Introducing weltwärts

What’s so special about weltwärts?


What’s so special about weltwärts?

weltwärts is all about engagement in development issues, global learning and interacting as equals. It brings people together in and from Germany, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Eastern Europe. The programme focuses on non-formal learning on a mutual basis and strengthening of international partnerships.

The programme, whose name translates as “worldwards”, was launched in 2008 by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support young people looking to take action for the good of our One World. Since then, going “worldwards” has been possible through the programme’s development volunteer service.

Each sub-programme has a comprehensive quality system and receives 75% of its funding from the BMZ. The remaining share comes from the civil-society organisations that implement the service. The administrative and financial coordination of the programme is carried out by Engagement Global’s weltwärts Coordination Unit.

The weltwärts volunteer service is a joint operation run by the BMZ, civil-society organisations and past volunteers, with decisions regarding the steering of the programme taken jointly.

weltwärts - it’s a two-way thing!

In 2013, the South-North component of the weltwärts volunteer service was introduced in order to promote interaction on an equal footing. As a result, young people from the weltwärts partner countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Eastern Europe can now go on assignment in Germany.

weltwärts volunteer service

The weltwärts development volunteer service is aimed at young people from Germany between the ages of 18 and 28 who are interested in volunteering for several months (usually a year) in a country in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania or Easter Europe (North-South component), and at young people who come from those regions, are between 18 and 29 and would like to volunteer in Germany (South-North component). Promotion of global learning, engagement in development issues and international solidarity is a core aim of both components. Apart from a transfer of experience and knowledge, the organisations involved in Germany and the partner countries also benefit from continuing contact with returnees.

I’d like to do volunteer service with weltwärts.

How can I continue my involvement after voluntary service?

Offering places on the volunteer service: information for organisations.

What is…

Agenda 2030 and the SDGs?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all UN member states in September 2015. It sets out the belief that the challenges facing our globalised world can only be solved in a concerted effort, which is why it applies to all countries in our One World. At the heart of Agenda 2030 are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals cover areas in which all people and countries need to take action. The aim is to achieve them together by 2030.


Global learning

On the weltwärts programme, global learning is considered to be learning that promotes global sustainable development. weltwärts participants develop and build on skills that enable them to contribute to worldwide sustainable development - both during and after the programme.

The Council of Europe defines global education as “... development education, human rights education, education for sustainability, education for peace and conflict prevention and intercultural education; being the global dimensions of education for citizenship.”

weltwärts: our terminology

Development policy/cooperation

Germany’s development cooperation seeks to give people around the world the freedom to live an independent life without material hardship. It incorporates all initiatives by private and public stakeholders that are committed to achieving sustainable development – for shaping globalisation in an equitable way is a responsibility that encompasses all of society, as clearly stipulated in the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.

Germany’s development policy responds to this conviction by cooperating with its partner countries, serving in international organisations, and above all supporting non-governmental stakeholders in the private sector and civil society. In doing so, the German government sees the countries and organisations with which it cooperates in this field not as beneficiaries, but as partners. The term “development cooperation” reflects this approach and describes these close forms of cooperation much more aptly than the previously used term “development aid”. For detailed information on Germany’s approach to development cooperation, go to

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Non-formal learning

weltwärts sees itself as a non-formal educational programme, in which learning processes mostly take place when young people interact/live/work with people in their country of assignment or with another youth group, supported by organised educational measures.

weltwärts: our terminology

A list of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), written across brightly coloured squares
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Agenda 2030

Like to find out more? Feel free to contact Engagement Global