Voluntary ecological year

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Voluntary Ecological Year ( FÖJ ) or the Voluntary Environment Year ( FUJ ) is a voluntary service as an education and orientation year for young people between the ages of 16 and 26 in Germany and Austria. It usually takes 12 months, but can also be completed in a period between six and eighteen months. It usually starts on August 1st or September 1st.


The Voluntary Ecological Year can be counted as a waiting semester at the University Admissions Foundation , formerly ZVS. It is financially supported and implemented by the federal states and individual agencies. The participants also organize themselves independently in state and federal bodies.

The Voluntary Ecological Year can also be completed abroad, for example in France as the so-called Franco-German Ecological Year. However, the number of seats is very limited and the seats are in great demand.

FÖJ sponsors are mostly non-profit youth organizations such as churches or environmental protection associations . Thanks to their state recognition, these agencies take on the selection of the locations and support for the participants in the Voluntary Ecological Year, as well as the administration of state funding.

There are currently around 3,000 FÖJ deployment sites in Germany. There are also around 600 ÖBFD positions (Ecological Federal Voluntary Service).

Job sites

Lists of the deployment locations (EST) are available from the providers in the respective federal state. Non-profit organizations that consider ecological aspects in their work and have a wide range of work areas and activities in areas ranging from practical nature conservation to environmental education and environmental research come into question as EST. Each deployment site is looked after by a carrier, where the FÖJ participant also attends his seminars.

Possible areas of experience and work for FÖJers are possible in a variety of areas. For example in the following:


The sponsors of the individual deployment locations organize a total of 25 seminar days. In the individual seminars, fixed topics such as ecosystems, sustainability or globalization are dealt with by the FÖJ participants or the sponsors. These days are usually organized by speakers or self-organization. Participants can also acquire additional qualification modules from some providers, such as the modules of education or green professions .

Speaker system

The FÖJ is the only voluntary service in Germany that has developed a nationally established speaker system. The system is built on a democratic basis . In each federal state there are different numbers of providers who form the seminar groups with their FÖJ participants. In these seminar groups i. d. As a rule, two group spokespersons are elected, who go to group spokesperson meetings and there elect the state spokespersons (also called federal delegates) who represent the FÖJ in the respective federal state. There is roughly one country spokesman for every fifty FÖJ participants. Subsequently, all state spokesmen of the 16 federal states of Germany take part in a federal delegates' conference (BDK) at which five federal spokesmen are elected to represent the FÖJ in Germany and the interests of all FÖJ participants in public, the press and politics.


The cost bearers of the maintenance for FÖJ participants are partly the deployment locations or their carriers, and partly the federal states. The maintenance of participants in the Voluntary Ecological Year, who are sometimes still minors, basically consists of monthly pocket money of around € 180 to € 370 as well as food and accommodation. The latter are provided, but often also paid out in full or in part. In addition, government grants such as child benefit , housing benefit and Hartz IV can be obtained. The amount of maintenance depends on the respective federal state, although there are serious differences within Germany. The receipt of maintenance for adult FÖJ participants by parents or legal guardians is not intended for the period of the FÖJ, especially if the FÖJ only serves to bridge a waiting period, it is provided by the above-mentioned cost bearers. For underage FÖJ participants there may be a remaining need for maintenance, which usually has to be paid by parents or guardians.

Legal basis

The social law bases for the Voluntary Ecological Year have been regulated since June 1, 2008 in the law for the promotion of youth voluntary services . Until then, the law promoting a voluntary ecological year was in effect .


In 1998 the FÖJ was introduced as a model project in various federal states. In 2002 the FÖJ Federal Law was passed and the FÖJ was officially established.

From 2002 until the suspension of community service in 2011, it was also possible for recognized conscientious objectors ( conscientious objectors ) to do the Voluntary Ecological Year. In § 14c of the Civil Service Act it was regulated, among other things, that every recognized objector who has been involved as a FÖJler for twelve months and who could prove this to the Federal Office for Civilian Service (BAZ) (through the FÖJ carrier organization) was no longer used for civil service. The BAZ only contributed to their costs in the case of additionally set up "14 c-places". KDV had to indicate when applying that they wanted to do the FÖJ as a replacement for community service. The "Zivi-FÖJ" was not offered by all FÖJ providers. In principle, conscientious objectors performed the Voluntary Ecological Year under FÖJ conditions, i. H. the general conditions and peculiarities of community service did not apply here.


The Voluntary Environment Year (FUJ) in Austria offers young people from 17 years of age the opportunity to get involved in environmental and sustainability issues. The background to this is the legal regulation in Sections 22–24 in the Volunteer Act . Since 2013, completion of the FUJ can be credited as a replacement for regular community service .

It is aimed at young adults who are in a professional orientation phase and are interested in environmental, nature conservation and sustainability topics.


Sponsors for the Voluntary Environment Year are approved by the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Water Management .


The legal basis for the Voluntary Environment Year is the Federal Act on the Promotion of Voluntary Engagement (Freiwilligengesetz - FreiwG). This law regulates that participants can receive family allowances during their FUJ.


  • Dobslaw, Fischer, Jax: Voluntary Services in Germany. interconnections

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 2 JFDG - single standard. Retrieved February 22, 2018 .
  2. a b About the FÖJ - Voluntary Ecological Year. In: foej.net. Retrieved August 13, 2018 .
  3. ^ Ralf Thierfelder, green bits media: FÖJ Rhineland-Palatinate - The Franco-German Ecological Year. Retrieved May 9, 2018 .
  4. ^ Förderverein Ökologische Freiwilligendienste eV - FÖF eV Förderverein Ökologische Freiwilligendienste e. V., accessed on September 27, 2018 .
  5. Hartz 4 - ALG 2. Association for social life e. V., accessed on September 27, 2018 .
  6. Crediting of pocket money towards maintenance in the BFD / FSJ? Association for social life e. V., accessed on September 27, 2018 .
  7. Federal Act on the Promotion of Voluntary Engagement (Freiwilligengesetz - FreiwG), Federal Law Gazette I No. 17/2012
  8. http://www.jugendumwelt.at/de/programme/freiwilliges-umweltjahr/zivildienstätze