Building a Community of European Statistical Officials | Warsaw | 28-29 September 2011

By on October 5, 2011


A new community began to take shape last week when European labour statistics officials and civil society leaders met on 28-29 September in Warsaw for a technical workshop hosted by the ILO, the European Volunteer Measurement Project (EVMP), and the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The aim of the workshop was to connect statistics offices with civil society, to provide them with training in the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work approach, and to discuss the possibility for the implementation of the ILO Manual in these countries.
Participants reviewed the definition of volunteering provided in the ILO Manual and discussed how to safe-guard the unity of the method and the comparability of data, while respecting the significant cultural differences among countries. In addition, target variables, the survey module, classification systems, and data reporting tables were analysed in technical detail.  Adriana Mata, the ILO’s focal point for the Manual, provided clarifications on technical points and on certain global perspectives of the measurement of volunteering.
The workshop also provided the opportunity to hear from Poland’s Central Statistical Office, which pioneered this effort in Europe, and is preparing to release the final results at the closing conference for the European Year of Volunteering announced for 1-2 December in Warsaw. CSO officials offered a number of lessons learned for their colleagues including ensuring proper training and motivation for the interviewers, avoiding use of proxy response, using ICNPO to classify the fields of work, carefully considering the timing of the implementation in relation to other modules, and avoiding use of the sub-sample of persons rotating out of the LFS.
The workshop further highlighted some of the EVMP’s successes:

  • Hungary has adopted the ILO Manual and has already translated and adapted the module which is being implemented in the third quarter of the regular 2011 Labour Force Survey.
  • Italy’s statistics office (ISTAT) has agreed to adopt the ILO Manual approach in 2012 and is working with EVMP partner SPES to translate and adapt and test the module.
  • Montenegro’s statistics officials at Monstat are working closely with the country’s volunteering community to explore implementation possibilities, and are hoping to make a conclusion in this regard in advance of a major national volunteering conference being held in January in Podgorica. They are also proposing the idea of networking with statistical offices and civil society representatives from neighboring countries as part of a regional effort to measure volunteering.
  • INSEE in France appears closer to officially adopting the ILO Manual and we are awaiting word from them on this point.
  • Latvia considered the idea of measuring volunteering for the first time.
  • Although unable to participate to the Warsaw meeting, national statistical offices of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, and Spain expressed strong interest to be kept in the loop in order to discuss possible implementation.

In the end, perhaps the most important outcome from this workshop was the formation of a nascent community of statistical officials and civil society partners working together to ensure that this vital resource is measured and allowed to blossom, and that will continue to grow as more countries join in the effort. The group agreed to keep in touch in order to communicate with other each other on issues pertaining to testing and implementation of the module, to continue to share technical resources and lessons from implementation, and to pool the results through EVMP in order to build a sustainable and comparable source of information on the scope and nature of volunteering.  To that end, the EVMP partners agreed to maintain a technical section of the EVMP website to facilitate this kind of information sharing.
Download the meeting report and participants list.

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