weltwärts is as vibrant and varied as the civil-society partner organisations that turn the programme into reality. Each and every placement is only possible thanks to the commitment of and partnership between organisations in Germany and Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe or Oceania.
Some 160 implementing organisations and over 2,000 partners in the Global South are currently part of the weltwärts network. Maintaining and expanding partnerships as a means of joint action for sustainable development is a core objective of the weltwärts programme.
Every year, there is a new weltwärts volunteer cohort bringing something special to the network. Approximately 3,500 young people from Germany complete development volunteer service in countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania or Eastern Europe through the North-South component each year. At the same time, as many as 800 young people come from these regions to Germany to do South-North service.
Partnership-based collaboration between the organisations involved is essential to be able to offer places jointly and conduct the weltwärts programme. This collaboration ranges form joint selection of suitable volunteers to providing education and mentoring for them.
Only organisations in Germany are entitled to submit applications to the BMZ and thus able to provide the partnership with the German government funding of up to 75 percent of the total costs. As such, the German implementing organisations have a particular responsibility towards the German government. They have to prove the programme is being properly conducted as well as managing and accounting for the public money.
To become weltwärts implementing organisations, German organisations must undergo an assessment by Engagement Global. Approved implementing organisations are then certified every two to three years.
Further information on implementing organisations’ tasks can be found on the following page and in the “Guideline for the development volunteers service ‘weltwärts’”, which sets out the basis for the programme:
“Partners in the Global South” are the organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania that perform tasks to help run the weltwärts volunteer service. Working together with the German implementing organisations, they organise the placements and support the volunteers.
On the weltwärts programme, “implementing organisations” are the German civil-society organisations that work with partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Oceania to run the volunteer service. They will have been successfully assessed as a weltwärts implementing organisation by Engagement Global and are thus entitled to submit applications.
The implementing organisations and their partners in the Global South conclude a written agreement concerning their collaboration on the volunteer service to ensure they give the volunteers the best possible preparation and support for their assignment. A key part of the agreement is the educational plan.
Education and mentoring activities for North-South volunteers
In particular, these activities include:
Examination of development-related issues using global learning methods
Introduction to life and work in the host country
Information on preventive healthcare and the general security situation
Language lessons, if applicable
Exploration of the volunteer role
Reflection on experiences during voluntary service
Encouragement of and support for returnee engagement
Networking among returnees and between them and appropriate organisations and initiatives
There are 25 seminar days for education and mentoring activities for North-South volunteers:
Twelve days of orientation and preparation, of which at least seven in Germany
Five days mid-term seminar
Five days returnee seminar
Three flexible days
The compulsory seminar days do not include language lessons.
Detailed information concerning education and mentoring can be found in the “Guideline for the development volunteers service ‘weltwärts’”
Education and mentoring activities for South-North volunteers
The education and mentoring activities for South-North volunteers comprise preparation and follow-up both in their home countries and in Germany. These activities consist of several seminars, the content of which is decided on together by the implementing organisation and its partner in the Global South.
At least 25 seminar days must be held in Germany and five of them must be for the political education seminar.
Preparation takes place both in the volunteers’ home countries and at a welcome seminar at the start of their placement in Germany. It enables the volunteers to develop an understanding of their assignment and living conditions in Germany and to consider global issues. The German implementing organisation can provide administrative and/or content-related support for the preparation activities in the home country.
The accompanying seminars are an opportunity for volunteers to reflect on their experiences, life in Germany and their work at their place of assignment as well as to consider intercultural and development-related issues.
Political education seminar
Since the weltwärts South-North component is run as part of Germany’s Federal Volunteer Service, the programme always includes a five-day seminar in Germany on political education. This seminar is not conducted by the weltwärts implementing organisations themselves. Instead, they book it with one of the training centres that deliver these seminars. Engagement Global keeps the implementing organisations updated about seminars being offered. The seminar registration forms can be found in the download section.
This seminar is an opportunity for volunteers to reflect at the end of their assignment as well as preparing them for their return to their home country and giving them ideas for ways to continue their civic engagement after voluntary service.
Follow-up activities in the home country
After their return, the volunteers receive support from the partners in the Global South. Together, they explore links between the volunteers’ experiences in Germany and their lives in their home country. Another aim is to demonstrate possibilities for civic engagement in community or development-related areas.