Who can join an SCI camp? SCI camps should in general be open to people no matter their skills, although of course for specific projects some skills could be important. Volunteers freely join projects of SCI with the motivation to contribute to the project at the best of their capacities. However, there are four categories that are our terms of participation: 1. payment, 2. age limits, 3. preparation and 4. additional conditions for North-South placement.

Payment

In order to join a camp within our movement, SCI volunteers need to pay:

  • a standard participation fee to the sending organisation
  • a membership fee to join the sending organisation

Sometimes extra fees apply. If so, they are stated in the camp description. Volunteers also pay an extra fee for North-South placement (see below), extra placement administration by the IS and/or contribution to the solidarity fund of SCI.

They also need to cover by themselves:

  • all travel costs from home to the workcamp venue
  • visa costs (if needed)

The local project partner (or, in some cases, the hosting organisation) covers accommodation and food for volunteers.

Age Limits

There are different age limits in SCI. In some projects, volunteers can join from the age of 16, in some others from the age of 18, in others from the age of 18. There are no upper limits of participation, although SCI insurance only covers accidents and not illnesses for volunteers over 70. Also children below the age of 16 can join, if they are accompanied by a legal guardian – however children below 16 are not insured through SCI.

From age 16, volunteers can participate in workcamps in their own country. They might also be ale to participate in specific workcamps in other countries open to international volunteers from the age of 16 on, if their sending organisation allows the placement of minors in international workcamps. However, there are the following guidelines for sending and receiving 16- and 17-year-olds:

  1. If the project is not specifically aimed at teenagers, then accept only 1 or 2 minors (depending on the camp size).
  2. Minors need to participate in a mandatory preparation seminar by the sending organisation or to at least have a personal talk with someone from the sending organisation (personally, not only with their parents).
  3. Parents need to fill out a parent signature form that confirms that they allow their child to participate in a workcamp. (You can find a template in the attachments of the Practical Procedures).
  4. Minors should not be placed in workcamps that could be a risk to minor volunteers from a legal perspective.

From the age of 18, volunteers can participate in workcamps abroad except in the North-South program (see below under “preparation).

From the age of 20, volunteers can take part in North-South exchanges.

If there are additional age limits for a specific workcamp, this must be mentioned in the project/workcamp description to avoid misunderstandings.

Preparation of volunteers

Volunteers going to workcamps for the first time need to attend a training or workshop to be informed about values and principals of SCI and general issues related to volunteer camps. Ideally, this is a 2- or 3-day training involving workshops around logistical questions, intercultural learning, peace, how to get active on a local level when coming back from the camp, etc. In the Practical Procedures, you can find guidelines for these preparation trainings.

Exceptions can be made:

  • For branches that are not able to organise these preparations due to geographical reasons or to a small number of sent volunteers. Organisations with less than 12 applications per year have the freedom to structure such sessions in a more informal manner
  • For volunteers who already took part in an SCI camp
  • For very experienced volunteers who missed preparation. In this case the branches have to check that the candidate is very well experienced in other voluntary work and is aware of culltural and political backgrounds needed.

In case of exceptions, a minimum preparation must be provided, consisting of:

  1. providing reports from former volunteers
  2. organising meetings between former volunteers and future volunteers or meetings with you as a sending organization

North-South placement

The world has a colonial history. Colonialism created the political and economic context, in which we live today: Some countries (Global North) have accumulated resources and wealth over centuries because of colonialism, while other countries (Global South) have been colonized, their resources exploited, their cultures destroyed and their people murdered, marginalized and structurally discriminated against. Countries of the Global South are still today disadvantaged in their participation in the global economy and in international organisations – and people of color still face discrimination based on the concept of “race”, which was made up by the colonizers.

International volunteering takes place in this context: White Europeans go as international volunteers to the Global South, often with neo-colonial motivations of imposing Western values and mindsets onto local realities. In order to avoid this, SCI has decided to put some additional restrictions, when sending people from the Global North to the Global South. When we speak of “South” and “North”, we don’t necessarily mean geographical (Northern and Southern hemisphere), but we are speaking about colonial history. At the moment, we define North and South in this way in SCI:

North South
Europe, USA, Canada, Turkey, Middle Asia (excluding Mongolia), Korea, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia Latin America (including Mexico), Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius, South- and South-East Asia, Mongolia, Mediterranean area and Near East, Taiwan

So if a volunteer from the North goes to the South, these additional conditions apply:

  • Volunteers taking part in the North/South exchange programme must be at least 20 years old. Exceptions will be limited and dealt with on an individual base, taking into account the volunteer’s level of experience. However, the sending organisation must be ready to explain why the exceptions are being made.
  • Volunteers must participate in the full preparation training. This training should build awareness around colonial history, neocolonialism and global justice.
  • It is recommended they have previous experience of attending an SCI workcamp. This is at the discretion of the branch.
  • They are involved in SCI and are familiar with the activities of their branch, know something of the history of the organisation and have an appreciation of the international nature of SCI.
  • They are preferably also active in global justice on a local level in their home country.
  • They demonstrate an intention to remain active in SCI on their return.