The development volunteer service weltwärts was founded in 2008 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since then, more than 25,000 volunteers have been sent from Germany and dedicated themselves to development projects. Since 2013 young people from partner countries have also been able to do development volunteer service in Germany. By the end of 2016, 840 young people had made use of this opportunity.
Weltwärts focuses on joint intercultural learning. The funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has given all interested young people between the ages of 18 and 28 the opportunity to participate in the learning service. The majority has just finished school and completed their A levels (Abitur). They volunteer for six to 24 months at a local partner organisation in education, health, environment, agriculture, culture or human rights.