What is Weltwärts

Development Volunteer Service Weltwärts

What is Weltwärts?

Weltwärts is a volunteer programme aimed at facilitating and fostering volunteer service in the field of development for young adults aged between 18 and 28 in countries included on the OECD/DAC list of developing countries and territories.

Volunteers complete a period of informal service in the area of development learning and education, which opens up for them the extensive opportunities afforded by “ global learning” and gives then the motivation and support to get involved in development issues and in civil society in ways that go beyond their volunteer service.

We particularly encourage young people with disabilities, with migrant background and with vocational training to participate in the programme.

Funding for the programme is provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

What are the aims of Weltwärts?

  • To introduce young people to development issues and encourage their interest and involvement in development.
  • To make an effective contribution to development-oriented information and education work in the spirit of “global learning” and towards nurturing a new generation of young people interested in working in the field of development.
  • To enhance intercultural understanding and help increase awareness and acceptance within society of how development issues impact on our future.
  • To enable volunteers to learn about intercultural communication, socio-cultural cooperation and social responsibility, all of which are valuable skills, especially in an increasingly globalised society.
  • To strengthen civil society structures in the partner countries as well as in Germany: host organizations benefit from the support provided by volunteers and the exchange with them. The volunteer service also encourages networking among civil society organizations in Germany and in partner countries.

South-North component of Weltwärts

In 2013 the programme was expanded to give young adults from partner countries the opportunity to volunteer in Germany. Interest in the South-North component is very high, and the number of placements has increased steadily. In 2016/2017 a total number of 800 placements is planned. 245 sending partner organizations are participating in the South-North component.

After a three-Year pilot phase the South-North component is currently being evaluated. Results of the evaluation are expected in 2017.

South-North component of the Weltwärts program has the following objectives:
  • To promote interaction, on an equal footing, between partners from our One World’s Global North, and thus strengthen existing partnerships.
  • To allow volunteers to grow personally in an informal learning process through personal interaction, intercultural exchange and the transfer of knowledge and experience.
  • To strengthen civil society and especially the partner organizations in the South, which benefit as returned volunteers tell others about their experience and continue to be active in civil society.
  • To provide input and inspiration to development-related work. Interaction with international volunteers helps to get new target groups interested in development issues.

As the program pursues these goals, attention is given at all levels to gender equality.

How does the programme work?

The Weltwärts development volunteer service is a joint operation between BMZ and German civil society organization that are approved by the Weltwärts programme as sending or hosting organizations. This means that BMZ and civil society organization are jointly responsible for progamme development. The central forum for programme management is the programme steering committee, which comprises representatives from state and civil society.

The implementation of the Weltwärts development volunteer service is based on a co-operative partnership with the partner organizations involved.

ICDE-India has been sending volunteers on this programme since 2015 in association with our partner organization ICJA, Germany.