Decolonise IVS


Food for Thought Laboratory

From July 10th to July 16th, 2023, Ferrara, Italy, became the nucleus of an inspiring movement as 21 participants joined forces to present the groundbreaking results of the Decolonise Participatory Action Research (PAR) and to explore together with the Decolonise Youth advocates how to bring about the necessary changes. The Decolonise! Project aims to pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future by examining the essence of International Voluntary Service (IVS) through a decolonial lens. ?

The “Food for Thought Laboratory” served as a vibrant space for collaboration, exchange of ideas, and deep reflection on the journey of Decolonising IVS. It provided an opportunity for involved stakeholders to collectively analyse the progress made so far and strategize the next steps towards meaningful transformation. The goal was to reshape perspectives on volunteering and beyond, fostering an environment that acknowledges and addresses historical power imbalances and colonial legacies. While several SCI branches have been working on this topic and started developing tools to support branches in their decolonisation process, many of the IVS organisations still struggle with understanding the different values and mechanisms that influence our current IVS structures and practices. A wider conversation is needed to share knowledge and imagine a different future. “The Food for Thought Laboratory” was meant to be such a space where participants could bring together different perspectives, embrace different cultures, dismantle hegemonic structures, and amplify marginalised voices. It envisioned a future where volunteering becomes a platform for true reciprocity, mutual learning, and regenerative practices.

“I enjoyed the presentations of all the participants and the different approaches that we followed within our organisations. I think that we learnt a lot from each other’s work and we were inspired by the other topics that our peers brought up.