medical care, community development and social enterprise, and more. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 65.3 million forcibly-displaced people in the world who have forcibly left their homes due to war or human rights violations.
The importance of volunteering and volunteers’ contribution to the country’s GDP will also be discussed at the open discussion on 7 December in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.