Candidates in the 2024 election

This year’s candidates for the two available positions introduce themselves here:

NORTH-SOUTH COMPONENT

Heiko Manz
My name is Heiko A. Manz, and I am currently a student of International Relations in Groningen, Netherlands. Starting August, I will begin my Master’s in International Relations
in Berlin. In 2019/2020, I had the privilege of participating in the weltwärts program and working in Ramallah, Palestine. The Evangelical Diaconia was my sending organization, and I worked at the St. Andrew’s Guesthouse.

Find out more about me here:

The Guesthouse in Ramallah, Palestine, plays a crucial role as an educational institution, providing practical training opportunities for 60 students in grades 11 and 12. They are comprehensively prepared for the field of hotel management and receive hands-on training. Additionally, the Guesthouse serves as an interreligious learning center where Palestinian Christians and Muslims come together to learn and grow. This interreligious collaboration significantly contributes to promoting intercultural understanding and strengthening the community in the Palestinian context.
Currently, I am a student actively engaging with the global challenges and opportunities in my studies. My experiences with weltwärts have inspired me to develop concrete ideas and visions for the program’s further development. I firmly believe that through continuous improvement of the programs, we can facilitate even deeper encounters on an equal footing and maximize the impact on local communities.
I am inspired by young people who embark on the adventure of weltwärts and voluntary service. Their dedication and willingness to work for a better world motivate me to continue advocating for international development and intercultural exchange.
As the weltwärts Representative in the Program Steering Committee, I would actively advocate for the implementation of these ideas and strive to advance the goals and visions of weltwärts. With my skills in international cooperation and passion for intercultural exchange, I feel well-equipped to make a valuable contribution.

Zoe Marsch
Hi, I’m Zoe, 19, from Leipzig. Until March last year, I volunteered in Tamil Nadu, India, at a girls’ home. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed my time in India, I now question my voluntary service a lot. I am currently studying social and cultural anthropology in which we explicitly discuss global power dynamics.

More detailed about me:

I would like to combine my criticism of certain projects and at the same time support and recognise the potential of the „weltwärts“ program for young people. I think one of the most important aspects is to reflect on one’s own position and thus one’s own perspective in the world.
Because of the 400 words limit, this seems to me like a short summary of my criticism, a „mini version” of it: I particularly question projects and volunteer services that reproduce colonial structures, projects that are criticized as „white saviorism” and „voluntourism”. I see the growing demand for volunteer services as contributing to the increasing number of partner organizations that rely on colonial narratives. Organizations that are based in the Global North and have a completely different view of living standards or ideas of what is „needed in the country”. I also question the basic principle of „development aid” initiated by European countries, in particular, the standard of the Global North, which assesses and classifies the fragility or the need for „development” of a country. Instead, ideas and perspectives from both countries should be included and all parties should benefit from the exchange. Specifically, I could imagine including more projects that are initiated by people from the other country in the „weltwärts” program.
I will end with two inspiring people or their theories, which have opened my eyes and also fit thematically: Edward Saïd analyzes the construct of „Orientalism”. He observes how the „West”/the „Occident” constructs the „East” and the exoticized, romanticized „Orient”. Hereby the „Occident“ is clearly differentiated from the „Orient“. Apart from the ascribed characteristics, one can already question the perspective from which the concept of the „Near East” emerged; from which perspective the „Near East” is thus located to the east. In my opinion, Saïd’s analysis is a good example of how global power structures, knowledge and emotions are linked to each other and often arise in an ontologically Eurocentric way. Auturo Escobar offers another inspiring view of global power structures with his analysis of the „One world world”, in which there is only room for one world: the Global North.

SOUTH-NORTH-COMPONENT

Bongani Makhubela
My name is Bongani Makhubela, I am someone who can work well interculturally and in a diverse environment. I can work well in a group and also lead tasks or take the initiative when needed. I have a strong commitment to international co-operation and a wealth of experience in the field of intercultural education.

Here it gets more detailed:

I see it as my responsibility and opportunity to represent the interests of former volunteers at a political level.
My relationship with the weltwärts programme began in the period from 2016 to 2017, when I worked as a South-North development volunteer through weltwärts at Welthaus Bielefeld. During this time, I organised seminars on political education and immersed myself in the dynamics of international development cooperation. This experience not only broadened my understanding of global challenges, but also strengthened my conviction that we can bring about positive change through coordinated and committed action.
As a Welwärts volunteer, I was not only a part of the programme, but also a living example of the opportunities and challenges that come with international volunteering. I now want to use this perspective to ensure that the voices and needs of volunteers are heard and considered.
My professional background as a political education officer specialising in racism critique and as a part-time freelancer for SDGs and global learning provides me with a solid foundation to understand and constructively address the complex issues and challenges of weltwärts. I bring not only expertise in areas such as anti-racism, sustainability and intercultural communication, but also a passion for social justice and human rights, which are the cornerstones of the weltwärts programme.
My vision for the role of volunteer representation in the PSA is to create an inclusive and transparent platform where the voices of all volunteers can be heard. I strive to improve communication between volunteers, sending organisations and the BMZ and to ensure that the needs and concerns of volunteers are taken into account in all decision-making processes.
I am committed to representing the interests of former volunteers and helping to ensure that the weltwärts programme continues to have a positive and lasting impact even after it has ended. My childhood hero is Nelson Mandela. His tireless commitment to freedom, justice and reconciliation inspired me from a young age. To me, Mandela epitomises the power of resistance to injustice and the ability to hold on to hope and forgiveness despite adversity. His legacy reminds me that every individual has the power to bring about positive change and that we can all work towards a better world.

Election page

The following link will take you to the actual election page.

https://survey.grenzenlos.org/index.php/794255?lang=en

As both a volunteer representative and a deputy representative are being sought this year, you have a total of two votes to cast. Thank you for helping to shape weltwärts with your vote!