What is weltwärts?
"weltwärts" is a voluntary service programme supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). "weltwärts" is a learning service, aimed at young people between 18-28 years. In contrast to a more specialized service aimed at professionals, no preexisting knowledge in the working areas is required. "weltwärts" was launched in 2008.
The programme has greatly developed in recent years. By now, 180 organisations send over 3000 volunteers to countries of the Global South. The volunteers service can only take part in countries that on the OECD/DAC list of as socalled "developing countries".
For further information please see here www.weltwärts.de
How we run weltwärts
We send around 15 young people each year to our partners in Cameroon, Ghana, India and Macedonia. We have been cooperating with our partner organisations for many years.
If you are interested in partnering with us, feel free to contact us.
Contact: Wilma Raabe firstname.lastname@example.org
In our view the weltwärts-voluntary service means:
… to actively engage in a non-governmental organisation working for Human Rights, against discrimination and war, or for a sustainable relationship with nature
… to make a difference
… to contribute towards connecting North and South and East and West; making this connection tangible and concrete through personal experiences and thus, making an important contribution towards a more just world united in solidarity
… to become an ambassador of one’s own way of living and transfer what has been learned from the new environment to one’s familiar surroundings upon return
… to go into a foreign country for several month, to venture into new horizons, to make new experiences and outgrow oneself
… to acquire more independence and find one’s own place
… ein Stück Selbständigkeit erlangen und den eigenen Platz finden
… to learn something new, which can be used for social engagements or professional life later
… with KURVE Wustrow voluntary service means peace service!
Who are the partner organisations?
Our partner organisations are often connected to social movements and work mostly at the grassroots level, meaning at the base of a society. Our partners work in the field of human rights (especially women's rights), sustainable agriculture and permaculture, environmental education and peace work.
For more information about our partner organisations (currently only available in German), please see here.
Since 2004 our volunteer programme gets certified by Quifd (Quifd = Quality in voluntary services, www.quifd.de).
Heike Humburg volunteered with KURVE Wustrow at a farm near Vadodara in India. She describes in a newspaper interview what went through her head just before leaving. She points out that “we, volunteers, are mainly going there to learn something from them”.
Her article can be read in German here.
Padagogical Support and Guidance
For most of the young people the voluntary service is the first long-term stay abroad. Many things are new and unfamiliar. It is not always easy to find your way in a new context. That is why a comprehensive support structure is important for the volunteer – before, during and after the service.
The Preparation Seminar – Getting ready for the voluntary service
Before departure, there are always a lot of questions and uncertainties. Mostly, the time prior to the stay abroad is marked by expectations, hopes and sometimes also fears. That is why KURVE Wustrow offers a 10 day preparation seminar.
“The seminar gave me quite a lot of courage, more confidence in myself, and taught me many things that seem very useful. My anticipation is growing and I am more and more excited, but I am guessing that is part of it.”, evaluates the volunteer Leoni her pre-departure seminar at KURVE Wustrow.
- Becoming aware of one's own hopes and fears concerning the voluntary programme
- The historical relationship between the country of origin and host country (getting a postcolonial understanding)
- Understanding one's own privileges in regards to race, gender, class, etc.
- Information on the host organisation and possible expectations
- Developing strategies for personal crisis management, as well as nonviolent conflict transformation
- Fostering contact between the volunteers and making a mutual support network possible and sustainable
The Midterm Seminar – reflecting on first experiences
After half a year abroad, volunteers attend a mid-term seminar. This helps to reflect on experiences already made and gives new perspectives on these. The midterm seminar in India is organised by KURVE Wustrow. Volunteers in Cameroon attend the midterm seminar offered by Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World). The volunteers in Macedonia attend the seminar offered by Friedenskreis Halle.
• Share experiences
• Discuss problems or conflicts and develop possible solutions
• Reflecting on the experiences of priviledges
• Engaging with socio-political questions in Germany
• What comes next? First plans for the future
The Return Seminar – End evaluation and being back at home
For the most part, time abroad passes much faster than expected. Returning home is not always easy. Having an exchange with people who have had similar experiences is helpful in this situation.
“Here, you can share your thoughts with other KURVE-volunteers and mentally process everything. That makes everything a little more intense, because you are actively dealing with everything that has happened. Additionally, you find out from everyone else how the year affected them.”
• Dealing with your experiences abroad and upon your return
• Personal stock taking and comparison with original objectives
• Reflect on the perception of your environment in your host country and the – potentially changed – view about your country of origin
• How and where can you employ your newly gained experiences and acquired knowledge?
• You will receive support for your first steps to develop perspectives and project ideas