Information for the media

The most important facts and figures relating to the weltwärts programme are presented on this page. If you are writing about the North-South or South-North component of the weltwärts volunteer service or researching weltwärts Exchange Projects, you will find basic information and figures here.

General information

Around 270 German non-governmental organisations are approved as implementing organisations for the weltwärts programme. Of those, 160 are currently active sending organisations in the North-South component. Information about the organisations can be found on their profile pages.

Young people’s interest in development volunteer service is high. Every year, approximately 3,500 volunteers take part in weltwärts and some 41,000 volunteers have gone on assignment abroad since 2008. Around 66 percent of the participants are women and the average age across all volunteers is 19.4.

To the sending organisations

Around 270 German non-governmental organisations are approved as implementing organisations for the weltwärts programme. Of those, about 70 host international volunteers in Germany as part of the South-North component of the volunteer service.

Since the end of 2013, more than 2,500 volunteers from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania have completed voluntary service in Germany. Approximately 55 percent of the volunteers are female and the average age is 23.2.

To the host organisations

Since its launch on 1 July 2016, weltwärts Exchange Projects has proved a very popular funding programme and a broad range of civil-society implementing organisations in Germany make use of it. By the end of 2019, funding had been provided for more than 80 projects involving 74 organisations and numerous partner countries. The projects focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and at least one per goal has already taken place.

Facts and figures concerning the North-South component of the volunteer service

Number of volunteers by year

In the first three years of existence the volunteer service grew incrementally before levelling out at between 3,300 and 3,700 departures per year. The drop in departures in 2011 coincides with Germany’s suspension of compulsory military service and the decline in the number of young men who opted for alternative national service in the shape of a volunteer assignment abroad with weltwärts. Since 2008 as many as 41,000 young people have completed a volunteer assignment. Around 66 per cent of them are women. Their average age is 19.4.

The pie chart contains all German states. Half of the volunteers come from NRW, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Only a few volunteers from the federal states: Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Thuringia or Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Number of volunteers by federal state, 2019

Most volunteers are from North Rhine-Westphalia, followed by Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

The pie chart shows in which regions of the world North-South volunteers do their voluntary service. The majority of them are engaged in Latin America and Africa.

Countries and regions

On principle, a volunteer assignment can be completed in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania or Eastern Europe, provided the destination countries are sufficiently safe. Most volunteers (approx. 45 per cent) go to Latin America, followed by Africa (approx. 37 per cent) and Asia (17 per cent). Onle 1 per cent of volunteers opt for Eastern Europe or Oceania.

The pie chart lists the ten most popular countries of North-South volunteers in 2019. Most volunteers were in South Africa, just over 350.

Most popular countries

Every year, the most popular countries among young German volunteers are South Africa, India and Peru.

The pie chart shows the thematic areas in which North-South volunteers are most often involved. Almost three quarters of all volunteers are involved in the areas of education and support for children and young people.

Types of assignment

The majority of volunteers work in educational projects (approx. 38 per cent) and projects for children and young people (approx. 33 per cent). Their duties include, e.g., homework supervision for children and adolescents who live in homes, working as classroom assistants in rural schools, or supporting mobile schools for street children. However, the volunteers also offer leisure pastimes such as sports, art or cultural activities, which allows disadvantaged children and adolescents in particular to participate actively in social settings.

Facts and figures concerning the South-North component of the volunteer service

The bar chart shows the development of volunteer numbers in the South-North component by years of entry. The numbers have risen continuously. Male and female volunteers are roughly in balance.

Number of incoming volunteers by year

The first volunteers arrived in Germany in 2014. Their number has increased continually since then, rising to 715 in 2019.

The bar chart shows the ten countries from which most South-North volunteers will have entered Germany in 2019. Most came from Colombia, Bolivia and India.

Main countries of origin

In the South-North component, volunteers from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania do their weltwärts voluntary service in Germany.

The main countries of origin of the young volunteers who come to Germany are Colombia, Bolivia and India, followed closely by Peru and Mexico.

Fields of work

Volunteers in the South-North component work in non-profit establishments in Germany, providing support in a number of fields without impacting on the labour market. These establishments can be in areas such as culture, welfare, education, environment/conservation, sports and, in particular, development education. Most of the volunteer assignments are in the welfare segment. The South-North component of the volunteer service is run in cooperation with the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD). This means that the weltwärts volunteers work in places of assignment that have been approved for the BFD.

Facts and figures concerning weltwärts Exchange Projects

The bar chart shows the number of funded youth exchange and model projects from 2016 to 2019.

Youth exchanges and model projects

In the first year of weltwärts exchanges, four youth exchanges and model projects were funded. In 2017 the number had risen to 26. 27 projects received funding in 2018. In 2019, funding was granted to 24 projects.

The bar chart lists the countries with which at least two projects have been carried out. Most projects were carried out with partners from South Africa and Tanzania.

Exchange projects by partner country

Since 2016 youth groups from Germany have been able to run exchange projects with other youth groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America that centre around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Most exchange projects have been done with Africa (76). Eleven projects were implemented with Latin American, two with Asian youth groups. The diagram shows the partner countries with which at least two projects were implemented.

The pie chart shows how many projects were carried out for which SDGs. Projects have already been carried out for all goals.

Themes of the exchange projects

Every youth exchange project focuses on one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with at least one project implemented for each of them. The most popular SDGs have been “Quality Education” and “Responsible Consumption and Production”.