October 1st 2009, the Association Française des Volontaires du Progrès, AFVP created in 1963, became France Volontaires, on the initiative of public authorities and associations.
Why found France Volontaires ?
Many international players working in the fields of solidarity and intercultural meetings and exchanges mobilize a growing number of people each year with diverse skills and profiles.
Recognized structures and schemes make it possible to turn this desire for voluntary involvement for solidarity into a reality: international building sites, volunteering for International Solidarity, Civic Service involvement, solidarity breaks etc. Other initiatives (student, regional, socio-professional etc.) offer quality support for civic mobilization abroad. However, this offer does not meet the growing demand for involvement for solidarity.
This observation is one of the explanations for the development of “unsupported” and little-known forms - miscellaneous trips or missions without adequate preparation, some of which the partners in the Southern hemisphere are not even expecting. Several thousand people go away each year without it being possible to assess the impact of their involvement with local populations objectively. In response to this shared observation, the France Volontaires association was created to take on this dual challenge of quality and quantity.
It is charged with a general interest mission that is, “promoting and developing the various forms of involvement that fall under the remit of International Volunteering for Exchange and Solidarity (I.V.E.S.), and helping to implement them. This project is carried out in a spirit of respect for the values set out in the communal charter, upheld by the organizations sending out volunteers and the volunteers themselves.” (Article 1 of the statutes).
In practical terms, it is therefore a case of:
- improving knowledge and recognition of the different forms of volunteering;
- helping to develop the number of I.V.E.S. in terms of quality and quantity, while
pursuing its mission of sending out International Volunteers for Solidarity;
- supporting associations that send out IVES in their missions of mobilization, preparation, monitoring, management and reintegration of people when they get back;
- making the I.V.E.S. sector more dynamic; helping strengthen public policy in France.
France Volontaires’ missions are stated in the Contract of Objectives and Means signed by the Secretariat of State with responsibility for Cooperation and the Francophony in January 2010.