International voluntary projects, where 10 – 30 volunteers in the world live & work with local people for 2 – 3 weeks. Mostly in summer, but some in other seasons.
1) Brief History
In 1920, the first one started in France by German & French youth as reconstructing the farms destroyed during the World War I. Since then, it has been spreading to all over the world.
In the 60s, many workcamps with construction works were organized in newly independent countries as well as peace projects between East & West in Europe. Environmental ones have been increasing since 80s. According to our research, about 2,400 projects in 90 countries were held in 2001.
2) Voluntary Works
Normally for 6-8 hours in a day and 5 days in a week. The types of works are varied;
a) Environment : Cleaning rivers, planting trees, protecting animals, creating eco-villages, etc.
b) Agriculture : Picking fruits or seeding in organic farms, reviving uncultivated fields, etc.
c) Construction : schools, toilets, renovating castles, converting farms into youth centers, etc.
d) Social work : With/ for children, refugees, mentally/ physically disadvantaged, elders, etc.
e) Arts/Education:Organizing festivals, performing play against AIDS in schools, archaeology, etc.
f) Others : Making proposals of town planning, recycling & sending bicycles to India, etc.
3) Accommodations & Free time activities
Usually youth centers, public halls, schools and sometimes tents or temples that are simple but even better for the group life! Volunteers often cook by turns and enjoy global tastes. The common language is English in most of workcamps though you had better to try local languages.
In some workcamps, the hosts or we volunteers organize discussions, excursions, exchange parties with local people, school visit, sports programs, etc. It is very important to note that workcamps should be made by all volunteers with local people. Volunteers are not guests!
4) Workcamp Organizations (WOs)
Most of WOs are non-governmental/non-profit organizations (NGO/NPOs).
Most of WOs’re affiliated with CCIVS (Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service) founded by UNESCO, UN in 1948 to assist & promote workcamps in the world. It publishes booklets and organizes conferences of WOs and a few workcamps where no workcamps are existed yet. WOs are not lower branches of CCIVS, but the creaters of this network! Each WOs independently & freely organize workcamps mainly in their own countries and cooperate by exchanging volunteers, etc.
In each workcamps, WOs cooperate with local partner organizations of governments or NGO/NPOs.
Many WOs manage the running finances by inscription fee from volunteers & some are supported also by governments, foundations, etc. Volunteers need to pay the travel cost to/from workcamps and fee to WOs in their own countries. Food & accommodations are provided by local partners, though there are participation fee around 250-300 USD in some workcamps in Africa, Asia, etc
6) Common Aims
Although each WOs and workcamps have their own aims, the common aim is to achieve peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world by
a) Creating/ supporting voluntary movements for ecology, human rights, self-sufficiency, etc.
b) Activating and involving new people to local communities and NGO/NPOs
c) Promoting global understanding, friendship and solidarity
ENVI = Environment CULT = Cultural projects PHYS = Work with physically disadvantaged
ARGI = Agriculture SOCI = Social work (*) MENT = Work with mentally disadvantaged
CONS = Construction ELDE = Work with elderly KIDS = Work with children/ orphans
PEACE= Peace RENO = Renovation NASS = North and South Solidarity