The international volunteering experience is not limited to carrying out a field mission. The volunteer’s experience is part of an engagement process, supported by a dispatching organisation and a host organisation (where the mission takes place).
This BEFORE-DURING-AFTER volunteering pathway is structured in four main stages* common to all the International Exchange and Solidarity Volunteering (VIES – Volontariat d’Echange et Solidarité) schemes:
- Making the commitment concrete/Recruiting (information, guidance, selection)
- Preparing volunteers (training for departure, administrative & medical procedures, signing the contract)
- Supporting and monitoring volunteers during their field missions
- Ensuring the return goes smoothly and preparing the post-volunteering period(taking stock, drawing on achievements, reintegration and redeployment)
In order to help you, as an organisation, in your role of supporting volunteers through the different stages of their journey, France Volontaires, its members and partners have developed a number of good practice guidelines and common reference frameworks.
*Data collected by France Volontaires and Dewynter Conseil.
The development of reciprocity and cross-mobility in international volunteering allows for more balanced relationships and stronger and more harmonious cooperation and solidarity ties between countries. France Volontaires supports the design and implementation of reciprocal international volunteering missions between partner 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 concerned.
Reciprocity has been designed and put into practice for decades by the family of introductory volunteering schemes of which international work camps are a part.
As regards longer-term commitments, countries hosting French volunteers can also send young people to France for a voluntary undertaking in Civic Service, and since the law of 4 August 2021 on solidarity development, in International Solidarity Volunteering (VSI – Volontariat de Solidarité Internationale), a longer-term scheme that recruits volunteers with specific skills. This process is part of the framework of bilateral partnerships with national volunteer agencies and programmes.
It is carried out in close partnership with the authorities and stakeholders in the dispatching countries and in conjunction with national volunteering schemes and youth and sectoral policies, even if they are at different stages of implementation. For example, there is a dynamic to structure national volunteering in nearly twenty African countries within France Volontaires’ scope of intervention.
N.B. the administrative procedures for hosting a foreigner in France are different from those for a volunteer already present in France. Within the framework of civic service, it is important for organisations to take note of the reciprocity instruction sheet.
Specific guides will soon be developed by France Volontaires on hosting volunteers through reciprocal programmes through VSI.