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Where I am?: Barra corporativa / Volunteers / Rights and obligations

a. Definition of a volunteer
b. Rights & Obligations of volunteers
c. Basic Principles Of Organised Voluntary Activity.

a) Definition of a volunteer
The voluntary work movement started in the mid-nineties. In 1996 the “National Law on Volunteer Work” was passed in Spain. This Law defines the concept of voluntary work.
It came into existence owing to the need of an ever-growing number of non-profit making organisations in the 90s.
There have been several definitions for voluntary work, with new versions following one another as the concept developed.

The Law 7/2001, of the 12th of July on Voluntary Work, under Article 3 defines the concept of organised voluntary action as “a combination of activities carried out by persons and that comply with the following conditions”:
a) They must be of general interest, in accordance with the field of action in which they are carried out.
b) They must be the consequence of a decision that has been taken out of ones own free will.
c) They must be carried out in a responsible manner and free of charge.
d) They must be part of concrete programmes that have been put in practice through non-profitable entities.

It also states that the following activities are not considered to be of a voluntary organised nature:
a) Isolated and sporadic activities, carried out for reasons that are linked to family, friends, neighbours or kindness.
b) Activities that are carried out as a consequence of civic liaibility or connected to trade of services.
c) Activities carried out by conscientious objectors who have to undertake social community services in respect of their obligations.
d) Activities executed in the scope of a profession or job with the aim of gaining merit.

b) Rights & Obligations of volunteers
A series of rights and duties reflected in the Law 6/1996 of the 15th of January on voluntary work protects volunteers. These are also included in another Law 7/2001 of the 12th of July on Voluntary Work in Andalucia.
They are as follows:

The Law 7/2001 of the 12th of July on Voluntary Work in Andalucía, under article 11 states the following volunteers´ rights:
“Volunteers have the following rights:
a) to receive from the organisation carrying out voluntary activities, initial and permanent information, training, orientation, assistance and if applicable the necessary equipment to carry out the functions allotted to the volunteer.
b) To be respected with regard to their freedom, dignity, privacy, beliefs and sexual tendencies without being discriminated against or discredited.
c) to participate in the organisation in which he/she is collaborating in accordance with its statutes and internal polices, and if applicable to participate directly and actively in the elaboration, execution and evaluation in the specific programme in which the volunteer carries out his/her voluntary work.
d) to be insured against illness and accident risks and damages caused to a third party, when they are directly linked to the voluntary action, and in accordance with the established regulations.
e) to be reimbursed by the organisation for costs incurred in the voluntary activity, as long as they were previously authorised by the entity.
f) to hold an accreditation identifying the person as a volunteer.
g) to be given respect and acknowledgement for the social value of his/her contribution and to request to be granted credit for the services rendered.
h) to cease being a volunteer according to the terms agreed on with the organisation.
i) to carry out his/her activity in safe and hygienic conditions in relation to the type of activity and its characteristics.
j) whichever other rights held in the present Law and in the rest of current legislation.

* Duties of Volunteers:
The Law 7/2001 of the 12th of July on Voluntary Work in Andalucia, under article 11 states the following duties:
a) to honour his/her commitment in respect of the organisations rules and aims.
b) not to divulge information of a confidential nature.
c) to refuse any material compensation that could be offered by the beneficiaries or any other person related to them, as payment for voluntary services rendered.
d) to act in a responsible and diligent manner in accordance with the terms agreed on with the organisation.
e) to respect the rights of the person at the receiving-end of the voluntary activity.
f) to follow the technical instructions required in the activity and given by the person in charge of the programmes or the organisation.
g) to take care of and use correctly the accreditations and badges supplied by the organisation.
h) to respect and look after any equipment with which the volunteer is entrusted.
i) to observe the applicable safety and health regulations.

c) Basic Principles Of Organised Voluntary Activity.
Organized voluntary activity is founded on the following basic principles:

  • Liberty
    As a fundamental principle of the expression of a personal option, be it of the volunteer or the person receiving the assistance.
  • Participation
    As a democratic principle of the direct and active participation of citizens in common responsibilities, promoting a social network in the community.
  • Solidarity
    As the principle of common good that inspires actions in favour of underprivileged people or groups, paying attention to general interest and not exclusively to members of the organisation.
  • Social Commitment
    As a principle of joint responsibility which orientates a stable and rigorous action, exploring the efficiency of its activities as a contribution towards social interest.
  • Autonomy
    Respect of public and economic power as the principle that protects the critical and innovatory capacity of voluntary work, raising the awareness of society on new necessities and stimulating effective public action.

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