The weltwärts volunteer service is a joint operation involving governmental and civil-society organisations.
For weltwärts, the “joint operation” concept means that all stakeholders in the volunteer service can contribute to the shaping and evolution of the programme. This is true both in terms of conducting the programme and ensuring and developing the quality of the service. The weltwärts volunteer service is thus based on shared responsibility.
The volunteer service is conducted by the approximately 160 sending organisations in Germany and around 2,000 international partners, sharing responsibility at the local level. Their tasks include, for example, selecting volunteers, performing education and mentoring activities and ensuring compliance with the quality standards. The German implementing organisations apply to Engagement Global for the government funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
As the provider of the funding, the BMZ is responsible for the political oversight of the programme. It ensures that the weltwärts programme meets the requirements set by parliament and the German government.
The BMZ has entrusted Engagement Global with the task of administrating and coordinating the weltwärts programme. Engagement Global has established the weltwärts Coordination Unit for this purpose.
The Programme Steering Committee (PSC) is the central body through which the programme is managed and evolved jointly. It convenes twice a year and discusses and makes decisions concerning overarching aspects of programme development. The committee currently has 15 members: representatives of the BMZ, Engagement Global, the German implementing organisations’ shared-interest groups and the political representation group for former participants in international volunteering schemes (PFIF).
weltwärts embodies quality and safety in voluntary service. In line with this notion, work processes are continuously evolved and assessed. All implementing organisations in Germany are members of a quality association and are assessed by one of two independent certification institutes: Quifd - Agency for Quality in Voluntary Services or RAL Gütegemeinschaft Internationaler Freiwilligendienst. The weltwärts organisations in Germany and the partner countries are jointly responsible for ensuring compliance with the weltwärts catalogue of quality standards, which was drawn up by all the stakeholders.
The stakeholders regularly share ideas on how quality on the weltwärts programme could be enhanced.
The Programme Steering Committee is composed of 15 members, who represent governmental and civil society stakeholders. The BMZ has two seats on the committee and Engagement Global’s weltwärts Coordination Unit has three. The implementing organisations in Germany have formed four shared interest groups, which share a total of eight seats. An additional two seats are held by the political representation group for former participants in international volunteering schemes (PFIF).
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
The BMZ is the arm of the federal government responsible for German development cooperation activities. It set up the weltwärts programme with partners from civil society in order to encourage young people to get actively involved in development. On the PSC, the BMZ is responsible for the political oversight of weltwärts and ensuring that the programme maintains its development focus.
weltwärts Coordination Unit
The weltwärts Coordination Unit has three seats on the PSC. The unit is part of Engagement Global and has two roles in the weltwärts joint operation. It provides specialist and conceptual advice on weltwärts-specific questions to the BMZ and is responsible for the financial and administrative management of the programme. Additionally, it assesses, advises and supports all participating civil-society organisations involved in the weltwärts programme.
Representatives of civil society
The weltoffen im AKLHÜ e.V. shared-interest group is an ideologically neutral alliance of implementing organisations in Germany, which together support some 1,500 volunteers per year. It consists of organisations of different sizes and structures from across Germany and represents the programme-related interests of its member organisations.
The organisations represented by the ventao shared-interest group vary in size, method and focus. The group’s aim is to help its members organise high-quality learning and exchange services for young people in the field of development cooperation while still retaining their different approaches. The majority of ventao’s member organisations work with their partners abroad on other projects too.
Protestant Forum for Voluntary Services in Development Cooperation
The Protestant Forum for Voluntary Services in Development Cooperation (eFeF) represents organisations from the Protestant context. It strengthens collaboration between its member organisations and is intended to help them jointly identify and advocate topics and viewpoints concerning the weltwärts programme.
Katholischer Verbund Internationale Freiwilligendienste (Catholic association of international volunteer services)
The Katholische Verbund Internationale Freiwilligendienste is a group of organisations active in the field of international volunteer service programmes. It represents its members’ interests in dealings with policymakers, religious bodies, government and society as well as fostering quality-development measures by the organisations. It also brings information together and works to expand international voluntary services.
Political representation group for former participants in international volunteering schemes
The political representation group for former participants in international volunteering schemes (PFIF) consists of returnee volunteers who wish to draw on their experiences during voluntary service to help shape the weltwärts programme for the future. PFIF campaigns for increased political participation of returnees and their involvement in decision-making, organises educational and networking meetings and brings current issues to the agenda at all levels of the programme. Any volunteer can join PFIF after they return from service.
The PSC installs work groups to draw up proposals on specific topics, as required. These proposals then serve as the basis for the PSC’s decisions concerning the continuing development of the programme. Past work groups have dealt with such topics as the introduction of the South-North component, modification of the general quality standards and inclusion.
Current work groups
Consultative group on processes
The consultative group on processes is the only permanent work group. On behalf of the PSC, its members draw up proposals for ways to simplify and improve processes on the weltwärts programme.
Catalogue of quality standards
This work group has been tasked with developing a joint catalogue of quality standards for all organisations that participate in the South-North and North-South components of weltwärts.
Programme logic model
The Programme logic model work group works on the continuing development of the theory of change for the weltwärts programme. Its task is to produce a model of the outcomes of weltwärts and ensure their measurability.
South-North accompanying measures for the programme
The Work group on South-North accompanying measures for the programme supports organisations’ pilot projects aimed at evolving the South-North component further. Programme-steering recommendations are to be derived from the projects, which will run until 2022.
This work group’s task is to find ways to integrate cross-organisation inclusion activities more into the weltwärts programme. To this end, it draws up methods and possibilities for a more inclusive and diverse volunteer service and develops programme-steering recommendations.
Programme Steering Committee documents
ince 2019 the PSC has emailed extracts from the agendas of upcoming meetings to all organisations on the weltwärts programme to keep them up to date with the committee’s main activities. Written summaries of the outcomes of the meetings will be published.
Some international weltwärts partners have formed regional networks as a way of improving knowledge-sharing between themselves and with the organisations involved in Germany. The networks represent their members’ interests, link up with networks on other continents and provide input for the Programme Steering Committee.
Southern African weltwaerts Network
SAwN is a network of weltwärts partners in South African countries. To date, its membership consists of organisations from South Africa, Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Zambia.
Red Ecuador is a network of weltwärts partners in Ecuador. It organises an annual “Día weltwärts”, providing a networking and knowledge-sharing opportunity for weltwärts organisations and volunteers in Ecuador.
West African weltwärts Network/Réseau Ouest Africain Weltwärts
WAwN/ROAW is a network of weltwärts partners in West African countries. So far, it includes organisations from Togo, Ghana, Benin and Cameroon. The network was founded at the cross-organisation partner conference in Togo in 2018.
Unidos Por La Montaña
Unidos Por La Montaña is a network of weltwärts partners in the Andean countries. So far, organisations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia have joined the network.