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The principle of partnership in the weltwärts programme

Cooperation in a spirit of partnership – a defining characteristic and goal of the weltwärts programme

Stakeholders and organisations from numerous countries work together on the weltwärts programme. Their collaboration is based on common goals and requires certain conditions to be in place: clarity with regard to tasks, responsibilities and competencies; reliability; ability to consider various viewpoints and a willingness to learn through dialogue with others. 

The 2030 Agenda adopted by the international community stresses that global problems can only be solved in a concerted effort involving all relevant stakeholders in society. The Agenda sets out to create a new global partnership, based on government, industry and civil society.

Civil society cooperation on the weltwärts programme

A high level of civil society cooperation is crucial to partnerships of this kind. In the weltwärts programme, civil society organisations from Germany and several thousand organisations in the partner countries in which development cooperation takes place work together.
The partnerships vary considerably in terms of background, duration, structure, available resources and approach. Some of the organisations have been collaborating in volunteer services for decades. Others have added activities to their partnership, for example sending and hosting in development cooperation, or are just embarking on new collaborations.

The partnership between the organisations is based on joint or complementary aims and interests. It is assumed that both sides benefit from the partnership.

Preconditions for cooperation in a spirit of partnership

Personal contact and mutual trust play a significant role in this partnership. In terms of implementing the weltwärts programme, this means:

  • clarity with regard to tasks, responsibilities and powers,
  • reliable cooperation and communication and
  • consideration of the various viewpoints and willingness to learn through dialogue.

Partnership in the weltwärts programme is both a hallmark and an objective of the programme’s stakeholders. The intention is not that the structural disparities inherent in development cooperation be ignored or denied but that they be given critical consideration. They form the basis and the framework for the process of mutual learning between the volunteers and the employees in the organisations.

Forms of cooperation

In the volunteer services that are part of the programme, partnership takes a variety of forms:

  • in the day-to-day running of the volunteer services,
  • in the dialogue between the partners,
  • in the planning for collaborations and joint projects and
  • in communication concerning the design of the programme by means of information-sharing and discussion, e.g. at partner conferences and in partner networks.

The medium to long-term aim of the weltwärts programme is to strengthen the partnerships between organisations in the partner countries and Germany through their collaboration in the volunteer services.