Amsterdam to test paying impoverished volunteers a stipend

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Amsterdam is launching an experiment in paying welfare recipients for their voluntary work, alderman Arjan Vliegenthart announced. He set up this experiment in collaboration with neighborhood Oost based on a study that shows that volunteer work is dissatisfying in the long run if there is no reward, Het Parool reports. 

This experiment will be done in Amsterdam Oost and involves people who have been on welfare for some time and have no prospect of paid work. "These are people who find it difficult to make ends meet. It's not a lot of money, more an appreciation", he said. He hopes that this stipend will encourage people to get involved.  "In this way we can see what's in these people, it's often more than we think at first. The aim is not so much to help them to a paid job, but to get them moving." 

A few dozen people will participate in the experiment at first. If the experiment is successful, the municipality will expand it to other parts of the city. The compensation will come in the form of a "Makkie" - currency which can only be used in some businesses in Oost, such as a grocery store and a hairdresser, according to the newspaper.