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Develop or Self-Develop: Who is the volunteer in relation to colonial history?


12-21 March 2021 | Online, Austria

White Europeans often have neo-colonial motivations for volunteering in the Global South. In this seminar, volunteering organisations will gather to discuss this issue. The outcome will be a renewed version of a toolkit on global justice.

Colonialism created the political and economic context, in which we live today: Some countries have accumulated resources and wealth over centuries, while other countries have been colonized, their resources exploited, their cultures destroyed and their people murdered, marginalized and structurally discriminated against. Countries of the Global South are still today disadvantaged in their participation in the global economy and in international organisations - and people of color still face discrimination based on the concept of “race”, which was made up by the colonizers. In order to change the heritage of colonialism, we need to create global justice.

International volunteering takes place in this context: White Europeans go as international volunteers to the Global South, often with neo-colonial motivations of imposing Western values and mindsets onto local realities. In this seminar, international volunteering and youth organisations will gather to discuss, learn and exchange about this issue. Some questions that we ask ourselves and that we would like to discuss in this seminar are:
How can we as international volunteering organisations respond to colonial mindsets and motivations of volunteers and make them aware in an appropriate way about the power structures at hand?
(How) Can we work with ideas of “development” and “self-development” in a constructive way?
How do we make volunteers active citizens around global justice rather than passive believers of colonial narratives of developing, helping and saving?
How do we as critical volunteering NGOs relate to commercial organisations around us that do not critically prepare volunteers (“volontourism”) - should we compete with, ignore, collaborate with or train them?

As an outcome, we will create a new 4th version of the toolkit “Picturing the Global South: The Power Behind Good Intentions”, which SCI Austria has been creating with a series of post-colonial seminars in the past few years.

The seminar will take place on 12-14 March and 18-21 March 2021 from 13:30-17:00 Central European Time (CET) on the video platform Zoom with an optional evening hangout as well as with individual tasks to do in the morning.


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Training overview


This activity has already happened!

This Seminar is

for 40 participants

from Erasmus+ Youth Programme countries , Other countries in the world , Partner Countries Neighbouring the EU

and recommended for

Youth workers, Trainers, Youth leaders, Youth project managers, Volunteering mentors

Accessibility info:

This activity and venue place are accessible to people with disabilities.

Working language(s):



SCI Austria (Youth NGO)

Contact for questions:

Thomas Schallhart


Phone: +436648781377


Participation fee

No fee.

Accommodation and food


Travel reimbursement


Participants are entitled to receive a Youthpass certificate from the organiser, for recognition of their competence development during the activity. Read more about Youthpass:

Youthpass Logo
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