weltwärts – a joint operation
The weltwärts programme was launched in 2008 by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The BMZ is responsible for the political governance of the programme and for ensuring its political goals are adhered to. But there is much more than that to weltwärts. It is a programme that is shaped by a large number of governmental and civil-society stakeholders in Germany and in the partner countries. It is, in short, a joint operation. We’ve put together some information about the key stakeholders in weltwärts on the following pages.
Along with the German organisations, the partner organisations have the most important part to play in the implementation of the volunteer service. There are several thousand partner organisations in more than 80 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Eastern Europe. Each has an agreement with its German partner organisation. They host German volunteers and provide them with support during their voluntary service. The roles of the partner organisations, the sending organisations and the volunteers are described in the “Guideline for the development volunteers service weltwärts”.
Since 2013, young people from the partner countries have also been able to volunteer with weltwärts at non-profit organisations in Germany. A number of partner organisations use this new opportunity to send volunteers to Germany through the South-North component.
Sending organisations/hosting organisations (in Germany)
The German organisations implement the programme in accordance with specific conditions in collaboration with the partner organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Eastern Europe. In practice, this means that they send German volunteers to the partner countries and host volunteers from the partner countries in Germany. There are currently a total of 160 German organisations actively involved in the weltwärts programme.
Working with their partner organisations, the German sending organisations ensure the quality of the activities to implement the programme. This includes, for example, the volunteer selection process, the places of assignment, education and mentoring activities and safety standards. The sending organisations are given a seal of quality by an external inspection body as proof that they comply with the quality requirements of the weltwärts programme. The latter are set out in the “Catalogue of quality standards”, which was drawn up in 2014.
All sending organisations have to belong to a quality association. The quality associations support the member sending organisations in their efforts to meet the requirements of the weltwärts programme, thus making an important contribution to quality development. In total, there are six quality associations in the weltwärts programme.
Groups with shared interests
In addition, the German organisations can also be members of a group with shared interests. These groups are responsible for the political representation of the German organisations at the programme steering level. One of their tasks is to collect the ideas and suggestions of and challenges facing the member organisations and their programme partners and to use them as input in the development of the programme.
German volunteers who have returned from assignment can become involved in political representation for volunteers, representing their interests on the programme steering committee. As yet, returnees in the South-North component do not have any political representation.
Programme steering committee
The programme steering committee is the main forum for discussing and making decisions concerning the development and steering of the programme. It consists of representatives of the various stakeholders in the programme: the groups with shared interests, the volunteers and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Engagement Global. The committee meets twice a year.
Contact Points for visa and security matters
The quality associations have contact points for visa and security matters in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Columbia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The contact points support the programme and, in particular, the sending organisations, by assisting them with visa and other residence permit arrangements as well as with safety management in the countries in which volunteers are on assignment. They do this by providing the sending organisations with information concerning visas and safety. They work with the authorities responsible for residency matters and with the German embassies and are on hand to provide them with any information they need.