Each year since 1964, the International Volunteering for Development agencies have come together to network, build relationships, share knowledge and work together to achieve better outcomes and advocate for this modality as effective and sustainable development.
Over the years, this group of agencies, now known as the International Forum for Volunteering for Development (Forum) has grown to encompass over 80 government and non-government organisations from across nineteen time zones. Forum has successfully advocated for volunteering to be embedded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, produced leading research developed impact measurement models and supported national volunteering for development.
This year’s conference, held in Kigali, Rwanda last month was historic for two reasons. With over 200 delegates from 49 countries it was the first time that there were more delegates from Global South organisations than the North. Many Forum members now also recruit, train and deploy national volunteers from developing countries to share their skills, as well as work in other developing countries, so called South-South volunteering.
Another first was the launch of the world’s first global standard for volunteering for development by Forum. As a learning tool to improve practice across the sector, Forum is developing a suite of online resources to support the elements of the Global Standard.
As you know, volunteering for development is the DNA of AVI and has been the heart of this organisation for the last 68 years. Through Forum, we can continue to learn and improve, as well as share our knowledge with our colleagues.