About Forum

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The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) is the most significant global network of International Volunteer Co-operation Organisations (IVCO). Forum exists to share information, develop good practice and enhance co-operation across the international volunteering and development sectors. It promotes the value of volunteering for development through policy engagement, mutual learning and by sharing innovative and good practices. Forum is a “virtual” network, with a global membership that includes a range of organisations involved in international development, including non-government and state organisations.

What does Forum do?

  • Information sharing: Forum’s website contains a credible body of research and good practice in international volunteering for development including: conference reports, research papers, relevant links and contact details.
  • Research: Forum regularly commissions and shares research on issues related to international volunteering that is relevant to its members and in the wider development discourse.
  • Networking: Forum hosts an annual IVCO conference, usually in partnership with one of Forum’s member organisations. Delegates from a range of agencies across the world participate in the conference, and the meeting provides an opportunity for senior staff of international volunteering agencies to network and discuss key issues in volunteering and development.
  • Promoting: the value and role of international volunteering for development to be recognised and included in national and international development policy.

Why is Forum important?

As a network of credible international volunteering and cooperation agencies with a long track record of experience, Forum has a collective voice and unified identity in the values and principles that underpin volunteering for development. Forum aims to share information, develop good practice and enhance co-operation and support between its members. Together, members explore innovative practice and research key contemporary issues, focusing on organisational learning and improved practice.

Forum members celebrate and document the significance of volunteering and civil society inclusion through: staying connected; sharing practices; celebrating diversity; promoting inclusiveness and reciprocity; sharing knowledge; having critical debates; influencing external stakeholders; and through learning and supporting each other within the volunteering community.

How is Forum resourced?

Forum is resourced by membership subscriptions, occasional grants, and the voluntary staff time and funds from the organisations providing the Chair and the Forum Board of Directors. Subscriptions from members enable Forum to operate at a basic level with a part-time Executive Coordinator and the capacity to organise the annual IVCO conference.

Forum’s Origins

Forum was founded in 1964 in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Until 2000, Forum was an organisation for European-based agencies. In 2000, membership of Forum was opened up to organisations across the world. In 2002, Forum took over responsibility for running an annual meeting of Heads of International Volunteer Co-operation Organisations – now known as IVCO.

Please refer to Forum’s Charter for more a detailed description of Forum’s values.