An Overview of Cyprus NGOs

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AN OVERVIEW OF CYPRUS NGOs

Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non Governmental Organizations

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CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

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Volunteerism Definition & Significance to Society and EconomyThevoluntary sectororcommunity sector(alsonon-profit sectoror "not-for-profit" sector) is the duty of social activity undertaken by organizations that arenot for-profit andnon-governmental.

The presence of a large non-profit sector is sometimes seen as an indicator of a healthy economy in local and national financial measurements.With a growing number of non-profit organizations focused onsocial services, theenvironment,educationand other unmet needs throughout society, the nonprofit sector is increasingly central to the health and well-being of societyCAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 20162

General framework of PolicyFields of activities/actionsThe volunteer sector covers all the fields and needs of society. Its role is considered very important both in European and International level.European PoliciesDirectly connected with the EU. Active Participation + Volunteering + Youth = COMBAT UNEMPLOYMENTCyprus PolicyThe Government has established a comprehensive policy for Active Participation and Volunteering. The upgrading and support of volunteering is one of the main aims of the Government. It is an innovative initiative which has been applied for the first time upon the establishment of our Republic. Stakeholders:Civil society, Volunteering and Non Governmental Organizations, Local Authorities and the Church of Cyprus.

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Volunteering ModelVolunteering can be seen as a combination of :Activism and unpaid work / serviceActivism and use of free timeUse of free time and activism

4Finally, volunteering is a combination of all three elements mentioned aboveCAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

The Role of Organized Civil Society (OCS) In modern times, volunteering has been established as the institution that helps address the social, economic and environmental problems and aims to fill in the gaps created by the weakness of the state and market mechanisms.Its role in society varies from recognition, treat up to solve challenges that are important to the States and their inhabitants. It extends even to the organization of cultural and social life and to physical and mental wellbeing of the population. Contributes positively to the development and implementation of democracy and human rights, through public awareness, participation in public life Ensures transparency in public authorities.

The absence of action by the civil society organizations have a significant negative impact on quality of life of the people

5CONCLUSIONCAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

NGOs in Cyprus

Many Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) almost 5400 have been established in our country, focusing in the fields of environment, culture and social services. Their actions depend upon the volunteering of their members. They act as: institutions non-profit organizations associations clubs

The establishment of organizations is an act based on the right to freedom of building associations, a right protected by the Constitution and many other international commitments which have been accepted and undertaken by the Republic of Cyprus.Although the present government has improved the image of organized civil society with a series of actions, there is still room for further enhancement. CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , Feb 20166Important to be mentioned

CHALLENGES (1)There are six (6) challenges which must be addressed TOGETHER by the Government and civil society in order to exploit to the maximum extent possible the contribution of organized civil society in our country:Establish a more positive perception of the value of OCSRecognition of its contribution for the best interests of our country and elsewhereDisclosure of ways in which it is possible to engage in activitiesEstablishing skills recognition plan to be acquired through participation in its activitiesClear formulation of ethical standards with which compliance is supervised and ways they can be implemented.Development of a modern legal framework Completion of effort putting together a new legal framework fully in line with international standards that will include checks and controls, transparency, better information and better targetingImplementation of the above mentioned overall approach

CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

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CHALLENGES (2)Ensuring access to resourcesStudy the possibility of revising the arrangements related to tax deductions for donations.Exploring ways to facilitate and encourage donations from abroadSupport the capacity of OSC to generate income to achieve its objectives through undertaking economic activitiesSimplify grants procedure and ensure the competitiveness and transparency.Removing obstacles in the process to recover funds available from abroad (eg EU funds)Expansion of the project called "House of the Volunteer" and exploring other ways of using public facilities.Skills developmentPromotion and respect for the Charter of Volunteer on "Rights and Responsibilities of VolunteersEncourage and support the OCS training in financial reports, applications for funding and participation in consultation exercisesSupport to networks created by the CSOs to facilitate cooperationRecognition of informal and non - formal learning.

CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

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CHALLENGES (3)Promoting participationEncourage senior officials to conduct regular dialogue with OCS on issues of their competence and promote their cooperationDevelopment of a legislative framework for consultation on draft bills and decisions at all levels of government, efficient and inclusive, making full use of Internet technologyFull alignment with the rules governing access to official information requirements for effective public participationEnsuring access to justiceReview the possibility and make recommendations regarding the undertake of costs by the government in cases where OCS raise judicial review proceedings with regards to the public interestEnsure effective protection of OCS from intimidation and threats.

CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

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Policies to support and upgrade the voluntary sectorCREATION OF NETWORKS: Creation of Networks for NGOs that are active in the same field. Networks will be created for a specific field in order to utilize at the maximum level human resources, infrastructure, funds, information etc.

VOLUNTARISM AND UNEMPLOYED CITIZENS: With the Cooperation of the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance we encourage unemployed citizens, to be active in the volunteer sector by focusing on the benefits of being a volunteer.

INVOLUNTARY SERVICE: With the Cooperation of the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance, beneficiaries of GMI should be offered social work.

10CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

HOW WE PROMOTE OCS

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CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

PROMOTING ACTIVE PARTICIPATION THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES Tools for Active Participation

12CITIZENS DAYPUBLIC CONSULTATIONSWORKING GROUPS

RECOGNITION OF INFORMAL AND NON - FORMAL LEARNING.

BETTER COORDINATION, INFORMATION AND FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY.FOSTERING VOLUNTEERING AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IN SCHOOLS, FROM A YOUNG AGE.QUESTIONNAIRES

ONLINE DISCUSSIONS STUDIESCAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

CREATING INFRASTRUCTURE (1) HOUSE OF VOLUNTEERS The objective is to meet the basic housing and office needs of voluntary NGOs. Specific criteria which must be met by the interested organizations for an application.The whole project has been achieved in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and the Ministry of Transport, Communications & Works. A Volunteer House has already been establishes in Larnaca and Nicosia. Great help was also offered by the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Services of the Ministry of Transport, Communications & Works and CYTA.The aim is to establish the Volunteers House in all districts of our country. 13CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

CREATING INFRASTRUCTURE (2)HOUSE OF VOLUNTEERS - LARNACA

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CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

HOUSE OF VOLUNTEERS - NICOSIA

15CREATING INFRASTRUCTURE (3)CAMESM MEETING, School of medicineEuropean university of Cyprus , feb 2016

SAILING FOR LOVE A LESSON FOR LIFEDuring the weekend 11-12 July 2015, the Commissioners of Volunteers and NGOs Office and the Cyprus Sports Organisation, organized with the support of OPAP and the participation of the Municipalities of Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Ayia Napa the SAILING FOR LOVE A LESSON FOR LIFE. The initiative aimed to collect useful supplies for needy school students. There was the voluntary participation of owners of sailing boats and Petrolina Company. The event was supported by the Civil Defence, the Police and the National Guard. 16

CAMESM MEETING, School of medic