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World Heritage Volunteers

The World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) initiative was launched in 2008 to mobilize and involve young people and youth organizations in World Heritage preservation and promotion.

Six years of fruitful experience.

2000

2000 volunteers
have participated

173

173 action camps
have been held

29

in 29 countries
around the world

55

with 55 local
organization and NGOs

The project continues to receive a considerable amount of attention on social media, raising awareness of World Heritage issues and volunteer activity opportunities among youths. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre coordinates the overall implementation of the initiative in collaboration with international and regional volunteer service organizations.

Objectives

To raise awareness among young people, volunteers, local communities, and concerned authorities of the need to protect and promote World Heritage.;
To get young people involved in World Heritage preservation through concrete projects at sites, allowing them to learn new skills and express ideas.
Provide young people with opportunities to learn basic preservation and conservation techniques.
Foster cooperation between local youth organizations, communities, site management and authorities.
Identify best practices and develop non-formal education tools to facilitate stakeholders’ participation in the World Heritage education.

 


Youth Action Camps

The World Heritage Volunteers initiative consists of youth action camps, which are organized by local youth organizations or NGOs. The action camps generally last between two or four weeks, where young volunteers carry out concrete actions, comprizing both hands-on preventive conservation activities and information sessions on issues related to World Heritage, as well as activities carried out together with local communities. Each action camp accommodates some ten to thirty national and international volunteer participants.

World Heritage Volunteers 2014

This year the campaign will be contributing to:
the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
and the Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020).

Action for Sustainability

Read more

List of Projects

Frequently Asked Question
World Heritage Volunteers

What is World Heritage Volunteers?

World Heritage Volunteers (WHC) is an initiative to raise awareness among young people of the importance of World Heritage conservation, and give them concrete skills by working on a project through an action camp at a World Heritage site. Each year some 50 action camps around the world are carried out which promote specific thematic such as Biodiversity, Sustainable Development, etc. For example, in 2013 there were 52 projects implemented in 52 World Heritage sites in 32 countries, involving 43 organizations and promoting Sustainable Development and the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Who selects and who organizes action camps?

World Heritage action camp projects are selected by UNESCO each year to be part of WHV, and each project is organized by local youth organizations, non-governmental organizations or heritage and education institutions.

Who can participate?

Generally, participants are students between 18 and 30 years old, but the requirements can vary according to the country and the project. To learn more about an action camp and the application requirements, you must contact the local organization in charge of that project (UNESCO does not accept applications).
Consult the list of projects planned for 2014, with contact details for applying.

Is it possible to volunteer at a World Heritage site another way?

UNESCO does not organize volunteer activities at World Heritage sites outside of the WHV programme. If you are interested in volunteering at a World Heritage site, you may wish to contact a volunteer organization (such as WWF, Greenpeace, etc.) in case they have a project that would interest you.
Or, you may wish to contact the National Commission for UNESCO in the country where you would like to volunteer, to see if they know of an organization that could help you.

Are there any other requirements to become a World Heritage Volunteer?

Volunteers are expected to contribute their share of the expenses, such as the cost of their travel to the site, and insurance. Food and lodging are provided by the host organization. Many assignments are in remote locations, and volunteers are expected to respect local customs. English is the recommended language for communication, but the language(s) used will mostly depend on the organizers and the country where the camp will be held.

For Organizations

How can my organization apply to run a World Heritage Volunteers project?

If your organization fulfills the selection criteria (see below), you should fill in the application form and send it to the relevant coordinating bodies. The report should be short and to the point, presenting a clear picture of the objectives and activities of the project.

When is the deadline to apply to run a camp?

The call for proposals usually starts in November or December, for the following year.

How long does the selection process take?

The selection process is usually completed in February, and the list of selected WHV projects is then announced.

What are the criteria for selection?

The criteria for selection changes for each campaign, but in general the projects need to fulfill the following criteria:
  • The project is organized in immediate connection to a site inscribed on the World Heritage List or a site on the country’s Tentative List.
  • The project demonstrates best efforts to involve the community, site managers and local authorities in planning details of the activities.
  • Activities include a systematic reflection on issues related to World Heritage as well as practical hands-on skills training for the volunteers.
  • The project can be linked to the theme of the annual campaign.
  • Organizers commit to implementing their projects as per approved proposals and to submit a full activity report, including images, videos and other results, demonstrating the concrete engagement of young volunteers in the field of World Heritage.
  • The evaluation report of previous WHV projects carried out by the same organization has to be submitted in order for the new proposal to be considered.

What is the maximum number of projects the organization is eligible to apply for?

Each organization is eligible to apply for a maximum of 4 projects to be carried out in different sites or carrying different themes and activities.

What are the details I should pay attention to when applying?

In general, organizations should consider permits or authorizations to conduct activities in and around the sites, safety issues, accessibility and facilities available, accommodation, transportation, budget, partners and stakeholders, among other things. For more information please refer to the World Heritage Volunteers Project Cycle Practices.

Who will decide whether my project will be part of that year’s World Heritage Volunteers campaign?

Coordinating partner(s) submit to UNESCO World Heritage Centre recommendations and comments on the projects for the campaign of the following year.

Will there be any financial support for the projects available?

Only a limited number of organizations shall receive UNESCO WHC financial support (not exceeding 500 EUR) for the implementation of projects. Priorities are given to projects implemented in Least Developed Countries or Low Income Economies as defined by the UN; a Lower Middle Income Country as defined by the World Bank or one of the Small Island Developing States (SIDs); in a State Party in a post-conflict situation and within the limit of available resources. Organizations requesting financial support are strongly encouraged to provide concrete information to justify their request.

How will organizations receive confirmation that they will take part in the World Heritage Volunteers initiative?

The official confirmation letter will be sent to selected organization, and the profile of the action camp will be published online, including UNESCO WHC webpage. Organizations participating in the World Heritage Volunteers campaigns shall also receive a UNESCO certificate following the successful implementation of the projects.

Will my project be monitored?

Each year UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the coordinating partners of the campaign undertake several monitoring visits to evaluate project progress and results and submit the reports to UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

How will media promotion of the projects be supported?

The promotion of the projects to a large audience through local and national media coverage will be facilitated by the use of promotional material during the projects and the authorization to carry the Patrimonito label which associates the action projects to WHV and the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme.

Who is Patrimonito?

Patrimonito is the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme. The name means ‘small heritage’ in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. The Patrimonito character is based on the World Heritage emblem, and symbolizes the interdependence of culture and nature. The central square is a form created by humankind and the circle represents nature, the two being intimately linked. The emblem is round like the world, but at the same time, it is a symbol of protection.

Can I use Patrimonito and the UNESCO and World Heritage logo in my project?

Using the image of Patrimonito, or the UNESCO and World Heritage logo requires a strict validation process. Organizations participating in WHV are authorized to use the Patrimonito image to promote their World Heritage Volunteer action camp project. Prior written authorization from the World Heritage Centre is required to use the UNESCO and WHC logo and emblem in any publication, platform or format.

What is expected from the organization once the action camp has been held?

Each organization shall submit an evaluation report together with relevant documents and materials (images, photos, videos, media coverage, etc.).

Where can I find more information about the World Heritage Volunteers initiative and previous campaigns?

For more information please visit: whc.unesco.org/en/whvolunteers/ and whvolunteers.org

Contacts

If you have any further questions regarding the WHV 2014 campaign, please contact the World Heritage Volunteers coordinators: Open Houses Germany (info@openhouses.de) for projects in Europe and the Coordination Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) (secretariat@ccivs.org) for all other countries.