Zugvögel Project? What does that actually mean for me?

As a Zugvögel project, you only take over the duties which are also in place within the federal state’s voluntary service programme (German: Bundesfreiwilligendienst). We as the supporting organisation take care of practically all formalities, you only take care of the insurance of the volunteer, and the job reference in the end of the voluntary service, as well as the exemption from working hours during the seminars.
Apart from that, you provide a mentor within your project for the volunteer; this mentor will be the contact person for the volunteer. For us, as an association, this person will also be the first contact person.

Do the volunteers speak German?

We do not require German language skills in the application. If we did that, we would be in danger of supporting a small elite which could also afford the voluntary service from their own financial means. However, we want to offer this opportunity also to all the other people, who would otherwise not have the slightest chance. Still, we do require that the volunteers are willing to learn German and achieve language skills at level A1 until they start their journey to Germany. As association, we support the volunteers with learning German as good as we can by financing a German language course both in their country of origin and in Germany.

Who are the volunteers?

Formally, our only prerequisite is that the volunteers are at least 18 years old. Taking from experience, however, most of the volunteers are between 20 and 25 years old. Some of them have already studied, others bring a lot of practical experience. Our volunteers are divers, they are linked by their desire to commit themselves. One indicator are their previous voluntary commitments. Currently, we are cooperating with partner organisations in Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal and Rwanda, which annually send six volunteers to Germany.

Which formalities have to be considered?

The Zugvögel work together with the Central Office ‘Engagement Global’. It is responsible for the project weltwärts-reverse of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). This way the costs are reimbursed proportionately. The Zugvögel act as supporting organisation and take over administrative tasks, such as registration for social insurance, organising seminars, contact with the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs and Civil Society Affairs, etc. This sponsorship, however, only applies to the place of the volunteer of the Zugvögel. If you have more than one BFD/FSJ place, you can continue to run them via the current agencies and central offices. This is because it is possible for one project to work with several central units and institutions/agencies at the same time.

What are the costs for us a project?

There is a certain amount of leeway in the sum to be paid to the Zugvögel by the project, but ideally this is at least €300/month. The Zugvögel use this sum to finance the entire stay. We pay the language courses, flight costs, seminar costs, catering costs, pocket money, etc. .

How is the functional-pedagogic accompaniment organized?

We provide all volunteers with two companions who support the volunteer in word and deed. At least one of them will also mediate in case of problems with the project. The companions often have intercultural experience of their own and are therefore often able to assess situations from a different perspective. All seminar days, with the exception of the BFD’s own education policy seminar, are also organised and supervised by us. If any problems arise, there will still be a regional group near you and there is the volunteers program committee, which will keep track of everything.