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Reciprocal volunteering

Reciprocal volunteering

Reciprocity in volunteering is an action principle that runs through exchanges, partnerships, projects, to rebalance relations between countries and actors. Applied to the field of international volunteering, reciprocity is part of the renewal of French international cooperation policy.


In bref

The principle of reciprocity enables the reception in France of nationals from other countries in which French volunteers are deployed, for missions in the field of international exchange and solidarity volunteering. This is often done in the context of bilateral partnerships with national volunteer agencies and programmes.

A few figures

In 2019, 251 volunteers from 40 countries were hosted in France on reciprocal civic service missions.
The countries most represented include Tunisia, Senegal and Burkina Faso


The development of reciprocity in international volunteering helps to nurture more balanced relationships and stronger, more harmonious bonds of cooperation and solidarity between countries.

This invitation to look at the world from a different point of view through reciprocity has many benefits, for the volunteers involved as well as for the hosting and dispatching organisations and societies involved.


There are several mechanisms for implementing the principle of reciprocity in volunteering.

Reciprocity has been designed and put into practice since the post-war period by the family of initiation volunteering schemes to which international work camps belong.

The civic service has enabled international volunteers to be hosted on French soil since 2011.

Adopted in August 2021, the law on scheduling for solidarity development and the fight against global inequalities opened up International Solidarity Volunteering (VSI – Volontariat de Solidarité Internationale) to reciprocal schemes.

Wonderful projects involving reciprocity are carried out by France Volontaires and its members: EnLAzando, PrODDige, WECCEE, etc.

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A partnership approach

Projects involving reciprocity are developed in close partnership with the authorities and stakeholders in the dispatching countries and in conjunction with national volunteering schemes and public policies. There is a dynamic to structure national volunteering in nearly 20 African countries within France Volontaires’ scope of intervention.

France Volontaires has developed a guide to facilitate the implementation of volunteer projects within the framework of reciprocity and to better understand the administrative procedures to follow when hosting a foreigner in France.

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