Who we are
The development volunteer service weltwärts was founded in 2008 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since then, more than 34,000 volunteers have been sent from Germany and dedicated themselves to development projects. Since 2013 young people from partner countries have also been able to do development volunteer service in Germany. By the end of 2017, 1,381 young people had made use of this opportunity.
Weltwärts focuses on joint intercultural learning. The funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has given all interested young people between the ages of 18 and 28 the opportunity to participate in the learning service. The majority has just finished school and completed their A levels (Abitur). They volunteer for six to 24 months at a local partner organisation in education, health, environment, agriculture, culture or human rights. They are integrated in the partner organisation, support the employees in their work and gradually assume their own responsibilities. The volunteers gain experience abroad and acquire knowledge of the language and personal competencies. After their service, the returning volunteers continue to dedicate themselves to development work in their homelands. As a result, they bring their experiences back to society and make a personal contribution to a fairer world through their assignment abroad.
The places of assignment benefit from the fact that young people who are interested in development subjects and cultural exchange support their projects with their own experiences and points of view. In addition to the practical work during their service, the volunteers often also support the projects to which they were assigned after their return, for example, by providing information or collecting donations.
Besides the volunteers, roughly 180 active sending organisations and numerous partner organisations in the countries of assignment are the main actors at weltwärts. They implement the programme in close collaboration and make a considerable contribution to its design.
Since 2012, weltwärts has been combined with other institutions, programmes and initiatives in domestic development work under the umbrella of Engagement Global gGmbH. Engagement Global forwards the subsidies to the sending organisations in Germany and advises them on the implementation of the programme.