Before and after development service

Civic engagement

Professional development workers are more socially ionvolved thnt the average member of society. This is also evidence of the major importance of seeking the common good as a motive for undertaking development service. The practical expression of solidarity is and remains at the heart of development service. 

More than 70 percent of professionals had already been engaged in social action or voluntary work before they undertook development service. And the figures indicate that development service or civil peace service strengthened their commitment.

The majority of professionals are convinced that development service strengthens one's motivation to become actively involved in a wide variety of social causes. As can be seen from the many examples on these pages, when someone experiences intimately the living conditions of people in other parts of the world and builds personal relationships during their period of service, this clearly has an impact.

As a result, after completing development service, nearly 90 percent of the returnees are avctively involved in social action or voluntary work in a wide variety of ways. Many are involved in counselling individuals or organisations. Or they take on voluntary work or give financial and/or moral support to projects, networks, or individuals. And many returnees are engaged in development education and/or supporting partnership projects in the Global South. Many also talk about helping and supporting individuals, e.g. refugees. These aspects of returning are diverse and exciting. 

All this indicates that, in most cases, although deployment in development service or civil peace service is not the initial impetus for civic engagement, it does strengthen and transform such involvement.

This, in return, leads to the conclusion that the country of origin also benefits from people undertaking development service because of the expertise that they acquire, the broadening of their horizons, and the contribution that the returning professionals make to social change.

In-depth interviews about the study

As part of the AGdD study 2022 "Before and after development service: A quantitative study among returnees (2011-2020) in-depth interviews were conducted with some study participants. They talked about their experiences, motivations for a development service and its influence until today - e.g. in the form of social engagement after their return.

Read more