Sri Lanka
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP, 2022)
Population (UNFPA, 2022)
21.6 milion

Volunteer statistics (ILO)*

Source: ILOSTATS. The data is collected by ILO from national statistical offices. As national statistics on volunteer work are produced using a variety of approaches and tools, direct and cross-country comparisons are not recommended. For more information, visit

No data

Measurement work

Data source

  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
    • Time Use Survey
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023

Laws, Policies, Schemes on Volunteering

Does the country have a piece of legislation on volunteering?


The Voluntary Social Service Organisations (Registration and Supervision) Act

Year 1980
View source

The National Volunteering Secretariat Act (Draft)

Year 2021
View source

Does the country have a national policy, scheme, plan or strategy specific to volunteering?


Name of specific policy, strategy or plan on volunteering at the national level. Year created Source link What are the relevant SDG areas/crosscutting themes of the policy, plan scheme or strategy?

National Policy on Volunteerism - Sri Lanka

2019 View source

Does the country have a sectoral and cross-sectoral policy, scheme, plan or strategy that mentions volunteering?


Name of specific policy, strategy or plan on volunteering at the national level. Year created Source link What are the relevant SDG areas/crosscutting themes of the policy, plan scheme or strategy?
National Youth Policy Sri Lanka 2014 View source
Sri Lanka Peacebuilding Priority Plan 2016 View source

VNR Reporting

Voluntary National Review of the Status of Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

View source

Reporting positive contribution of volunteering to the SDGs

Paragraph 1, page 19

The Sri Lanka VNR process was a collaborative and inclusive process that included multi-stakeholder engagement – government, private sector, academia, development partners and CSOs including Volunteer Involving Organizations (VIOs).

Paragraph 2, page 28

The government has realized that the volunteerism is an important cross-cutting aspect that contributes to all 17 of the SDGs. While separate National Policies may align with each of the separate Goals, a National Policy on Volunteerism would go a long way to support the achieving of all the goals in general, and is thus an essential requirement.

Paragraph 3, page 81

It is equally important to develop linkages between universities and the private sector when designing courses to match skills demand of a globalized labour market. Including internship and volunteering programmes in schools and universities can also help in equipping students with job-relevant skills.

Paragraph 4, page 87

Another instrumental way to enhance soft skills of young people would be encouraging volunteering and creating enabling conditions for volunteers as well as Volunteer Involving Organizations. In 2014, 8.6 million Sri Lankans volunteered at least once a year. That is equivalent to around 40% of the country’s able population, many of whom are in rural areas. 96% of surveyed young volunteers agree that volunteering has helped them develop their skills. On the ideas on ways to encourage more young people to volunteer, 57% agree that schools/universities/employers should allocate time for volunteering.

Paragraph 5, page 102

Another good example of collective efforts to forge peace through a multi-stakeholder approach in Sri Lanka is the Peace Building Priority Plan (PPP) which recognizes the importance of strengthening the role of civil society and volunteerism in Peace Building. In 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Secretariat for the Coordination of Reconciliation Mechanism (SCRM), the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, and the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official languages have partnered with the UNFPA, UNV, and UN WOMEN with the support of UN Peace Building Fund to empower women and youth to participate and engage in governance and decision-making processes and responses related to sustaining peace and security in Sri Lanka at all levels.

Paragraph 6, page 106

Despite all these efforts, there are gaps in capacity building especially in the area of monitoring and evaluation, including data generation and analysis. There is a need to strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacities related to data generation, collection and effective analysis, all of which could be used for evidence-based policymaking and SDG reporting.176 The concept of volunteerism, especially among youth, is another important aspect for which capacity building can be considered, in light of the need for a collective effort from all citizens towards realizing SDGs.

Paragraph 7, page 108

It has however been noted, based on past experience in working with the MDGs, that the active involvement of the private sector, academia, general public, and volunteers is inadequate, mainly due to lack of familiarity with goals and their specific targets. Encouraging private firms to adopt SDG’s to their CSR framework will allow the corporates to be directly involved; currently Standard Chartered Bank, Insee Cement and Dilmah have integrated SDG’s to their CSR framework.182 Further, general public and volunteers should play greater roles in achieving SDGs considering that volunteerism strengthens civic engagement, safeguards social inclusion, deepens solidarity, and solidifies ownership of development result

No mention

Inclusive Transformation Towards a Sustainably Developed Nation for All

View source

Reporting positive contribution of volunteering to the SDGs

Paragraph 1, page 28

Further, inputs from the consultations on “Volunteers as Key Contributors in Accelerating the 2030 Agenda” conducted by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) were integrated into the VNR. The consultations included the state sector, corporate/private sector, Non-Government Organization
(NGO)/CSO Sector, youth and tertiary education sector and selected agencies from the United Nations. The final inputs were also supported by the National Situation Analysis (NSA) on Volunteerism, and the Online Survey on Volunteerism conducted during the month of March 2022.

Paragraph 2, page 30

Stakeholders from various groups, including government (at different levels), private sector, CSOs, international development partners (multilateral and bilateral), volunteers and volunteer groups, youth, academia etc. were engaged for primary data collection via various thematic, national, and provincial level consultations.

Paragraph 3, page 43

Youth groups are another key stakeholder segment where engagement with the Government has been lacking and therefore the ownership of the SDGs and 2030 Agenda by the youth remain undefined17. Sri Lanka continues to have a strong volunteering background and is considered a key contributor to promote social inclusion. A key development in this area is the approval of the National Policy on Volunteerism (NPV) in August 2019, which was initially developed in 2014 through a collaboration
between the Ministry of Social Empowerment and Primary Industries of Sri Lanka and United Nations Volunteers (UNV). This lays the groundwork for unlocking the potential of volunteerism as a key contributor to achieving the SDG targets and 2030 Agenda.

Paragraph 4, page 120

KFB composed entirely of volunteer youth works to bridge the gap in the supply chain by collecting
surplus foods and providing them to people in need working closely with The Global Food Banking Network.

Paragraph 5, page 122

The National Youth Development Programme, ''Hope for Youth'' by the Ministry of Youth and Sports aims to reduce youth unemployment from the current 28% to 12%. The program is expected to address the challenges encountered by youth by actively engaging them in the development process of the country. In addition, the government has initiated the Community Police Service Program with the aim of obtaining the services of Youth as “Community Assistants (Voluntary)” at the GN division level. Accordingly, the Sri Lanka Police will issue them a volunteer identity card in addition to awarding a service certificate on “Community Leadership'' for the six-month participation in the programme. These initiatives are expected to contribute towards reducing the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training (SDG Target 8.5).

Paragraph 6, page 146

In addition, volunteerism can play a crucial role in this regard to leverage expertise from the private sector and other stakeholder groups at the same time creating wider awareness for collective citizen participation to achieve the SDG targets.

No mention
Got something to add?