International Volunteers for Peace (IVP) is the Australian Group of Service Civil International (SCI), and a member of Network for Volunteer Development in Asia (NVDA). These are worldwide networks promoting peace and justice through voluntary work. We are a non-profit organisation that develops volunteer projects in Australia and offers Australians the opportunity to participate in projects overseas. IVP exchanges volunteers with organisations in over 50 countries with the aim of encouraging understanding among different peoples and appreciation of the problems communities face in their struggles for peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
Why participate in an IVP project?
Participating in one of IVP’s volunteer projects will allow you to connect with the world community through practical personal experience. Because IVP’s projects involve practical work with local community groups, you will gain the satisfaction of completing hands-on work that is of material benefit to the community you are working with. This can often be a very empowering experience, but it will also mean that you will be able to gain a personal perspective on how issues such as economic inequality, social exclusion and environmental degradation operate on a local level.
You will work with an international group, which provides a great opportunity for making friends with people all over the world. This is especially the case during an IVP project, where our volunteers not only work together, but also share cooking and cleaning duties, living space and recreational time with each other. Projects are also run democratically which helps volunteers build trust in each other and will enhance your group decision-making skills. This time together can help build a close-knit group. However volunteering with people from quite different cultures can also present challenges and frustrations. For IVP this presents one of the greatest opportunities of an international volunteer project – the chance to learn how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful and productive manner. So IVP projects not only provide practical benefits to local communities, they also allow our volunteers to practice living in democratic communities – where conflict becomes an opportunity to learn how to live peacefully with others.
The benefits of participating in overseas voluntary work don’t end when the project finishes and for some volunteers the experience of an IVP workcamp will signal the beginning of a life-long commitment to social justice and non-violence.
What does IVP believe?
Our vision is a world of peace, social justice and sustainable development, where all people live together with mutual respect and without recourse to any form of violence to solve conflict.
Our mission is to promote peace and intercultural understanding through volunteering and international voluntary projects.
– Believes that all people are capable of living together with mutual respect, and without recourse to violence to solve conflicts between nations, communities or people, working for the promotion of peace.
– Is Concerned for all people, and particularly for those who are victims of violence, as well as social, economic and political injustice or who suffer from hunger or disease.
– Supports action which encourages the development of a new way of living founded upon international solidarity, justice, mutual understanding, participation in policy making at all levels, and a respect for individuals as stated in the Universal Declaration of
– Bases its work on developing peoples’ own initiatives to solve their own problems.
– Analyses and evaluates all work, taking into account both the local and wider contexts in which it is carried out.
– Organises voluntary service in co-operation with local communities in case of need, recognising the educational role of such service to encourage understanding and self-discipline. No work shall be undertaken which competes with paid labour, or causes strikebreaking.
– Spreads through the means of practical work, across the barriers that divide people, a new spirit that will render the concept of violence less and less acceptable, and the degradation of human dignity impossible.
– Promotes voluntary international service aimed at will fostering greater confidence between nations and eventually replace military service. Equally, in countries where compulsory military service exists, without the possibility of alternative service, IVP works for the realisation of such service for conscientious objectors.
– Takes Action that is appropriate, non-violent and international in situations of tension, war and injustice.
– Works for constructive changes in unjust structures that exist in society and that divide people from one another.
– Encourages and experiments in new forms of community life with the objectives of fostering tolerance and a questioning of our own attitudes.
– Acts as a catalyst, in a spirit of humility and compassion, for change within individuals and society.
(Based on the International Constitution of Service Civil International, SCI)