INTRODUCTION TO VOLUNTEERISM AGREEMENT IN CAMEROON
In Cameroon, Law No.2021/015 of 9 July was enacted to organize and promote volunteering in Cameroon has made it possible for national and international Non- profit organizations to regularly mobilize eager volunteers trying to enhance a particular skill, make business connections, or add relevant experience to their resume. This relationship is regulated by the signing of a volunteer agreement in Cameroon.
If your non-profit association is using volunteers or considering doing so, there are certain interests that you might want to protect and must ensure it is captured in your volunteer agreement. This article, however, discusses certain topics you might want to address, even with respect to the importance of a volunteerism agreement. If any of the matters below are of particular importance to you, then either you or your legal counsel should prepare a standard volunteer agreement for each volunteer to sign and return.
SIGNING OF VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT IN CAMEROON
The number one condition governing the practice of volunteering as provided for by section 13 (1) Law No.2021/015 of 9 July is that volunteering shall be subject to the signing of a volunteer agreement between the volunteer and the host entity. There exist certain elements of a valid volunteerism agreement which this article shall address below.
It’s pointless to have a volunteer sign a contract that can’t be enforced. In order to be legally binding, every contract needs both parties to receive something of value, often referred to as consideration. Section 14 of Law No.2021/015 of 9 July provides that volunteers shall be entitled to lump-sum allowance and end-of-service allowance.
II. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
As with regular employees, volunteers commonly have access to your association’s confidential information. Section 13(7) of Law No.2021/015 of 9 July provides that volunteers shall be bound to professional secrecy and confidentiality 9 facts or documents) which is privy in the exercise of his duties, and which disclosure to the public might harm the beneficiary, for example, customer lists, suppliers, financial information, employee data, know-how, processes, and so forth.
Furthermore, your particular industry might have additional legal requirements regarding the protection of confidential information. For example, if your organization is in the healthcare sector, then it might be necessary for your Volunteerism Agreement in Cameroon to incorporate specific references to the protection of patient information.
III. DURATION OF VOLUNTEERISM AGREEMENT
Section 13(3) of Law No.2021/015 of 9 July provides that the Volunteerism agreement in Cameroon shall be concluded for a maximum period of 12 months renewable twice.
Volunteers often cultivate close, positive working relationships during their time with an organization. You might be anxious that volunteers could possibly take advantage of those relationships by soliciting your employees, contractors, or other representatives after they depart. If you have any such concerns, then include a standard non-solicitation provision in your Volunteer Agreement.
Due to the unique nature of working for an organization as a volunteer without a salaried status, volunteers are commonly treated as a cherished commodity; as such, one would think that they’d be less likely to disparage the organization after their departure than would a regular employee. However, because no one can predict the circumstances surrounding the exit of any particular person, feel free to include a non-disparagement provision in your volunteer agreement in Cameroon.
VI. VOLUNTEER STATUS
As with the hiring of independent contractors, your volunteer agreement must make it clear that volunteers aren’t considered “employees” for legal purposes, and that your organization will not be responsible for paying any taxes on behalf of any volunteer. Here are some sample clauses:
VII. DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN A VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT
As with all agreements, disputes are inevitable. Section 17 of Law No.2021/015 of 9 July provides that disputes arising from volunteering contracts shall first be submitted to conciliation. The procedure for conciliation shall be fixed by an order of the minister in charge of civic education. Failure however to reach a conciliation and settle the dispute, section 17(7) of Law No.2021/015 of 9 July provides that the dispute shall be brought before a national court by the most diligent party for determination.
If you don’t have a corporate attorney to assist you in preparing your volunteerism agreement in Cameroon, then contact us for a guide.
Article by MAFANY victor NGANDO
“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advise should be sought about your specific circumstance”.