Volunteers from Germany
Profile and expectations of volunteers from Germany
- Volunteers from Germany are young people between the ages of 18 and 28. The majority of them are just under 20 years old and have completed their A levels (Abitur). A few have already completed vocational training. They bring along good basic knowledge of the language spoken in the host country, but usually must improve their linguistic skills in the first few months.
- The volunteers were selected because they are open to the world, ready to learn and capable of working in a team. They would like to learn about the living conditions in the partner counties and support the projects of the host organisations fully and entirely.
- They have prepared for their volunteer service and taken part in a preparation seminar by their sending organisation.
The majority of the volunteers continue to be involved in development policy after their return to Germany. Many volunteers remain connected with their project and support it from Germany.
There are clearly defined selection criteria that are coordinated between the sending and hosting organisation. They include personal suitability for the weltwärts learning service, the suitability for the respective assignment and the willingness to do work after returning. Furthermore, target groups that have been under-represented in the programme hitherto are taken into account, including, e.g., people with disabilities, migrants and applicants with a vocational degree. The host organisation usually includes the place of assignment in the selection.
Before departure, the volunteers receive information and support with regard to insurance questions, the host country's compliance with the legal requirements and health care (vaccinations, important local addresses, codes of conduct). The sending organisation ensures that a residency permit (e.g. visa) is provided if it is required for volunteer service. The volunteers have sufficient international health, liability and accident insurance.
The volunteers are prepared for their development learning service by the sending organisation. In the seminar, the following contents are treated, among others:
- Global connections, sustainable development and individual responsibility, action options in the global context
- Dedication to development (also after return)
- Principles of health care and safety
- Introduction to the reality of life and work in the host country and the independent role as volunteer.
The sending and hosting organisation hold interim seminars during the volunteer's stay. They should help the volunteer to reflect on what he or she has experienced and to overcome problems that have occurred. The following contents are discussed:
- Development commitment
- Global learning
- Handling of challenges
The sending organisations hold an obligatory return seminar with the following contents:
- Reflection on what has been experienced in the completed service
- Exchange with other volunteers
- Information about possibilities for development work in Germany
The sending organisations in collaboration with the partner organisation and the place of assignment issue the volunteer a testimonial or a certificate after their service.
The volunteers prepare a document on their time at the place of assignment after returning. This takes the form of a report, film or commentary. The sending organisation evaluates the volunteer service with the volunteers and the partner organisation on this basis. Furthermore, programme-side surveys of the volunteers are conducted.
Many volunteers are deeply moved by their service and would like to pass on their experiences and remain involved. The weltwärts programme supports this dedication and provides funding, e.g., in order to conduct informative events at schools.