8.4.3 Associations of citizens, advocacy groups, NGOs and advisory panels
In Germany there is a National Network for Civil Society (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement BBE), linking organisations and associations from the third sector (non-profit organisations) and civil society, from business and work life and federal and community institutions. It was founded by the National Council of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001) in 2002. Meanwhile, the BBE has 190 member organisations representing millions of members. The BBE promotes civic involvement in all social areas and forms (e.g., in social work and health care, sports, cultural activities, the environment, education and academic life, politics and business). (Civic involvement means holding an honorary office, doing volunteer work or participating in self-help projects. People are involved in clubs, associations, political parties, (civic) foundations, networks, citizens' initiatives or social movements.) The BBE aims e.g. to improve the general conditions of civic involvement including the improvement of the compatibility of social welfare reform programmes and actions with civic involvement.
The German programme of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV) focused on cross generation activities and the engagement of women, young people, senior citizens and migrants. One of the main instruments of implementation was 8 regional conferences. The flagship projects in Germany that received a grant from the European Commission within the framework of the EYV were the above mentioned National Network for Civil Society and the State Youth Ring Berlin (a federation of youth associations).