A global dialogue – weltwärts partner conference in Berlin

The weltwärts partner conference in Berlin is aimed all organisations in the Global South and Germany, making it a unique event. The November 2022 conference brought together 105 participants from 30 weltwärts partner countries across the globe. There was a strong sense of enthusiasm about the opportunities it offered for cross-regional networking. Over the five-day conference, a spotlight was shone on the quality and security aspects of the weltwärts programme.

The participants at the partner conference in Berlin in November 2022.

This year marked the first time that the partner conference series for the weltwärts programme was finally able to be held in-person again. It was rounded off with the cross-regional conference in Berlin, which drew invitees from all of the weltwärts organisations based in Germany, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania. The November event saw 105 participants from 30 weltwärts partner countries across the globe come together. Participants grappled with the question of where weltwärts stands two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and also discussed approaches to global challenges like environmental protection, climate change and social inequality. As well as this, specific topics such as quality criteria and questions surrounding visas and security were also on the agenda.

“People over emails”

All attendees were highly appreciative of the opportunity to have direct discussions, network and address important topics. “People over emails” is a piece of feedback that sums up what lies at the heart of the partner conferences. Without these events, direct and personal discussions between the German sending organisations and their international partners would not have been possible, and neither would the exchanges the partner organisations had amongst themselves and with representatives from the Programme Steering Committee.

Additional scheduled activities around the main programme, such as the intercultural evening, give employees of the organisations the chance to experience international exchanges, thereby benefitting all involved. Volunteers, too, benefit indirectly from the partner conferences as a result of improved connections, and directly by picking up tips about the weltwärts volunteer service.

One thing the participants weren’t too keen on, however, was the cold. The weather in Berlin was beautiful but chilly: for the first two days of the conference there was snow – a sight some attendees had never seen before.

Partner conferences reinforce the collaboration and networking between partner organisations from the countries of the Global South and the German implementing organisations. They also provide an excellent opportunity to discuss programme-related issues with representatives from partner organisations and the Programme Steering Committee. A regional partner conference enables the partner organisations in the weltwärts programme to exchange ideas, to network and to meet once again in person. The support and further development of the weltwärts programme in times of a pandemic raise many questions and challenges. The concerns of participants and current developments within weltwärts are therefore the primary focus.

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