One in ten Germans can imagine doing development service abroad. A lot more would be interested, but they have reservations. The contractual basis and the terms and conditions of development service are a mystery to all but a few people.* Eva and Pablo, for example, have a lot of questions about development service. Andrea Berg, a member of AGdD’s working group on "Social Security and Development Workers’ Contracts" and a team leader at AGIAMONDO, has some answers.
* Results of a target group analysis commissioned by AGdD and conducted by the comX Institute in 2019/2020
** Two fictitious people who are interested in doing development service
Eva: I can well imagine working abroad for a while. I want to make a meaningful contribution in a place where life is more difficult for a lot of people. But do you get paid at all when you do development service?
Pablo: I’m Spanish. We don’t have any development agencies that send out professional or skilled workers. Can I apply to a German agency? Would the same conditions apply as for Eva?
Pablo: You can’t be sure to get good medical care in some host countries. What happens if I fall ill out there? Do I have to take out worldwide health insurance?
Pablo: Do I have to fulfil certain health criteria before I can go? The climate is very different in a lot of countries, for example. Do I need special vaccinations?
Eva: I have two small children. What do we need to bear in mind? And who bears the extra costs?
Eva: And what if I become pregnant during my term of service? Can I return home to give birth? And do I have a right to maternity leave and parental leave?
Eva: What’s the situation as regards local schools for children? Are there German or international schools? What fees will we have to pay?
Pablo: In some host countries, there’s a higher security risk - due to political unrest, crime, or natural disasters, for example. Will I be prepared for this? And who will help and support us if something happens?
Pablo: What happens if, for example, my mental health is suffering because of stressful circumstances in the host country?
Eva: If I have a contract for two years or longer, I’ll want to take a vacation in my home country and visit friends and family. Is that possible and will travel expenses be covered?
Eva: When we finally return home, will we be able to get unemployment benefit? And is any other support provided?