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SCI is more than 100 years old. And like many other organisations with a lot of tradition, our movement is full of abbreviations. If you are a newcomer and people around you use abbreviations a lot that are not well known to you yet, it can feel quite frustrating. This is why we will try to introduce you to all the abbreviations we could think of that you might encounter as a new placement officer. At the same time, these abbreviations are also a way for you to get to know the structure of SCI a bit better.

Honestly, some of these abbreviations are more important than others – we will test the most important ones in the quiz below. Feel free to enjoy and make fun of the rest 🙂

Let's get this started!

To start you off, we will introduce some really basic and important abbreviations around SCI’s structure.


  • SCI – Service Civil International: Well, you know this one probably already! The name of our organisation comes from French and means “International Civil Service”. The founder of SCI wanted voluntary services to be an alternative to military services, hence the name.
  • ICM – International Committee Meeting: This is an annual meeting that takes places in December. Here representatives from all SCI branches meet in order to make decisions for our global network. Every year it takes place in a different country. Each branch has one vote on each decision.


  • IEC – International Executive Committee: This is basically the board of SCI on an international level. It includes the President of SCI, a Vice-President, a Treasurer etc. The IEC implements the decisions made at the ICM, represents our movement, etc.


  • IS – International Secretariat: This is an office in Antwerp (Belgium) and at the same time the international headquarters of SCI. The staff and volunteers working here support branches, take care of SCI’s insurance, run campaigns, etc.


  • However, confusingly IS can also stand for Infosheet, which is a PDF document that we send to volunteers once they are accepted to a camp, with info about accommodation, travels, background of the project, etc.

Abbreviations for Meetings

Well, you already had the pleasure of learning what ICM stands for. There are some more regular meetings in SCI that have abbreviations.

  • EPM – Exchange Platform Meeting: This annual meeting takes place in October (usually somewhere in Europe) and is a place where all SCI members (not just SCI branches like at ICM) can take decisions around exchange in our projects, but can also meet and network.


  • BCM – Branch Coordinators Meeting: This is a smaller meeting that usually takes place every two years. The heads of branches meet here to support each other and to network.


  • APM – Asian Platform Meeting: This is a meeting among Asian branches within SCI to discuss exchange in Asia and to support each other.


  • POT – Placement Officer Training: You probably know this one already, because this course is specifically made to prepare placement officers for their Placement Officer Training. Every year, it takes place in February or March.

  • OPOT is an Online Placement Officer Training.


This section is relevant for you, as you are dealing with placement.

  • PO – Placement Officer: A person that deals with placing volunteers in workcamps. (Aka you).
  • OPS – Online Placement System: Our workcamp database at
  • AF – Application Form: The form that volunteers need to fill out if they want to apply for a camp.
  • VEF – Volunteer Exchange Fee: The fee that SCI branches pay at the end of the year to the IS for insurance of all volunteers they received and sent.
    • VEF also means Volunteer Exchange Form in some of our partner organisations, which is basically the same as Application Form. So depends a bit on the context.
  • E-VET – Electronic Volunteer Exchange neT: This is another workcamp database that belongs to another network (Alliance of Volunteering Organisations) which some of our partner organisations are part of as well.
  • vol – short for volunteer
  • pax – short for participants
  • CC / CL – camp coordinator / camp leader is a term for someone who deals with group dynamics and represents SCI in a camp
  • MA – Members Area; this is a space on the international SCI website ( where documents, info etc. for the whole movement are stored. You can get access if you are active in SCI



  • WC – workcamp

  • MTV – mid-term volunteering: This is a voluntary service that is longer than a workcamp, but shorter than long-term volunteering, so around 1 month to 3 months.

  • LTV – long-term volunteering: This is a voluntary service that is between 2 and 12 months.

  • EVS / ESC – European Voluntary Service / European Solidarity Corps: This is a program funded by the EU where young people between 18 and 30 can spend up to one year doing volunteering in another  (usually European) country.

  • NS – North-South placement: If a volunteer from the so-called Global North (e.g. Europe, USA, Australia, Japan) goes to the Global South (e.g. Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia), extra preparation is required to counter colonial motivations.

    • NS also stands for National Socialism, so be careful in what context you’re using this abbreviation.


Working Groups

There are several international working groups within SCI. At the time of writing this (2021), some of these are inactive and some are active. Their names might come up anyways, so we tell you about them.

  • LTEG – Long-term exchange Group: deals with LTV exchange

  • YUWG – Youth and Unemployment Working Group: Deals with organising inclusion projects for youth with fewer opportunities (e.g. unemployed youth, youth with disabilities)

  • AWG – Africa Working Group: Deals with exchange with African branches and partners.

  • AIWG – Asia International Working Group: Deals with exchange with Asian branches and partners.

  • BEES – Better Evaluations and Exchange Support: Deals with exchange with European branches and partners. Also supports some technical aspects in SCI (e.g. organising POT, organising EPM).

  • GB – Gender Blenders: Deals with projects around gender in SCI.

No abbreviation, but still:

  • ABYA YALA – Working group for Latin America

  • MIDI – Working group for Middle East and North Africa

  • SAVA – Working group for the Balkans region.

And a last additional one: CCIVS – Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service. This is an umbrella organisation for volunteering organisations around the world and SCI is a member of it.

That’s it! Now time to test your knowledge with the quiz below!