Cooperation and Project Work
The volunteers can be active in a variety of areas, particularly in social and sociopolitical sectors, as long as they accord with the goals of our association. The projects where our volunteers work are rooted locally, rather than primarily being initiated from abroad or by international organisations. Their goals and their work are in accordance with the principles of Augenhöhe.
The volunteers must not replace the local workforce. The demands made on the volunteers should be reasonable and the working conditions should be fair. We wish to be in fair contact with our partner projects and will strive for constant contact and transparency. In case of possible conflicts as part of the everyday project work or when it comes to the supervision of our volunteers we try to find solutions jointly. Again, it is important to us that all involved treat each other as equals.
Selection of Volunteers
The selection of the volunteers is carried out by trustworthy partners, i.e. representatives of groups or organisations, in the countries of origin. In Germany, Augenhöhe carries out this task. The criteria are developed jointly with the local partners. Augenhöhe makes it a point not to specify them, as that would make cooperation as equals impossible
What is Expected of Volunteers
Any interested persons are eligible to apply, who are at least 18 years of age at the date of departure. The selection is independent of social or economic background. On the other hand, we do expect a great deal of commitment to the volunteer programme as well as acknowloging the principles of our organisation. A certain amout of prior experience with respect to the projects and the region would be beneficial, but are not a requirement. It is important that the volunteers have a good command of English and are willing to learn the local language – if and when possible. This is essential for the exchange and cooperation with all involved.
We have high expectations as to our own conduct as well as the way we treat each other and others. As a ‘young’ association we are still learning, so we want to continuously reflect and question the way we behave. So we are always open to and grateful for constructive criticism.
Connected to that, we also expect our volunteers to be willing to learn and to adhere to certain principles. We expect of our volunteers (as much as of ourselves) that while they are in their host country, they strive to be an example for others and strive to behave in such a way that the volunteers following them will also be welcome. This includes for example the willingness to make an effort – not only to overcome difficulties, but also learning the local language and about the political situation, culture and history. To achieve this, it is important to approach the locals with respect, and to observe before acting.
The volunteers should seek to have an open and honest conversation and in case of problems be willing to look for solutions and make compromises. This takes a certain measure of flexibility, patience and most of all frustration tolerance when things happen not to got to plan. Further, it takes a great deal of commitment. Not only for the work in the project, but also when establishing a circle of donors and in the organisational preparations.
Apart from expectations concerning their behaviour and mindset, there also are concrete expectations that volunteers have to fulfill. These include constant communication with their various contacts and the writing of reports. After the end of their year, the volunteers should act as multipliers by communicating their experience and what they have learned to their own society through articles, slide shows or other events.