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The Power Behind Good Intentions. A toolkit for critical European volunteering organisations and Global Education practitioners

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A toolkit with critical reflections around white savior complex, colonial history, neocolonialism and volontourism. It includes lots of background info, methods and tips for preparing European volunteers going ot the Global South.

Aims of the tool

We want to question and deconstruct what lies behind "good intentions" that volunteers from the Global North have, when they go to the Global South. What does it mean to "help" in a context of colonialism and ongoing economic exploitation? We aim to break racist and colonial stereotypes and hope to motivate organisations to work on global justice and peace rather than reinforcing existing harmful structures.

The aim of this manual is not to focus on the Global South itself, but on the European
organizations' perception of Global South and how it influences the picture of volunteering.

Description of the tool

If formal education doesn’t make young people aware of global injustice and its long history, we as volunteering organisations need to step in.
We see three necessary steps:
1. European volunteering organisations have to make colonial history and global injustices stemming from it the primary topic in a mandatory critical and anti-colonial preparation of their volunteers.
2. European volunteering organisations have to make an intense evaluation with volunteers whom they do send to the Global South to give space for reflecting their experiences from an anti-colonial perspective.
3. European volunteering organisations have to speak out about global power imbalances through awareness-raising actions and advocacy in Europe.
4. Most importantly, European volunteering organisations have to become aware of racism and neocolonialism within their own structures and partnerships.


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Tool overview

The Power Behind Good Intentions. A toolkit for critical European volunteering organisations and Global Education practitioners

This tool is for

Youth workers, volunteering organisations, Global Education practitioners

and addresses

Anti-Racism, Voluntary Service, Intercultural Learning, Personal Development

Behind the tool

The tool was created by

SCI Austria

in the context of

seminar "Develop or Self-Develop"

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Thomas Schallhart (on 14 February 2023)

and last modified

11 November 2021

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