International solidarity volunteering is a concrete and powerful response to today’s challenges.
In order to better understand the results of its volunteering action in 2019, its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs) and the future of volunteering in a context of health crisis, the NGO Planète Urgence carried out a study (by sending questionnaires) among its 217 local partners and 171 former volunteers in its 17 countries of intervention. The objective was twofold:
- To better understand the results and effects of its past action in order to be able to strengthen its impact and that of its beneficiaries in the future
- Better qualify and value the action of volunteering and volunteers as contributors to SDGs
This report aims to demonstrate factually that volunteerism makes a very pragmatic contribution to development issues by focusing on the specific needs of civil society organisations and enabling them to gain skills and capacities to ensure their own development.
You can find the full report at the bottom of the page.
Volunteerism is precisely a major means of mobilising, in the service of these objectives, the driving forces in terms of skills, youth and enthusiasm. France and its NGOs have unique expertise in this field. In order to develop this model of French volunteering internationally, I am counting on key players such as Planète Urgence of the SOS Group, which has already supported more than 10,000 volunteers in 20 years!
More than ever, the time has come for international solidarity action. Voluntary work is a very precious vector today. It is therefore our duty to be volunteers to develop volunteering. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the volunteers of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all those who accompany them in what is a unique experience in life, and one that never leaves them completely unscathed.
Long live to volunteering !
Secretary of State for Tourism,
of French people abroad and the French-speaking world
Excerpts from the report Volunteerism and Sustainable Development Goals
A particularly difficult context for local associations
The health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic is at the origin of what will be an unprecedented economic and social crisis affecting in particular the most fragile inhabitants of our planet.
Planète Urgence’s first study, carried out in April 2020 and evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on its local partners, had shown that 96% of partner associations said they were impacted in their daily activities, 68% of them negatively, and 62% believed that volunteering would be a lever to get out of the crisis.
SDGs, a concrete response to current challenges
In a world where crises are growing, it is necessary to multiply local and international solidarity to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the UN. These SDGs are associated with an action plan bringing together the 5 pillars of Sustainable Development: planet, people, prosperity, peace and partnerships.
The Planète Urgence association, through its action of international solidarity, thus places itself at the service of the Sustainable Development Objectives. As an actor of human development and preservation of the environment, the association has therefore chosen to focus its volunteer action and programmes on 6 of the 17 objectives, on which it has a direct and measurable impact.
Thanks to this vision, the association actively participates in the achievement of SDGs since it is at the origin of different levels of solidarity:
- an international and national level through public development policies
- a very local level of civil society organisation (CSO) and community development strengthening
Volunteerism, a tool for development
Planète Urgence’s Volunteering programme is set up to support our local partners and responds to a need expressed by them. Its main objective is to strengthen the capacities of these local partners and to provide development aid through support and the transfer of skills to ensure their total autonomy.
Voluntary work is therefore a very useful tool for achieving Sustainable Development Objectives. It has the advantage of allowing three levels of impact:
- for the beneficiaries via an increase in skills or an improvement in capacities
- for volunteers through a fulfilling commitment and a better understanding of development issues
- for partner company structures via an opening of its employees to the challenges of international solidarity
To ensure that its interventions are as relevant and effective as possible, Planète Urgence always respects 3 main principles to guarantee the empowerment of local partners and a positive impact on local communities:
- Non-portage principle: projects are set up and carried by national and international partners. Planète Urgence accompanies the projects; under no circumstances she should carry them.
- Principle of non-competition: Planète Urgence volunteers must not compete with each other. If a local service provider can provide a similar service at a price acceptable to the beneficiary, Planète Urgence must not offer the same service.
- Principle of non-substitution: Planète Urgence does not replace the project’s stakeholders. Volunteers therefore provide occasional assistance.
97% of the partners supported by Planète Urgence volunteers believe that the intervention of these volunteers contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Planète Urgence’s volunteering: a concrete contribution to SDGs
A player in the preservation of forests and biodiversity
Through its voluntary action, Planète Urgence acts specifically on SDG 14 relating to the conservation of marine ecosystems and SDG 15 relating to the preservation of life on earth.
In 2019, Planète Urgence accompanied and supported 9 local environmental actors in the framework of the “Biodiversity Protection” missions. The association provides support to biodiversity protection actors in the identification and monitoring of species with the aim of protecting endangered species, raising awareness, advocacy and preservation of natural areas.
Thanks to the mobilisation of 176 volunteers in 2019 (and often in the continuity of studies carried out in previous years), their interventions contributed to the identification and monitoring of species in the “threatened” or “vulnerable” category.
83% of the supported partners stated that the volunteers’ work enabled them to identify and monitor species in a threatened or vulnerable situation.
Thanks to the monitoring and census of species, 100% of the partners claim to have produced reports and/or analyses on the species monitored, particularly thanks to the information collected during the volunteers’ work.
Following the consolidation and capitalisation of data on reports, 83% of the partners have set up protection actions for threatened or vulnerable species.
A player in education and inequality reduction
Empowerment is a key principle of the association’s intervention and contributes to SDG 4 on quality education and SDG 10 on reducing inequalities.
This principle of empowerment requires access to quality education on an equal footing, thus promoting socio-economic mobility and lifelong learning opportunities.
- Promotion of local development
In 2019, 69 partners have benefited from a “Training for Adults” intervention, with the objective of sharing competences. The system has thus made it possible to mobilise 176 volunteers to support 1,360 beneficiaries.
Out of the total number of participating organisations, 84% believe that the acquisition of new skills enables their beneficiaries to improve their income.
- Capacity building of local actors
Planète Urgence supports a multiplicity of actors working on several sustainable development themes. Volunteering, by providing capacity building and occasional support, directly contributes to their objectives.
98% of partner organisations consider Planète Urgence’s intervention to be important or a priority for their organisation.
For 83% of partner organisations, Planète Urgence’s interventions are the only way to strengthen or acquire new skills.
A player in partnerships
Volunteering with Planète Urgence is also a vector for development and a lever for understanding solidarity issues. And it is only through inclusive partnerships and strong collaborations that the Sustainable Development Goal 17 will be achieved!
The volunteer system allows each person to commit according to his or her skills, availability and desire to act. Individuals, employees of a partner company and even young people under the age of 25 can get involved with Planète Urgence!
To each his or her own commitment: Congé Solidaire®, Solidarity Mission, Civic Service or International Solidarity Volunteering.
76.5% of the volunteers who responded believe that they now have a different view of poverty and unequal development.
1 volunteer out of 2 certifies having a better understanding of the role of education in development and having become aware of the causes and consequences of climate change..
“Fabulous life experience, for yourself, for others, for the planet! And there is an emergency!”
– Joël Poulain, Solidarity Mission volunteer
Planète Urgence’s volunteering: a need for reinvention for tomorrow’s world
The COVID-19 pandemic and its disastrous consequences on the most fragile populations has highlighted the need for innovation in support mechanisms for development actors. The priority for Planète Urgence has therefore been to continue its support to local partners all over the world, in the face of the need to stop international travel.
In this context of health, social and environmental emergency, it is necessary to multiply actions and forms of solidarity at a local and international level. Voluntary work has a key role to play in this solidarity dynamic!
The association has therefore done everything possible in 2020 to reinvent volunteering and pursue its mission, starting with a study of the impact of the crisis on its local partners, then with two new commitment schemes for its partner companies : the e-volunteering and the Local to Local volunteering.
The online volunteerism, also called the “e-volunteering” is a new device which enables employees of Planète Urgence’s partner companies to carry out missions to international beneficiaries thanks to distance communication tools. The duration of these missions varies according to the needs identified and the availability of the partner. Thus, volunteers can commit between 2 and 10 weeks, from 2 to more than 12 hours per week.
The Local to Local volunteering, on the other hand, is a short-term mission that allows each person to act at the request of a local structure within the framework of a short-term mission (2 to 3 weeks). This mission takes place after an online training course, and allows people to share and pass on their skills and knowledge in order to strengthen the autonomy of the populations and the protection of their environment. The specific feature of this system is that it mobilises volunteers from the country of intervention.
Planète Urgence thus remains strongly mobilized to provide an adequate solution to each situation.
The year 2020 has been extremely virulent due to the acceleration of the social and environmental crisis and thus the aggravation of women’s and men’s fragility.
Development actors and citizens say it every day: volunteering is part of the solution for tomorrow’s world.
This report demonstrates that volunteering is a sustainable means of empowering and enhancing the autonomy of development actors. The challenge is therefore to adapt this system to the new realities.
The reinvention of volunteering is necessary and is already underway. Planète Urgence is putting all its energy and perseverance into building it with each person and organisation that wishes to do so in order to build this sustainable and united world.
Read the full report on Planète Urgence’s Volunteerism and its impact on SDGs: