Johns Hopkins and ILO to measure volunteer work

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies announced in April an agreement to collaborate in putting volunteer work on the economic map of the world. This collaboration will be supported by a start-up grant from the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the focal point in the UN for the worldwide promotion of volunteerism.

The two organizations aim to develop a recommended procedure for measuring volunteer work through official labour force surveys in countries throughout the world. The partnership follows on the release by the UN in December 2003 of the Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts, which called on national statistical offices to prepare regular ‘satellite accounts’ on civil society organizations, volunteering and philanthropy as part of their regular social and economic data. The procedure developed by the two organizations will be presented to the International Conference of Labour Statisticians scheduled to convene in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2008.

‘Volunteerism is one of the great renewable resources for social problem-solving around the world,’ said Lester M Salamon, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. ‘This effort will finally allow us to begin measuring its scale and impact.’

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