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German impressions

This year, about 250 weltwärts volunteers from foreign countries will come to Germany. Last year, about 150 started working here. They are typically seconded to institutions that are active in the fields of social welfare, environmental protection or international development.
Lionel Dizdzi from Mozambique is a weltwärts volunteer in Germany. Thomas Ecke/Engagement Global Lionel Dizdzi from Mozambique is a weltwärts volunteer in Germany.

weltwärts was started by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2008. Initially, the idea was to give young Germans an opportunity to contribute to projects in partner countries. In the meantime, the concept has been extended to enabling young people from Africa, Asia and Latin America to gain experience in Germany and network with partners here.

Anne Akuété of Brot für die Welt/Evangeli­scher Entwicklungsdienst, a Protestant charity, appreciates the two-way concept: “Exchange in a spirit of partnership allows both sides to see beyond one’s nose and find common perspectives.” This year, 12 foreign volunteers will join her organisation. So far, the weltwärts volunteers in ­Germany are from 29 different countries. Last year, the largest groups came from Peru, India and Ecuador. All participants work in jobs that are approved by the Bundesfreiwilligendienst, Germany’s national volunteer programme. The compensation includes food, accommodation and a monthly allowance of € 200 to € 300. Those who would like to apply to become weltwärts volunteers in 2016 are requested to contact zentralstelle-sued-nord@engagement-global.de.

Since 2008, almost 24,000 German volunteers have left for foreign destinations. The average age was not quite 20 years. About 40 % went to Latin America, a bit more than 20 % to Africa and a little fewer than 20 % to Asia. Apart from food and accommodation, the German volunteers get about € 100 pocket money. Application deadlines vary according to the agencies the volunteers work for, but most of them expect the volunteers to leave Germany in summer. Applicants should get in touch one year ahead. (EG)


The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to transform economies in an environmentally sound manner, leaving no one behind.