Becoming an implementing organisation

Criteria and process for inclusion in the programme

In order to apply for funding to send volunteers on assignment or host international volunteers in Germany, organisations have to undergo an assessment for implementing organisations, carried out by the weltwärts Coordination Unit. The weltwärts programme is open to non-profit organisations with a development focus. This page gives information about the criteria and process for the assessment.

General criteria

The criteria for weltwärts implementing organisations are specified in the Guideline for the development volunteers service ‘weltwärts’ and the Catalogue of quality standards for the weltwärts programme.

Ideally, organisations interested in becoming weltwärts implementing organisations should contact the weltwärts Coordination Unit at Engagement Global before they submit their application in order to discuss the details of the assessment process and any questions they have.

It is also important that you contact a quality association at an early stage of your preparations for the application process.

Quality associations

The following key points and criteria need to be addressed in good time:

  1. the quality standards agreed for the weltwärts programme,
  2. the possible number of volunteer assignments per cohort,
  3. the right time to submit your application and
  4. the earliest possible point at which volunteers can be sent on assignment/hosted.


Stepping up your involvement: Approved sending organisations can offer to host volunteers too

There is a simplified assessment process for organisations that have already been approved as weltwärts implementing organisations in the North-South component and would also like to host volunteers under the South-North component. In such cases, only the South-North-specific parts of the assessment documents need to be submitted.

General requirements for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation

All organisations seeking approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation must meet the following criteria and provide proof that they do so. In addition, there are specific requirements for the North-South and the South-North component.

Non-profit nature

Participation in the weltwärts programme is open to organisations that are non-profit, legal entities under private or public law, whose headquarters and operations are in Germany. It is also possible for groups of organisations to take part if they meet the specified requirements. One-person companies are not eligible for funding.

Associations under German law (“Vereine”) must prove they are listed in the “Vereinsregister” by providing an official print-out of the entry from the relevant court. Other organisational forms must submit suitable official verification of their status. The non-profit nature of the organisation must be demonstrated by means of a document from a tax authority (“Finanzamt”).

Reasonable administrative costs

The organisation’s advertising and administrative costs must be of a reasonable level. The German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) states that advertising and administrative costs of no more than 35 percent are reasonable.

Proof of reasonable costs must be submitted in the form of a DZI seal of approval, a certificate of Deutscher Spendenrat membership or a list of the administrative costs.

Staff capacity

Organisations wishing to participate in the weltwärts programme must provide proof that they have sufficient staff capacities for the administrative implementation of the programme, plus educational expertise for preparatory, support and follow-up activities for volunteers. Organisations that only intend to send/host a small number of volunteers should check whether they can perform the administrative and educational work themselves. As an alternative, they can join forces with an organisation that has already been approved as a weltwärts implementing organisation to send/host volunteers on assignment.

The number of full-time and unpaid staff must be shown in the application for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation. An educational plan, for either the North-South or South-North component depending on the situation, must also be submitted. As well as the content of the accompanying seminars, it should also include the staffing plans.

Financial capacity

The BMZ funding for the weltwärts volunteer service covers part of the costs incurred in sending volunteers on assignment and hosting them. In the North-South component, the funding covers a maximum of 75 percent of the implementation and healthcare costs combined. The funding for the South-North component is also 75 percent maximum. The remaining approximately 25 percent of the costs are covered by the implementing organisations, using their own funds. A check is therefore carried out to determine whether the organisation has adequate credit worthiness before it applies to be approved as a weltwärts implementing organisation. To this end, the organisation’s last three annual reports on finances and activities must be submitted with the application. Since the funding from the BMZ is government money, it must be used and accounted for in accordance with the legislation concerning governmental funding.

Development focus

weltwärts is a development volunteer service. It promotes global learning in its participants and encourages them to play a long-term role in development. As such, it requires the sending and host organisations to have a clear development focus in their objectives and activities.

The application must include a description of the objectives and activities, particularly the development-related objectives and the development activities they perform in their country. The organisations‘ statutes must also be submitted.


The propagation of a specific faith or ideology is not permitted on the weltwärts programme. Religious organisations or organisations based on a particular ideology can be approved as weltwärts implementing organisations but measures in the area of religious propagation are not eligible for funding.

Partner structures

The weltwärts volunteer service is only possible in cooperation with partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania. They perform key tasks both in the North-South and the South-North component and are involved in the implementation of the programme’s objectives and concept. weltwärts implementing organisations in Germany and their partners thus collaborate closely - on the basis of clear agreements and aims and a written agreement. The volunteer service can only succeed if sending and host organisations work together as partners and maintain close contact.

The cooperation and partner structures must be described in the application.

Membership of a quality association

All weltwärts implementing organisations are required to either join an existing quality association or set one up with other organisations. The associations support the organisations’ quality-development efforts.

When submitting the application, the organisation must state which quality association it would like to join.

Quality associations

External certification

Evidence of the quality of weltwärts implementing organisations’ structures and processes must be provided by means of periodic, mandatory external certification. This ensures that the implementing organisations uphold the standards set out in the catalogue of quality standards. All implementing organisations are required to acquire certification during the first two years after they begin sending or hosting volunteers for assignment. It is advisable to contact a certification body at an early stage.

The following organisations can certify sending organisations for weltwärts:

  • QUIFD- Agency for Quality in Voluntary Services
  • Gütegemeinschaft Internationaler Freiwilligendienst e.V.

Information concerning the inspection bodies and processes involved can be obtained from the quality associations.

Quality and security matters

Specific requirements for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation in the North-South component

In addition to the general requirements for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation, there are other requirements specifically concerning participation in the North-South component.

Educational plan for North-South assignments

When applying for funding under the weltwärts programme, implementing organisations must enclose a plan for the education and mentoring activities for volunteers. Details of their partners are required for this plan.

The following document provides additional information on what needs to be included in the plan:

Information on North-South educational plans (PDF)

Specific requirements for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation in the South-North component

In addition to the general requirements for approval as a weltwärts implementing organisation, there are other requirements specifically concerning participation in the South-North component. Here too, the educational plan has a vital part to play.

The assessment process is explained in detail in the following information sheet:

Information on South-North educational plans (PDF)

weltwärts Coordination Unit at Engagement Global