International links in volunteering

Moscow 5 December 2014

Kylee Bates the president of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) visited Moscow in the context of International Volunteer Day


This was Kylee Bates’ first visit to Russia in her capacity as president of IAVE. She made the point that IAVE’s new strategic development plan proposed increasing the number of countries in membership and stressed the importance of facilitating countries sharing information about their experience.

At a round table organised by the committee of the Duma (Parliament) of the Russian Federation (RF) for communal organisations and religious organisations, at which Russian members of IAVE and members of the working group drafting a bill on volunteering were present, Kylee Bates said:

‘IAVE is organised on the principle of reciprocity between nations. I appreciate visiting your country and seeing you come to the conferences which we organise in other countries.’

Kylee Bates said she was pleased that the direction of IAVE’s strategy as contained in its 2012 development plan was identical to that adopted in the RF. IAVE saw the development of corporate volunteering and of volunteering centres for youth as one of its priorities.

She went on to say that notwithstanding that volunteer movements in different countries were moving in different directions, their problems and tasks had much in common. ‘I am very pleased that volunteering is a driving force in different countries’, she commented.

‘We want to build a new worldwide cooperative network of volunteers based on IAVE and to support their wish to change the world. The network should constitute a really powerful instrument for the purpose. We also want to organise conferences of consistently high quality throughout the world and broaden our knowledge of volunteering whether corporate or amongst the youth’, she said.

The president of the Russian Centre for Volunteering and representative of IAVE in the RF Galina Bodrenkova, said that it was important for each member of IAVE to feel solidarity with volunteers the world over. She added that volunteering was one of the pillars of civil society. She pointed out that IAVE’s approach was to create a system of volunteering centres at different levels from the local to the national.

Stepan Medvedko the head of the secretariat of the above Duma committee, hoped that it would be possible to introduce the new bill on volunteering before the end of the      current Duma session. He said that the president of the RF had warned of the danger of making volunteering too bureaucratic. The development of civil society often needed superfluous governmental barriers and influence to be dispensed with. When we talked about volunteering, we were speaking of a kind of charitable activity but intentions were not enough. A system was needed to put them into practice. According to Medvedko, ‘The essence of a charitable organisation is to enable people to exercise the right to do voluntary work.’

On 6 December Kylie Bates was due to take part in the Fourth Congress of the City of Moscow Volunteers.

Author: Georgy Ivanushkin

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