Luxembourg is one of the most committed countries in the field of development cooperation. In 2009, official development assistance reached 1.04% of the country’s gross national income, placing it 3rd in the rankings of the world’s most committed donor countries. The Luxembourg government’s development cooperation policy is firmly wedded to achieving the Millennium development goals in a spirit of sustainable development.
There are several opportunities for young people wishing to become involved in development cooperation, thereby contributing to efforts to combat world poverty. These civic engagement opportunities in the development field depend of course on the candidate’s profile and level of experience.
- A large proportion of the opportunities are to be found in Luxembourg community life, whose civil society numbers no fewer than 91 development non-governmental organisations officially authorised to collaborate with the government in the development cooperation arena.
- Other specific opportunities exist within the Luxembourg cooperation agency Lux-Development, or at a multilateral level via the European Commission and UN agencies.
Voluntary Cooperation Service (SVC)
Since February 2009, the youth volunteer service, administered by the National Youth Service (SNJ), has been enhanced by a new volunteer cooperation service (SVC).
This programme is open to young people between the age of 18 and 30 wishing to work in a developing country for between three months and one year, as part of a Luxembourg development NGO project.
Voluntary service requires sustained interest and commitment on the part of the young participants. The latter will be supervised by the Luxembourg NGO Platform, Luxembourg’s National Forum for civil society organisations involved in cooperation, but they will have to identify an NGO themselves and develop their own voluntary work project.
Volunteer status comes with important advantages for young people including a subsistence allowance, enrolment in social security and entitlement to family allowances.
The SNJ website provides more information on this subject.
Volunteer work with NGOs in Luxembourg
Young people who do not wish to undertake a prolonged stay in a developing country can do volunteer work with NGOs in Luxembourg.
There are numerous activities for which there is an increasing need for voluntary commitment by young people:
- development education and awareness raising,
- assistance with formulating development projects,
- fund-raising for the NGO,
- research and writing work.
Professional commitment with NGOs in Luxembourg
Unpaid traineeships at the Directorate of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action
Development students or students in other disciplines (political sciences, social sciences environment, etc.) can also request to undertake an unpaid traineeship at the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs at Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. These traineeships are granted upon receipt of a suitably substantiated request to the Directorate and depending on availability.
Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes
Direction de la coopération au développement et de l'action humanitaire
6, rue de la Congrégation
Tél.: (+352) 247-82479
Lux-Development training programme traineeships
The Luxembourg development agency Lux-Development S.A. is responsible for carrying out Luxembourg’s Directorate for Development Cooperation programmes and bilateral projects located in the following seven partner countries (Africa: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Mali, Niger and Senegal ; Latin America: Nicaragua ; Asia: Laos). Lux-Development takes trainees for a one-year period (renewable), who are assigned to bilateral cooperation projects. These traineeships are aimed at young Luxembourgers or residents who have completed their secondary education and who are looking to gain initial experience of development cooperation. Previous interest and involvement in development issues and the problems of communities living in developing countries, as well as study in this field, are important advantages.
After initial training at the head office, trainees will be assigned to a Lux-Development project in the field: they will have the opportunity to become acquainted with bilateral cooperation work, managing the project cycle and of course with the realities of the partner country as well. Traineeship candidates are chosen by means of a call for applications (with selection based on their dossier and an interview) organised annually (generally around May time) on the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs website.
More in-depth information on Lux-Development’s work can be found on its website: www.luxdev.lu
Junior Professional Officers (JPO) programme with United Nations agencies
This programme is primarily aimed at young professionals under the age of 32 who have completed higher education studies and who wish to gain hands-on experience of cooperation in a developing country. Accordingly Luxembourg finances a number of junior professional officer positions within United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP), the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
This training programme is aimed at Luxembourg nationals or people who have lived in Luxembourg for at least two years. The junior professional officers are chosen by a selection process initiated by a call for applications (published annually on the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs’ website, typically in May). The contract term is for an initial period of one year and may be extended a year at a time for a maximum period of five years; the posting will either be in a Luxembourg development cooperation partner country, in the local offices of the agency in question or at this agency’s head office.
More information on this programme can be found here: https://www.un.org/development/desa/jpo/
European Commission and EEAS Junior Professionals in Delegation programme (JPD)
This European Commission and EEAS programme is modelled on the United Nations programme, except that contracts with an initial nine-month term can be extended for a further period of nine months.