The aim of the annual volunteer survey is to constantly evolve the programme for the volunteers and participating organisations. The very positive results of the latest North-South volunteer survey show that the programme was carried out successfully and that those responsible for implementing it were able to overcome the major challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The assignments took place in extraordinary conditions. Due to the pandemic, all volunteers had to return to Germany early in the spring of 2020. Most of them were given leave when they returned but many took advantage of the opportunity to engage in development volunteering work in Germany.
Despite the situation, 94% of the North-South volunteers in the survey were very or quite satisfied with their assignment. Slightly fewer were “very satisfied” and slightly more “quite satisfied” than in the previous year. Even though the volunteers’ expectations could not be completely fulfilled because of the pandemic, the high overall satisfaction rating indicates that the programme was successful in its efforts to provide satisfying volunteer service assignments, despite the difficult circumstances.
The annual surveys have repeatedly confirmed that volunteers are prepared well for their assignments. 95% were (very) satisfied with the preparation they were given – a remarkable result considering that the crisis and emergency management measures (which are also part of the preparation activities) were well and truly put to the test.
88% of the volunteers were (very) satisfied with their place of assignment – the best result since the surveys began. The feedback in the survey also confirms that the instruction given to volunteers at their place of assignment has improved over the years.
There was a drop in satisfaction levels when it came to volunteers’ social integration in their host country. As a result of the restrictions arising from the pandemic, only 75% of the volunteers were satisfied with their contacts outside of their working environment (as opposed to 80%).
In the 2020 survey, 94% of the North-South volunteers stated that participating in the weltwärts programme had had a positive effect on their global awareness.
The volunteers felt that participating in the programme had influenced their personal development, with 97% saying the effect was (very) positive. In a similar result to the previous year, 94% felt that their voluntary service had a (very) positive effect on their global awareness. 91% saw a (very) positive effect on their interest in social and political issues – another record.
The survey included some new questions concerning the indirect effect of volunteers’ assignments on their family and friends. Almost all participants (99%) shared their experiences with people in Germany. 94% felt that these conversations had resulted in their friends and family gaining a realistic idea of people’s lives in their country of assignment.
Some 3,300 volunteers were invited to take part in the survey and 58% did so. The survey population was largely the same as in previous surveys. Almost all the respondents (98%) had an “Abitur” or “Fachhochschulreife” school-leaving qualification. 83% joined weltwärts straight after school. The share of volunteers with a migrant background increased to 15%. The share of volunteers with an impairment or disability was 2.2%.