UHD Publications – Resources for Civil Society Labour Rights Research

The Unsung Hero Dialogues Booklet and Survey Analysis

We are very happy to share here the two of the outcomes of our Unsung Hero Dialogues project that we could not be prouder of.

First is the project’s booklet that gives a great overview of the UHD, its local and international events as well as an overview of the policy recommendations that were developed during the local events in Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Romania. The project booklet was written by the project partners with a design by Sofia Mondini and coordinated by Aleksandra Polivana.

Secondly, we are very happy to present the Data Analysis – and report – of the European Survey about Work in Civil Society Organizations that was conducted from June 2020 – June 2021. This publication analyses the data gathered from more than 500 participants of the survey and combines it with the findings of eight interviews with experts in the field of civil society work. The Data Analysis was co-written by Elisa Rapetti and Katja Greeson for the project consortium.

We hope you find these publications interesting, informative – and hopefully useful beyond the scope of the UHD project itself.


Unsung Heroes Dialogues: Petition Launch


Click here to sign the petition!

In November last year, CGE-Erfurt hosted the Autumn School of the Unsung Heroes Dialogue (UHD),  a project run by CGE-Erfurt and a consortium of NGO partners to promote solidarity towards activists working within civil society, in conditions often undermining their labour rights.

Autumn School

During the Autumn School, a campaign working group undertook research on the makeup of the civil society sector: exploring principles for hiring Civil Society Workers, the role of volunteers and employees, and the power dynamics and barriers of access to the sector. The outcome of this research was a petition, aimed broadly at NGOs, calling upon the sector to address inequalities within it.

Why does this matter?

Civil society workers roughly account for 13% percent of the whole EU workforce and play a vital role in democracy and communities at all levels. The majority of the workforce (55%) is unpaid thus not registered and the remaining 45% compete against one another in complex competitive hiring processes. Thus, there is the need to safeguard applicants within recruitment processes through more ethical and rights-respecting processes. There is no excuse for unethical practices in recruitment by filling publicly advertised positions with internal candidates, recruiting unpaid or underpaid staff, or allowing prejudice to enter decision-making. We would like to establish new norms for recruitment, with new principles, such as transparency, clear expectations, accountability, fairness.

What does the petition call for?

In response to the poor conditions they identified, the group formed a set of principles for equitable hiring processes. These were formulated into a pledge which NGOs can sign to signal their support for transparent and fair hiring processes in NGOs:

“By signing this petition, one shall commit to running transparent and fair hiring processes for civil society roles, which includes:

  • Informing candidates of the stages and timeline of the recruitment process. 
  • Not discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age, or genetic information.
  • Giving feedback to all participants to improve their chances in their future applications.
  • Providing structured job descriptions, compensation information, and expectations of tasks.”

Click here to sign the petition!

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