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Overseas Service Organizations

Service organizations in countries around the world

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Of OECD member states the governments of only six, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Korea, Luxemburg and the U.S. directly send volunteers to other countries. Other countries dispatch volunteers through NGOs or NGO networks.

OECD Voluntary Service Teams

  • U.S. (Peace Corps)

    • Overview : 1961~present, about 7,700 volunteers yearly (as of 2009)
    • Motto : Life is calling. How far will you go?
    • Objective : To provide necessary human resources to developing countries, to improve understanding
      of people in developing countries about Americans, and to enhance Americans’ understanding of people in
      developing countries.
    • Fields : Education, regional development, agriculture and environment, public health, HIV/ AIDS and IT
  • Germany (Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst, DED)

    • Overview: 1963~present, about 1,000 volunteers yearly (as of 2005)
  • Luxemburg (Junior Technical Assistant, JTA)

    • Overview: 1978~present, on average 7 people volunteer per year (as of 2006)
  • Belgium (L’idée du Service Volontaire à la Coopération au Développement, SVCD)

    • Overview: 2006~present, about 29 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
  • U.K. (Voluntary Service Overseas, VSO)

    • Overview: 1958~present, about 1,748 volunteers yearly (as of 2005)
    • Motto: Sharing Skills Changing Lives
    • Objective: To share technologies, strengthen competencies of developing countries,
      increase mutual understanding
    • Fields: Public health, HIV/ AIDS, education, governance, special education
  • Japan (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, JOCV)

    • Overview: 1965~present, about 3,100 volunteers yearly (as of 2009)
    • Motto: For a Better Tomorrow for All
    • Objective: To cooperate in economic and social development in the respective regions, to increase friendship
      between countries, and to return overseas service experiences to society
    • Fields: Education and culture, public health and hygiene, agriculture and fisheries
  • Norway

    • Overview: 1963~present, about 243 people volunteer per year (as of 2005)
    • Motto: Development Through Exchange
  • New Zealand (Volunteer Service Abroad, VSA)

    • Overview: 1962~present, about 152 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
    • Motto: New Zealanders Making a Positive Difference in the World
  • Netherlands (Stichting Nederlandse Vrijwilligers, SNV)

    • Overview: 1963~present, about 937 volunteers yearly (as of 2005)
    • Motto: Connecting People's Capacities
  • Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke, MS)

    • Overview: 1963~present, about 400 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
    • Motto: Make a Difference
  • Canada (Canadian University Services Oversea, CUSO)

    • Overview: 1961~present, about 293 volunteers yearly (as of 2005)
  • France (Association Francaise des Voluntaros du Progres, AFVP)

    • Overview: 1963~present, about 320 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
  • Australia (AVI, VIDA)

    • Australian Volunteers International (AVI), 1981~present, about 765 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
    • Volunteers for International Development from Australia (VIDA), 2005~present, about 350 volunteers yearly
      (as of 2006)
  • Switzerland

    • Overview: 1964~present, about 171 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
  • Sweden

    • Overview: 1995~present, about 60 volunteers yearly (as of 2006)
  • Italy

    • Overview: 1972~present, about 3,463 volunteers yearly (as of 2005)
  • United Nations Volunteer (UNV)

    • The UNV was established by a resolution of the U.N. General Assembly in 1970. Founded as a subsidiary
      organization of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), UNV is the only international service
      organization in the U.N. to dispatch volunteers to developing countries. Its activities are aimed at contributing to sustainable development of humankind and also at promoting a service spirit through volunteers
      recruited and selected from countries all over the world. Each year, around 7000 volunteers from 160
      countries apply to join UNV to serve in approx. 140 developing countries. UNV supports activities of
      international organizations, government offices and NGOs to solve global issues concerning poverty,
      the environment, human rights, peace, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and HIV/AIDS.
  • International Volunteer Cooperation Organizations (IVCO) Regular Session

    • The IVCO Regular Session has been held annually since 2001 with attendants including government organizations (who dispatch volunteer service teams) and NGOs. Since 2002 this meeting has been organized by FORUM which is an alliance of global volunteer dispatch organizations founded in Europe in 1964. The purpose of this meeting is to:

      - exchange information about international trends of overseas volunteer dispatch programs,

      - find ways to improve the effectiveness of volunteer teams, and

      - promote exchange and cooperation among the attendants.

      Representatives from Korea began attending in 2005 as observers. At the regular session in 2009, Korea introduced World Friends Korea, which was favorably received by the attendants.