Innovative Practice 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

An inclusive international volunteer programme

WeltWegWeiser is a service point for international voluntary services in Austria. It was founded by Jugend Eine Welt, an Austrian NGO specialized in development aid. In 2017, WeltWegWeiser launched a pilot programme to create a framework for inclusive volunteer assignments in low income countries for people with disabilities. They provide financial support and training to ‘deployment organizations’ (groups that send volunteers abroad) to work in the areas of social affairs, development cooperation, and human rights. Between 2017 and 2018, eight Austrians with disabilities volunteered abroad in places like integrative schools and confidence training for children.

“People with all kind of disabilities can go abroad as volunteers to work for a better world. Of course, you must cope with unfamiliar everyday life in a new and different environment. I succeeded in doing so, which was very good for my self-confidence.”

Erwin Buchbergera former volunteer and now team member of WeltWegWeiser
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:WeltWegWeiser
Organisation:Jugend Eine Welt
Country
of Implementation
Austria

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Currently, the project is working with nine deployment agencies in Austria.
  • In 2018 there were 54 volunteer options available.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

There are few inclusive and accessible overseas volunteering positions for people with disabilities.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Erwin volunteering in a school.

Copyright

In 2017, WeltWegWeiser launched the pilot programme together with two Austrian deployment organizations, “Grenzenlos” and “Internationale Freiwilligeneinsatze” specializing in matching volunteers from Austria with NGOs in developing countries. WeltWegWeiser does not offer its own volunteer assignments, but rather acts as an independent service point for people with disabilities interested in volunteering abroad. The organization advises interested people on suitable volunteer jobs based on their individual skills and personal interests – with respect to their disabilities. A voluntary service takes 3 to 12 months. Tasks include teaching, working with the elderly, administration, peer-to-peer-training and building websites, among others.

To help solve organizational barriers, WeltWegWeiser provides financial support in two ways. First, it provides a financial contribution of €70 month to the volunteers to cover costs associated with their foreign assignment. Second, the deployment organizations receive financing to help them become more accessible, such as the production of easy read materials and websites, workplace adaption, or to cover the additional costs for health care insurance. Those measures are decided on the individual needs of the volunteers.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

WeltWegWeiser is a project of Jugend Eine Welt, funded by the Austrian Development Agency and the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs.

In 2017 the pilot started with two deployment agencies, and by 2018 that number had grown to nine. Eight volunteers were successfully matched in 2018; and by the end of the year there were worldwide 54 volunteer options available in social projects in countries such as Belarus, Honduras, Vietnam and Uganda.

The direct impact of the project is the creation of a high quality, inclusive, and sustainable voluntary programme. To encourage further growth and replication, WeltWegWeiser plans to compile and publish a report on the project, including the didactic materials it has already created.

A person volunteering with children.

Copyright

FACTSHEET

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