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Proposal No.2 'Development education'

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Research proposal "From humanitarian help to development education"


The change of the North South activities of Service Civil International 1934 - 1990

This proposal shall reflect the North/South engagement of Service Civil International (SCI) in connection to the development work of the North during the 20thcentury. This study shall also clarify the role of SCI in development work in the past as base for future strategies.


The activities of Service Civil International (SCI) started in 1920 with a peace service in the war damaged region of Verdun (France). The Swiss Pierre Ceresole and other pacifists organised a relief service in order to create reconciliation after First World War.
Soon the services got other purposes in terms of social policy: e.g. promotion of alternative service for conscientious objectors (since 1924), development work (since 1934/1950) or east west exchange (since 1955).
Over the years a network of 35 branches worldwide grow up. SCI organises nowadays about 500 short term social service in order to promote peace, international understanding and solidarity, social justice, sustainable development, and respect for the environment.

Sewagram 1954
Sewagram 1954


After a big Earth quake in Bihar (India) Pierre Ceresole travelled to India in order to judge on the spot the possibilities and methods of giving assistance. In the month and years, which followed, he organised a relief action in the region and a fund-raising campaign in Europe. By that Ceresole expanded not only the activities of SCI to the South. He lead the way to modern development work almost 20 years ahead.
Thanks to the relations to Gandhi and the National movement new activities were started in India in the 50s again. While the project in the 30s was a consequence of catastrophe, the new services were motivated by a principal perception of poverty in India. Although the aid was limited in work and material, SCI proceed for several decades a own and independent development work, which was based on the inclusion of local volunteers. Following several branches of SCI were founded in Asia while in a number of long term cooperation with partner organisations in Africa began.
In the 70 this strategy was changed. SCI set more and more focus on development education of the volunteers which take part in the North-South exchange. Later so called solidarity workcamps were organised and public campaigns were initiated in the North in order to promote public awareness rising about North South issues.


Preliminary studies & research sources

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The proposal is meant for historical reappraisal. But it's possible to link it to the present day by taking part in the North/South programme of SCI. There are possibilities to publish about the subject in SCI publications and to present it at meetings and seminars.

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