France Volontaires is the French platform for international volunteering, exchange, and solidarity. It was established in 2009 as an association and is now a public interest group known as “GIP France Volontaires”.
As a French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs operator recognised as of France’s public development aid stakeholders by the Law of 4 August 2021, France Volontaires is the result of a shared project that brings together the State, local authorities and associations around a public interest mission: the development and promotion of international exchange and solidarity volunteering (VIES – volontariat international d’échange et de solidarité).
The platform relies on representations in France (mainland and overseas territories) and a network of Volunteering Centres in Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, the Middle East and Oceania).
Our vision of volunteering
France Volontaires and its members share a vision of volunteering defined by the Charter of International Exchange and Solidarity Volunteering (VIES), and based on strong principles:
- A commitment to international solidarity is a powerful and cross-functional response to the challenges of our society and the world;
- It is part of an approach to volunteering that is open to all, both locally and internationally, throughout life. It is based on human relations, cultural exchange, partnership and the principle of reciprocity;
- It is part of a civic and professional pathway to acquire new knowledge, skills and know-how.
Through its universal nature, volunteering helps strengthen civil societies and contributes to the emergence of more inclusive, supportive societies that are open to the world. In this way, it is part of our efforts to meet the challenges of human development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The diversity of the International Exchange and Solidarity Volunteering Programme
The experience of volunteering abroad is very diverse, enabling everyone to volunteer according to their background:
- Initiation and exchange volunteering concerns young people and people who are involved for the first time in international solidarity for a short period of time, in particular through solidarity work camps;
- Exchange and skills volunteering involves people who are active or retired and who are recruited for expert missions over relatively short periods of time, such as, for example, solidarity leave and senior volunteering;
- Cooperation and development support volunteering, in particular international solidarity volunteering (VSI – volontariat de solidarité internationale), enables people to commit over a long period to a mission in the field of development cooperation. In addition, the international aspect of civic service also enables young people aged 16 to 25, and up to 30 if disabled, to engage in international volunteering projects.