Thirty Days for the Civic Sector


This week people using Prague's public transport network will notice a very eye-catching ad campaign featuring photos of ordinary people with headings like "He encourages people to jump from windows". That particular poster's fine print says - "Pavel is a volunteer, he works for the fire department." The ad is part of a campaign to promote volunteer work in the Czech Republic called "Thirty Days for the Civic Sector". Radio Prague's Nicole Klement reports...

The annual campaign "Thirty Days for the Civic Sector" has just begun. This year's campaign is aimed at changing Czech people's perception of volunteer work. Volunteering in the Czech Republic is a recent development - under the communist regime many people had to do work such as hop-picking for almost no money and to this day many people are hesitant about working for free. Marek Sedivy, the executive director of the Information centre for Non-profit Organisations explains.....

"I remember, and I am not so old but - I remember organised actions when people went somewhere to do something and they had to, but, they didn't have to. Do you know what I mean? For the Czech person if you say volunteering it doesn't have a positive meaning. And so, that is what we are trying to change."

Why do you think Czechs still have such hesitations about volunteering? Are they uninterested or uninformed ?

"They are more focused on making money right now. We are in the first stage of capitalism - in which people care about themselves more than about what is going on around them. So that's why sometimes people don't think about non-profit organisations, because the organisation's main goal is to care about what is happening around them."

How do you plan to promote and encourage volunteering?

"We have the posters, a TV spot and a radio spot - these are the ways we will use to gain the interest of the public. We'll also host some balls, some parties, we'll use really different kinds of activities."

Mr. Sedivy went on to say that their opening event in Prague last Thursday, where Helena Vondrackova sang at the State Opera House, raised over 500 000 Czech crowns - half of which will go towards the campaign. The Thirty Days for the Civic Sector campaign plans to hold other fund-raising events throughout the whole country.

Author: Nicole Klement
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