CCIVS promotes the value of International Voluntary Service as a tool for non formal and popular education, where learning is intended, organised, and can produce transformational change for the individuals, communities and organisations involved.
By looking at our volunteer programs and participants with the support of strategic research, we therefore aim at building a path towards the recognition of such value, which is reflected in the progressive and complementary achievement of three objectives:
Understanding our practices and the experiences of the participants, and how they influence each other, creating new knowledge, skills and attitudes about and towards themselves, their communities and the larger and interconnected global society
Improving the capacity of the organisations, communities and individual volunteers involved in our projects to positively take into account these accrued competences and become conscious actors of change
Valorising the unique processes and results that stakeholders create together thanks to the invaluable interactions of international voluntary service, giving them wider visibility across the institutional and public spheres

CCIVS approach to impact is highly participative in nature, from the definition of common goals and questions with the members and stakeholders concerned, to the training of field practitioners and the innovative implementation of participative analysis and implementation research.

Utilising both quantitative and qualitative methods, it relies on two key concepts: the idea of change, as developed by several CCIVS members and partners during the first “Changing Perspectives” project, coordinated by Solidarités Jeunesses France, for the specific field of International Voluntary Service:

“A change or an effect on individuals, collectives or environments in the short, medium and long term. Produced by interaction between individuals, communities and environments in the context of International Voluntary Service actions. Perceivable, and as such could lead to social recognition or personal acknowledgment.”

And the idea of impact assessment, which looks at the correspondence between our goals and objectives as indicated in the Constitution and outlined by specific programs and projects, and the actual results we manage to achieve. This is exemplified by the definition given by Rossi, Lipsey and Freeman in Evaluation:

A Systemic Approach (2004):

“Impact assessments are undertaken to find out whether programs actually produce the intended effects. A program effect, or impact, refers to a change in the target population or social conditions that has been brought about by the program, that is, a change that would not have occurred had the program been absent. […] establishing that the program is a cause of some specified effect.”

Building on the key ideas of impact as change and assessment, the research work implemented by CCIVS and its members and partners is integrated in, and nourishes, the network’s structural processes of monitoring and quality improvement. These focus on the three pillars of International Voluntary Service, adapting different methodologies to address specific goals:

Individuals (Quantitative and qualitative research, Training): Personal, Interpersonal and Social development, Life skills and competences.
Communities (Qualitative research, participative analysis): Intercultural learning, Active Citizenship and Participation, Conflict Management, Technical Work and Realizations.
Organisations and Institutions (Implementation research, Capacity building, Pentagon methodology): Structure, Functioning, Relationships, Communication, Financial Sustainability.

From the CCIVS Strategic Plan 2022-27

Desired impact of IVS projects on our volunteers:

Our aim is that every volunteer participating in an IVS project acquires

On the personal level: Increased technical / manual skills, leadership and problem solving skills, greater autonomy, increased self-awareness and confidence.
On the interpersonal level: increased conflict management and intercultural skills , communication and teamwork, ability to cooperate and contribute to a common project and overall goals.
On the sociocultural level: Positive attitude towards an inclusive, just society and increased knowledge of the local community and hosting country, a better knowledge and understanding of global North-South relations and interdependencies, valuing global solidarity and norm criticism, increased capacity to engage in society as an active citizen.

The importance of manual work will remain crucial in the future. Research shows that manual work connects motivation, knowledge, active participation, but also trust, feelings of integration, inclusion and respect.

The expected impact of IVS projects on the hosting community

Hosting volunteers in the framework of IVS projects aims to have the following positive effect on the communities:

– Supporting and strengthening civil society organisations in the community 
– Fostering  cooperation between civil society organisations and the local community
– Increased problem solving skills and a greater support for a nonviolent approach to conflicts
– Positive change in attitude towards an inclusive society by creating positive intercultural relationships within/outside the community and increased awareness and valorisation of the community’s own cultural diversity while also questioning/ challenging existing discriminatory norms
– Increased participation and involvement of community members (especially young people) to counter local challenges and to actively engage in civic and climate transitions; building resiliency of the local community 

The hands-on work performed together by volunteers and community members is the catalyst around which intercultural learning, active participation and conflict management are – literally – built every day in workcamps and long-term volunteer programs around the world

The expected positive impact of CCIVS on its members:

– CCIVS members have gained improved knowledge about how to engage (youth) volunteers in the promotion of global solidarity, climate justice and inclusion
– CCIVS members have increased understanding about global interdependence mechanisms and are encouraged to engage in international solidarity initiatives while working on structural changes
– CCIVS members have improved their organisational, management and technical skills:
1. in the field of shared leadership, nonviolent and intercultural communication, conflict mediation, organisational management, fundraising and networking to effectively ensure high quality volunteering that has a lasting positive impact on the volunteers and the communities. 
2. coaching, nonviolent conflict mediation and intercultural communication skills to effectively and respectfully support volunteers and local communities in their projects
3. fundraising, advocacy and organisational development
4. networking skills to connect to and work together with local stakeholders (communities, local authorities, civil society organisations,…) and other IVS organisations. 
– CCIVS members are more aware of the overall quality standards for IVS projects and implement their projects respecting these quality standards
– CCIVS members are more able to adapt to change and innovate their ways of working e.g. using new technologies, setting up new projects or reaching out to new target groups
– CCIVS members are more equipped to challenge the existing power structures in their own organisations, the global CCIVS network and the overall societies to which they belong;   working towards more peaceful, just and regenerative societies
– CCIVS members have increased youth participation in their own governance/leadership structures while promoting intergenerational dialogue and cooperation
– CCIVS members feel supported and strengthened to advocate for non-formal education and a regenerative and human rights based IVS in relevant local and national fora and on global platforms leading to better recognition and support for IVS on local and global level
– CCIVS members feel more part of a growing global movement of IVS organisations and have more opportunities to meet on- and offline

CCIVS has just published a new report on Impact 2010-2020 authored by Francesco Volpini Ryukoku University, Kyoto | Former CCIVS Director

‘Just Volunteers, Why International Voluntary Service doesn’t work… the way you think’ 

What follows is a summary of the process and outcomes of the research efforts implemented by CCIVS and its member organisations during the last years, from the 2013 Impact project and the first official cooperation with universities, to the groundbreaking data of the 2014 International Conference organised by IWO in Korea and the ‘Changing Perspectives II‘ program coordinated by Solidarités Jeunesses France in 2015; until the assessment of the thematic programs on social inclusion, human rights education, climate justice and cultural heritage of the CCIVS campaigns between 2017 and 2020.