Since the origin of IVS, post World War I, one of the main aims has always been to strive towards a just and equal world. Today's society shows an ever growing gap on an economic, social and geographical level and freedom of movement throughout the world is becoming more and more complex. On a local and global level inequalities exist which means that many people are not able to fully develop their capabilities and to take an active role in society.
Different approaches have been developed to allow all citizens (regardless of their social-economic background, religion, culture, nationality, age and gender), to fully participate in IVS on a local and global level. IVS organisations develop local and global projects which aim to provide long term trainings on capacity building which can then lead to employment; inclusion policies on workcamps worldwide, i.e. places allocated to people facing any kind of social exclusion; campaigns to raise awareness about the social divide and to advocate for equality and freedom of movement.
Many projects have been developed in the area of social inclusion and active participation throughout IVS history. It is important to share an overview of these actions and to stress that in order to achieve the overall vision of active citizenship, which encompasses active participation and social inclusion and means the full development of a person in society, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The 10 year strategic plan for IVS 2011-2021 envisages:
A society which allows freedom of movement in which all members without distinction are empowered to exercise active citizenship
A. Access for all in IVS regardless of the social-economic situation, religion, culture, nationality, age and gender Accessibility and freedom of movement are one of the highest priorities. Through IVS projects people from all continents and backgrounds can be empowered to raise awareness on the importance of active citizenship. There is a need to increase the quality and sustainability of the work of IVS organisations, develop communication channels and improve internal networking. To facilitate this process the following activities should be developed; an awareness raising campaign to establish contact and to promote IVS activities to all stakeholders; advocacy for the establishment of an international status for volunteers facilitating the creation of a volunteer visa and advocate for freedom of movement; Reinforced capacity building for members of IVS organisations on social inclusion; development of innovative projects focusing on special target groups finding ways to increase motivation, participation and long term involvement.
B. Achieve better visibility and support to be recognised as important actors in enhancing active citizenship.
It is important to know the impact of the work developed and to use it for local and global recognition. The lack of recognition, human and financial resources prevents IVS organisations from advancing and involving people from different backgrounds and regions. Improved visibility, recognition and support in society and on an institutional level must be achieved. In order to attain this; all existing documents on work developed with people experiencing social exclusion must be reviewed and shared and the information used in order to further develop capacity building for IVS organisations on social inclusion; the impact of IVS in relation to social inclusion, active participation and mobility in society should be researched; Information needs to be diffused about IVS and the impact of its actions to all stakeholders.