The survey results indicate that the vast majority of weltwärts South-North volunteers rate their overall service and its individual components as being positive. Most of those surveyed rate the preparation phase, the activities in their place of assignment, the professional and personal support and the educational follow-up as being good to very good. The survey also reveals that weltwärts has a lasting impact!
As in the previous year, weltwärts service for the 2020/2021 volunteer cohort took place under very unusual conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic and some severe entry restrictions meant that many volunteers from the Global South within this cohort could not participate in the programme as planned, or arrived with a delay of several months in some cases.
There were nevertheless 94 per cent of volunteers who were generally (very) satisfied with their volunteering experience. Around two thirds of them rate their experience as highly satisfactory. Very high levels of satisfaction were also recorded in relation to the individual aspects of the volunteer service investigated in the survey. 93 per cent of volunteers were generally (very) satisfied with their place of assignment. A large majority of volunteers felt that there were sufficient opportunities at their place of assignment in Germany to become involved and actively participate (91 per cent).
99 per cent of those surveyed felt they had developed in a personal capacity and had gained a better understanding of global interdependencies.
weltwärts has a lasting impact
The previous surveys had already shown that participants in the South-North component benefit from their volunteer service in a number of ways. The results in the latest survey are actually slightly higher. 99 per cent of those surveyed felt they had developed in a personal capacity, and 97 per cent confirm that they have gained a better understanding of global interdependencies. 94 per cent stated that their volunteering gave them increased motivation for further development-related engagement, two per cent more than last year.
The weltwärts programme’s volunteer service is an experience abroad that naturally extends beyond the place of assignment and the work environment. In this respect, too, most volunteers see their volunteer service as a positive experience: 91 per cent are very or fairly satisfied with their social inclusion and personal contact with people in Germany.
The volunteers were also asked if they faced threatening or dangerous situations during their time in Germany. Most of the surveyed volunteers never felt threatened, discriminated against or sexually harassed at any point during their time in Germany (58 per cent). Albeit 29 per cent did state that they experienced situations during their time in Germany in which they were threatened or suffered from racist discrimination. Eight per cent reported specific personal threats.
The feedback from those who experienced such problematic situations indicates that the weltwärts programme’s personal mentoring and assistance also functions well in critical and/or crisis situations: 89 % of volunteers who experienced one of these problematic situations nevertheless confirm that the mentoring and attentiveness of the various partners resulted in them feeling well supported during their volunteer service.
The volunteer survey is conducted to ensure continuous improvement of weltwärts as a developmental learning and exchange service. From November 2020 to mid December 2021 there were 350 volunteers from the Global South involved in volunteering in Germany. Of these volunteers, 150 (43 per cent) from 40 countries took part in the survey. The most frequently represented countries were Colombia, Bolivia, South Africa, Peru and Argentina. The level of formal education was high: 58 per cent of the volunteers already had a university degree. Their average age was 25. A total of over 3600 international volunteers have already completed their weltwärts service in Germany since introduction of the South-North component. In 2021, a total of 541 volunteers completed their service in Germany.