weltwärts
informs

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, you will find basic information and figures here.

General information

Around 290 German non-governmental organisations are approved as implementing organisations for the weltwärts programme. Of those, 166 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 42,000 volunteers have gone on assignment abroad since 2008. Around 66 percent of the participants are women and the average age across all volunteers is 19.5.

To the sending organisations

Around 290 German non-governmental organisations are approved as implementing organisations for the weltwärts programme. Of those, about 93 host international volunteers in Germany as part of the South-North component of the volunteer service.

Since the end of 2013, more than 2,800 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

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. Due to the Corona pandemic, only a few young people were able to start their volunteer service in 2020 or had to end it prematurely.

Number of volunteers by federal state, 2020

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

Countries and regions 2020

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. 44 per cent) went to Africa, followed by Latin America (approx. 38 per cent) and Asia (approx. 15 per cent). Only 2 per cent of volunteers opted for Eastern Europe or Oceania.

Most popular countries

Every year, the most popular countries among young German volunteers are South Africa, India and Peru. Due to the Corona pandemic, only a few young people were able to start their volunteer service in 2020 or had to end it prematurely.

Types of assignment

The majority of volunteers work in educational projects (approx. 39 per cent) and projects for children and young people (approx. 34 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

Number of incoming volunteers by year

The first volunteers arrived in Germany in 2014. Their number has increased continually since then. In 2020, however, it was only 132 volunteers due to the Corona pandemic.

Main countries of origin 2020

In the South-North component, volunteers from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania do their weltwärts voluntary service in Germany. In 2020, most volunteers came from Colombia, Argentina and South Africa. In this year, however, significantly fewer volunteers were able to enter the country due to the Corona pandemic.

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.