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No. 003 | May 2022

Partners in weltwärts
Newsletter for partners on the weltwärts programme

Dear weltwärts partners,
in times of a new war in Europe, something nobody would have ever expected until February, it is obvious how vital international partnerships, transnational understanding and a good relationship of trust are beyond national borders. Although – or because – we are all shocked by current developments, we want to assure our partners worldwide of our willingness to collaborate closely. 

The weltwärts programme is based on multilateral co-operative partnerships, in networks and throughout our joint operation. Long-standing partnerships have sustained us during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are still some challenges related to the pandemic and inflation that the programme is facing. But the weltwärts joint operation is working hard to put the programme back on its feet with all its previous strengths. 

A close and open dialogue with one another, the dissemination of information as well as the development and implementation of new ideas are all essential for the advancement of the weltwärts programme. In this issue of our Newsletter, all these themes will be addressed.

Happy reading! Bonne lecture !¡Disfruten de la lectura! Viel Spaß bei der Lektüre!


Natalie Tawamba Tessa, Partner Communications Manager at the weltwärts Coordination Unit and
Lourens de Jong, PSC civil society representative responsible for the partner newsletter
on behalf of the weltwärts joint operation


In this issue


Better work for returnees in South America


The network of South American partner organisations in Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru, Unidos por la montaña, wants to investigate the impact former South-North volunteers have on those around them once they have returned home. To this end, the network will survey its members and put the item on the agenda at upcoming partner conferences. Unidos por la montaña is also considering whether German development programmes could work together to support South-North volunteers with their search for work after their volunteer service is completed. Unidos por la montaña will introduce themselves in the next edition of the partner newsletter. We look forward to the continuing dialogue and more ideas!

New ways to connect


The PFIF network of former volunteers has expanded its online presence to encourage former volunteers to strengthen their connections with each other. Using the network, alumni can discuss topics, engage in dialogue and work together on projects. The following is the link to the network’s website:

Partner conferences are taking place again


During the last two years, opportunities for in-person discussions and dialogue have been greatly reduced by the pandemic. From now on though, we are optimistic that more meetings can take place; the numbers of volunteers going abroad and coming to Germany are on the rise as well. We are especially delighted that the partner conference in Mexico from 28th March to 1st April went ahead. Details of the partner conferences that are currently being planned can be seen below under “Dates”

German implementing organisations look towards the future


Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the weltwärts programme is getting back to some kind of “normality”. 

However, some organisations still have issues and problems with the implementation of the volunteer service. For this reason, in the run-up to the last meeting of the Programme Steering Committee, German implementing organisations were asked about their experience in finding and signing up new volunteers in the 2021-22 cycle and their outlook for 2022-23. 

The survey, entitled “weltwärts in times of COVID-19: mood at the grassroots level and forecasts by implementing organisations”, was commissioned by the shared-interest groups. 100 North-South and 40 South-North implementing organisations took part. The survey found about 65 percent of organisations in the South-North component are confident and planning to go back to normal but 35 percent are hesitant or somewhat impeded. In the North-South component, around 56 percent of the implementing organisations are confident and planning to go back to normal; 44 percent are still hesitant or somewhat impeded. It’s crucial to know that the government and civil-society actors continue to commit to making the programme even stronger. Further details can be found in the short-form minutes of the Programme Steering Committee that is available to the implementing organisations. 


Advertising for weltwärts


Even before the pandemic, the level of interest in the weltwärts programme among young people in Germany was going down. The weltwärts joint operation examined the preferences and needs of young people in order to reverse this trend. In Germany, many people, especially young people, are engaged in environmental and climate protection and want to do something based on these interests during their voluntary service. A working group of the Programme Steering Committee is currently developing ways of emphasising the parts of the weltwärts programme in the Global South and Germany that relate to environmental sustainability. Once this is done, we hope the number of applicants will increase. Of course, we are being careful not to ignore the views and requirements of partners or the other sustainable development goals (SDG).

Through our website, Instagram, Facebook and other media channels, we are emphasising the topic of environmental sustainability. For example, we show places of assignment in environmental protection or climate justice projects. In Germany, we have expanded advertising for weltwärts in recent years, including creating a podcast and advertising on streetcars in major German cities.

Interview with SAwN


In our partner newsletter, we provide weltwärts networks with the opportunity to introduce themselves.

We spoke with Mary Mlambo, founder and chair of the Southern African weltwaerts Network (SAwN), and Graeme Cairns, board member and treasurer of SAwN.

When and for what reason was SAwn founded?

SAwN: The Southern Africa “weltwärts” partner network (SAwN) was founded in 2014 during a “weltwärts” partner conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. SAwN is the first partner network in the programme. Personal dialogue during the partner conferences help to connect with one another and build a network. 

How does SAwN work? What activities or services does SAwN offer?

SAwN: We hold digital and face-to-face conferences with partners and consider how we can best support one another. If we seem unable assist local organisations, we ask for more information from German organisations. We also collect frequently asked questions and identify further training needs for volunteers and mentors. During the annual general assembly, common problems are addressed and further topics are collected from among the participants for discussion sessions.

The general assembly also makes useful information available to all partner organisations. Members can deepen their knowledge of certain topics, employees achieve a better qualification, and organisations can improve their way of working. Each partner has know-how in certain areas that can be shared within the network.

SAwN doesn’t have an office or any employees; we all work on a voluntary basis. We are currently looking for partners and funding opportunities to keep our work going.

What are SAwN´s goals for the next two years?

SAwN: Our vision is to start a South-South dialogue. This would help us to understand one another better in the Global South and strengthen relations between countries of the African Union. We would also like to intensify relations and cooperation with other networks in the Global South, for example with WIN (weltwärts in India), WAWN (West African weltwärts Network) and networks from South America. We are also pushing for partner organisations to get a seat on the Programme Steering Committee though we understand how difficult it would be to represent the interests of all 2,000 weltwärts partner organisations. 


Manual: The SDGs in weltwärts– weltwärts in the SDGs


How can volunteers of the “weltwärts” development service be introduced to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What methods are there to actively prepare them for their service? These and many other questions have been summarised in a manual written by four international experts together with representatives of the ventao quality association.

The manual was produced in 2020 as part of an accompanying measures for the weltwärts programme. In five modules (introduction to the SDGs, biosphere, society, economy, partnership), the context is established and the relevance to the weltwärts programme is explained. The manual sets out a variety of methods which are aimed at practitioners of both the North-South and South-North components. It can be downloaded in English, French, German and Spanish.



→ Next Programme Steering Committee meeting: 01 June 2022

→ Partner conference in Colombia, Villa de Leyva, 18-23 September 2022, organised by DRK Volunta in Hessen in cooperation with Fundación 180 Ramos de Buitrago and Hostelling International Bolivia

→ Partner conference in Bosnia, Sarajevo, 3-7 October 2022, organised by Initiative Christians for Europe with Nadbiskupijski centar za pastoral mladih “Ivan Pavao II”

→ Partner conference in the Philippines, Cebu City, 14-18 November 2022, organised by the Karl Kübel Foundation for Child and Family in cooperation with International Youth Community Services (ijgd), Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pfingstlich Charismatischer Missionen, Global Initiative for Exchange & Development, Vision Help International Care Foundation, Don Bosco, Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation, Bidlisiw Foundation, and Quidan Kaisahan

→ Partner conference in Germany, Berlin, 21-25 November 2022, organised by the Association of Young Volunteers in cooperation with the Khmer for Khmer Organisation

→ Partner conference in Rwanda, Kigali, May-June 2023, organised by DRK Volunta in Hessen in cooperation with Partnerschaftsverein Rheinland-Pfalz / Rwanda.


Service für Entwicklungsinitiativen - Service for Development Initiatives
weltwärts Coordination Unit
Tel. +49 228 20 717-2232
To the weltwärts website

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Service für Entwicklungsinitiativen - Service for Development Initiatives
Tel. +49 228 20 717-0
To the Engagement Global website

The headquarters of the organisation are located in Bonn
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Managers authorised to represent the organisation: Dr. Jens Kreuter, Ingrid Arenz
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Responsible for content weltwärts joint operation, represented by Astrid Neumann (weltwärts Coordination Unit) and Lourens de Jong (ventao)

Editorial team Natalie Tawamba Tessa (weltwärts Coordination Unit) and Lourens de Jong (ventao)

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