Volunteerism and organising of civil society in Slovakia and in Hungarian
community of Slovakia

Géza Tokár


The purpose of the study is to describe the position and current issues of the Slovak and Hungarian minority's NGOs with emphasis on volunteerism. The development of the civil society in Slovakia was impacted by gradually improving legislature, the emerging institutional framework for cooperation between the state and NGOs, and public opinion. The developing civil society in Slovakia also influenced public and political events in the 1990s through its strong political activism and its fundamental influence on public sentiment, for example through mass movements that inspired voter turnout. However, surveys show that Slovakia, like many other Central-East-European countries, does not have a particularly high proportion of activists and volunteers, and indicators of social engagement are mostly stagnating. In Slovakia, it is particularly problematic to judge the specific problems connected with voluntarism within the Hungarian minority because of the lack of comprehensive statistics and data. According to empirical experiences, Hungarian community and their volunteers in Slovakia focus on cultural and educational activities in organisations once established by the party-state, or their participation is limited to socio-public activities, mostly coordinated by political parties.

Keywords: Slovakia, Hungarian communities in Slovakia, voluntarism, civil society, public opinion towards volunteers,