Helping to shape the weltwärts programme

How returnees can participate in the steering of the programme

PFIF (political representation group of volunteers in international volunteering services) is your chance to help shape weltwärts. By taking part, you can gain a completely different perspective on weltwärts and get involved at a political level.

weltwärts is a joint operation in which governmental and civil-society organisations implement and develop the programme together. PFIF was created by a group of returnees as a way of taking political and practical action to further the development of weltwärts through the Programme Steering Committee (PSC) and the various work groups. It has been an integral part of the weltwärts steering structure since 2012 and has produced numerous positive ideas in that time. For instance, PFIF and other returnees began advocating the introduction of a South-North component very early on; they promote inclusion and diversity in the programme and bring their perspectives to the weltwärts working bodies.

Quote Ndinelago Justina Asser

The photo shows volunteer representative Ndinelago Justina Asser

The PSC meeting was rather a great educational adventure for me, I got to learn so many things regarding weltwärts and volunteers in general. In the beginning I was a little skeptical about attending, due to the fear of not being able to fully participate in it and not reaching the expectations of everyone as a representative for the South-North volunteers. However, that was not the case. Everything went smoothly as all the PSC team members were very welcoming and accommodating.

Ndinelago Justina Asser, the first South-North volunteer to be elected as a volunteer representative on the PSC

Would you like to find out more about PFIF and get involved?

They’d love to have you on board! PFIF is a platform for returnees who want to use the experiences they had during voluntary service to help develop weltwärts further and make it fit for the long term. PFIF works to ensure that returnees’ voices are heard and taken seriously. They are, after all, the experts when it comes to voluntary service and they can provide first-hand information on what was good and what needs improving. PFIF organises educational and networking meetings and brings current issues to the agenda. For instance, not long after the launch of weltwärts in 2008, returnees expressed a keen interest in the idea of a South-North component. Over the years, that idea has become reality thanks to a great deal of hard work and a concerted effort by all the programme stakeholders. Today, the South-North component is an integral part of the weltwärts programme. weltwärts’ current priorities include quality development, general sustainability and partner involvement.

Remember -- PFIF is for everyone! Any volunteer can join after they return from service.

Join in, too!

To the PFIF website

How can I contribute to PFIF’s work?

Become a member of the Programme Steering Committee

Become a member of the Programme Steering Committee

PFIF has two representatives on the PSC. They are elected once a year by weltwärts returnees.

The PSC convenes at least twice a year in Bonn and serves as the main forum for all weltwärts stakeholders. Its task is to discuss and to take decisions on all aspects relating to the continuing development of weltwärts. Its activities include, for example, modifying programme rules, monitoring current developments and solving programme-wide problems. So, as a PSC member, you’d truly be part of the weltwärts action.

What are the requirements? Well, to stand as a PFIF member on the PSC, you must have been a weltwärts volunteer and your voluntary service must have been no longer than seven years ago. At the moment, the meetings cannot be interpreted and travel expenses can only be reimbursed for travel inside of Germany so you should live in Germany and speak good German. And, of course, you should be keen to stand up for returnees’ opinions and present them in a confident manner.

More information about the PSC is available here – and, of course, from PFIF itself.

To the weltwärts joint operation

Get involved in the PFIF work groups

Get involved in the PFIF work groups

PFIF is currently looking at the following topics, which are discussed and worked on in groups, each of which would be thrilled to have you join them.

  • Seminar planning and design
  • PR activities (e.g. website, articles, social media, to name but a few)
  • Assessment of the ecological footprint of volunteer services (climate action)
  • South-North volunteer service
  • Post-colonialism in volunteer services
  • Financing of returnee activities

For additional information on current topics, go to:

To the PFIF work groups

Get involved in the PSC work groups

Get involved in the PSC work groups

Representing PFIF in one of the PSC work groups will give you the chance to learn more about the world of policymaking and committee work at weltwärts. The PSC sets up work groups on different topics, such as inclusion and diversity, quality and processes, to take action to further the development of weltwärts. The results produced by the work groups are then submitted to the PSC to be decided on.

PFIF is currently involved in almost all PSC work groups. You’ll find details of the work groups here:

The PSC working bodies

Need more information?

If you’d like to get an idea of what the volunteer representatives do or get directly involved yourself, get in touch and join them for the weekly online meetings. PFIF would love to hear from you!


Here’s how to contact PFIF:

Your contact persons at the weltwärts Coordination Unit

Fabian Heerbaart

Vanessa Ross