Positive findings once again

Report on fourth volunteer survey published

Following the 2013, 2014 and 2015 surveys, the fourth survey looked at the weltwärts volunteers who returned from assignment in 2016. The findings corroborate the previous years’ results for the most part, with 94% of volunteers again stating that they were satisfied with their time on the weltwärts programme. A particular pleasing result was that the volunteers’ overall satisfaction with places of assignment was higher than ever before (86%).

Each year, there are more than 3,300 North-South volunteers in service in around 60 host countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Southeast Europe, sent there by approximately 160 different organisations. An annual survey by Umfragezentrum Bonn provides a detailed evaluation of their experience on the programme. 1,552 volunteers participated in the latest survey, putting the response rate at 47%. The reason for this being several percentage points lower than in the past two years (when it was 57% and 62% respectively) is very probably the fact that other surveys were conducted at the same time as part of a long-term evaluation of the weltwärts programme.

Heartening level of overall satisfaction

Overall, the volunteers remain extremely satisfied with their time on the weltwärts programme. The findings of the four surveys so far (from 2013 to 2016) show that the volunteers have been almost consistently positive in their assessment of the weltwärts programme. The previous year’s slight increase in the share of very satisfied respondents was maintained in 2016.

Selected findings for 2016

  • 94% were quite satisfied to very satisfied overall with their time on the programme.
  • More than 70 % of the respondents considered it very likely that they would recommend a weltwärts assignment in the country they went to and voluntary service on the weltwärts programme to their friends.
  • 94% were very or quite satisfied with the support they received from their sending organisation during the preparation phase.
  • 86% of the volunteers were very or quite satisfied with their place of assignment overall.
  • The seminars (preparatory, mid-term and returnee seminars) offered by the sending and host organisations to accompany the programme were considered (very) useful overall by the overwhelming majority of the volunteers.
  • The findings show that voluntary service on the weltwärts programme is an enriching experience and the participants benefit in a variety of ways – e.g. in terms of their own personal development but also their openness towards other cultures and motivation to play an active role in society.
  • Returning participants are extremely willing to continue volunteering beyond their weltwärts voluntary service.
  • 67% of the returnees who are not currently engaged in voluntary work stated that they wished to work in the anti-racism/asylum/migration field in the future.

Having said that, the volunteer survey also highlights areas in which there is room for improvement in the volunteers’ view. For instance, respondents’ willingness to recommend their own place of assignment and their satisfaction with the preparation they received for their specific job at the place of assignment were slightly lower. The responses in the open comments section concerning the reasons for volunteers being (quite) dissatisfied with their place of assignment overall highlight under-stimulation and lack of integration at the place of assignment as the key causes of dissatisfaction.

The full report can be found on the weltwärts website. It provides a detailed overview of the findings, statistics and the demographics of the respondents in the volunteer survey.

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