Welthaus Bielefeld

Who we are

The Welthaus (World house) Bielefeld is a developmental organization, in which volunteer as well as full time employees work together for global social justice and sustainable development. In our member groups many people do voluntary public work on development related issues or in African and South American countries, support partner projects, take part in the “woza-choir” or are involved in fair trade.
The full-time employees contribute to an essential part towards culture- and lobby work, organize cultural events, arrange mutual development work with our partners, are responsible for fundraising and administration. The general meeting decides over the guidelines for working together with the General Assembly of the association.
The Welthaus Bielefeld is a non-governmental organization that values its independence but seeks cooperation with various social groups. We are recognized as a charitable organization and as a youth welfare, lead the DZI seal of approval and we are signatories to the pledge of the Civil Society Initiative Transparent, which testifies the reliance of our donations. The free magazine “Welthaus-Info” informs about our work as well as current development issues.

What we want

Our activities are based on our belief that the quality of life in the less developed countries is closely linked to the political and economic decisions that are made by the more developed industrial countries. For this reason our corporation has decided on a preferred “project-area”. The situation of the extremely underprivileged people in developing countries is the origin of our work. This includes the critical analysis of the impact of globalization.
The structure for all Welthaus’ activities is a socially equitable and ecological sustainable development with lasting impact.

This includes:

  • the realization of human rights
  • the realization of a world (economic) system, that allows social equality and justice
  • empowering the social, political and economic role of females
  • promote the cultural dialogue
  • eliminate discrimination worldwide

We recognize that these goals are only attainable in the long term if we cooperate with other political powers. Yet, we will not leave it out of our sight as a guideline for our work. Our general concept combines local development work with southern partners together with educational-, public- and cultural work in the north. At the same time we are involved through many networks worldwide to individuals, organizations and initiatives.
The Welthaus Bielefeld lives from the support of its members and sponsors.
Join us and get involved!

Our Union

The Welthaus Bielefeld originated in 1980 under the name “Third World House”. It was developed by a residential community that was put together by members of the African Action Committee (Akafrik) and some groups that were already active in development since the 1970s. This included women for South Africa, the working group of the church for solidarity, the Catholic Student Association and the South American working group.
Nowadays over 120 people are active in 12 different house groups. Eighteen full-time employees work in the areas for culture, education, foreign projects, volunteer work, public- and lobby work, fundraising and administration.
The Welthaus Bielefeld broadcasts nationwide due to its regional central position and is therefore a solid development program in Germany. It is a symbol for its creative power of the Third sector with its two distinctive buildings both old and new modern buildings.

The concept of the Welthaus Bielefeld is:

Framework for all of the Welthaus’ activities is sustainable development in terms of Agenda 21.This includes:

  • Realization of basic human rights
  • Realization of a global economic order that allows the empowerment of females in terms of their social, political and economic status
  • the promotion of cultural dialogue and exchange
  • the world wide abolishment of racism

We are trying to achieve these goals by including a variety of areas such as:

  • approach to fair trade
  • promote environmental projects
  • debt relief in developing countries
  • sustainable development of the north corresponding to the global responsibility
  • mediation of complex and dynamic understanding of various cultures
  • improving the quality of life, living conditions and reducing poverty in Southern countries

With public-, cultural- and lobby work we are trying to achieve:

  • Clarify North-South relations, e.g. Impact of globalization
  • demonstrate different lifestyles and diminish prejudice
  • encourage people to reflect their own behavior in the north-south context and to change this if necessary
  • to label the deficits of its own society and to formulate clear demands and objectives of the northern politics
  • represent the demands of our southern partners by counsel

Together through development work with our southern partners we are trying to:

  • Support disadvantaged populations in their struggle for justice and to strengthen their potential to help themselves
  • Build up continuous partnerships e.g. school- and city partnerships
  • Support the development of community cooperation and strengthen civil society
  • Provide humanitarian aid for long term development and construction after disasters
  • Do public work in relation to our projects

Through cultural work we want to achieve:

  • Promote the North-South communication, dialogue and tolerance
  • Support the cultural exchange with and for the youth
  • Mediate the cultural resources
  • Support southern artists and migrants in the cultural sector in order to promote their work in Germany

Through volunteering, especially weltwärts, we want:

  • contribute to the development policy awareness and to question the usual perspectives
  • strengthen organizations involved in the partner countries and in Germany in their work
  • establish and support solidarity networks and partnerships
  • create a basis for further engagement in the sense of global learning and contribute to the fact that volunteers are responsible citizen of the world

Our Orientation and concept

For us it is clear that these goals are only attainable in the long term if we cooperate with other political powers. Yet, we will not leave it out of our sight as a guideline for our work. Our general concept combines local development work with southern partners together with educational-, public- and cultural work in the north. We also show the need for development in northern countries and their global responsibility.

Full-time and voluntary commitment
The Welthaus’ commitment consists out of voluntary houses and full-time employees. Currently, there are twelve voluntary house groups dealing with different issues and countries and eighteen full-time workers divided over eleven posts. Without the house group volunteer work, the broad base connection and the intensive and continuous partnerships and relationships to our project partners in the southern countries would not be possible.

Cooperation partners
In order to extend our work and make it more effective, we cooperate with different regional and national partners. The work with these partners increases our effectiveness and the quality of our work at the same time as it has synergic effects. The perception of our mutual projects is becoming greater in public. We cooperate with schools and communities locally as well as urban committees such as the “City-partnership-commission” of Bielefeld. Our national cooperation partners are “Eine Welt Netz NRW” (One World Network North-Rhine Westphalia) with the campaign “Erlassjahr.de” and “Coordination Southern Africa” (KOSA), amongst many others.

Educational and public work
The Educational-, Public- and Lobby work has always been a focus point of the “Welthaus Bielefeld”. This is because development should not be understood as a “catching up” process of underdeveloped countries but as an urgent new orientation of all countries due to social and ecological reasons. This orientation also needs to take place in people minds. Our cultural work addresses children, adolescents, teachers, community groups and migrant groups amongst others. We work together with schools and communes. We are well-known nationwide due to our teaching material. We want to address as many and as broad layers of population as possible in order to achieve and influence our goals. Training courses and seminars for discussions with political decision-makers and society increase the efficiency and impact of our work. The Welthaus Bielefeld also does “Advocacy” work, meaning that we represent the demands of southern human rights groups, churches and trade unions towards the northern politics and economy.

Development work
Economic exploitation of the industrial nations, unequal trade and interest in power of local elites are responsible for the quality of life for a majority of the so called third world population, which is still low and engraved by poverty. The people of these countries, however, have not lost hope and are still fighting for a humane life. We try to support the southern people in their own initiative through cooperation’s with basic groups and “self-help”-initiatives.
The Welthaus Bielefeld has a long and intense history and a partnership with many project partners. These projects that have often been led and accompanied by volunteer groups. The project work is only a small contribution to combating poverty. A sustainable change can only be realized through fairer economic and social structures. This is why public work, that shows the background of the social disparities, is an essential part to project work.

Cultural work
We want to present the vitality and complexity of different cultures to a broad public with our cultural work such as the school culture program, the carnival of cultures or the “Weltnachtfestival” (World Night Festival). The greatest opportunity of the cultural work is the broad audience that can be reached and targeted.

Donations and grants
We act economically and are transparent with the donations and grants that we receive. The seal of approval of the DZI confirms this. We inform all of our donors about the process of our work. A part of our capital is obtained by us, such as by the sale of our brochures and school materials or earning of our cultural events. However, only a small part of the Welthaus’ work can be called a „service“, since it serves much more the community and is therefore dependent on donations and grants. Donations are the basis of our financiering, which then allows us to apply for further grants. Our main „grant givers“ are churchly institutions, the town Bielefeld, North Rhine Westphalia, the „NRW-foundation of environment and development“, the “federal industry for economic and development joint work” as well as the “European Commission”. A large proportion of the grants are dependent on the authorization of project offers. The proof for an efficient, transparent and functional use of all bonuses and contributions is self-evident.