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World Heritage Volunteers Initiative

Within the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme, World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) Initiative has been launched since 2008 in collaboration with the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) to mobilise and involve young people and youth organisations in World Heritage preservation and promotion.

World Heritage Volunteers 2016

List of selected projects

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8 years
of fruitful experience.


3500 volunteers
have participated


219 219 action camps
have been held


in 46 countries
around the world


with 52 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. Due to outstanding growth of World Heritage Volunteers Initiatives, World Heritage Centre has collaborated with global and regional partners for the implementation of World Heritage Volunteers action camps.


©Jeremie Jung-UNESCO-CCIVS

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 organisations, communities, site management and authorities.

Identify best practices and develop non-formal education tools to facilitate stakeholders’ participation in the World Heritage education.

Action Camps


The World Heritage Volunteers action camps are organised by local youth organisations, NGO’s, heritage or education related institutions or other organisations.

The action camps generally have a minimum of 10 full days of activities, where young volunteers carry out concrete actions, comprising both hands-on preventive conservation activities and awareness sessions on issues related to World Heritage, as well as other activities carried out together with local communities. Each action camp accommodates ten to thirty national and international volunteer participants.


Since the initiative has reached a new phase of development where it has become an essential youth-involved volunteer initiative, World Heritage Volunteer is now coordinated in collaboration with CCIVS and regional coordination by European Heritage Volunteers and Better World.

World Heritage Centre is responsible for the overall World Heritage Volunteers initiative by direction and supervision of the whole coordination.

European Heritage Volunteers, as a branch of Open Houses, has been in charge of regional coordination in Europe since 2014.

CCIVS is responsible for the global coordination of the initiative and in charge of regional coordination in Africa, Arab States and Latin America.

Better World has been in charge of regional coordination in Asia since 2015.

In common, all coordinators are responsible to promote the initiative, assist the participating organisations and evaluate their action camps as the regional coordinators.

As each coordinator has played a role in a platform to communicate between World Heritage Centre and the organisations participating in World Heritage Volunteers, the organisations which are interested in the action camps for World Heritage Volunteers are required to contact with each regional coordinator directly.

(Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service)

The CCIVS is an International Non-Governmental Organisation engaged in the field of International Voluntary Service, created under the aegis of the UNESCO in 1948. It brings together more than 200 international and national organisations from all over the world.

Website: ccivs.org
Contact to Ms Victoria Lovelock (Director) secretariat@ccivs.org (for projects in Africa, Arab states and latin America)

European Heritage Volunteers (as branch of Open Houses)

European Heritage Volunteers has organised volunteering and educational projects at cultural and natural heritage sites since 2000. The programme, partly organised by European Heritage Volunteers and partly in cooperation with other institutions and organisations, aims both to professionals and volunteers without heritage-linked skills and includes conservation and restoration activities, training courses in handcraft, projects for students, volunteer camps and other projects providing education and awareness raising in the field of heritage.

Website www.heritagevolunteers.eu
Contact to Mr. Bert Ludwig info@heritagevolunteers.eu (for projects in Europe)

Better World

Better World / International Workcamp Organization, is a Korea-based non-profit NGO created in 1999 whose main mission is to empower people and communities towards a shared vision of a peaceful and sustainable world, driven by engaged citizens. The main focus of Better World activities is on global education, community development and international volunteering, considered as complementary elements and tools to build a sustainable culture of peace.

Website http://www.1.or.kr/
Contact to Mr Francesco whv@betterworld.asia (for projects in Asia)

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?

Si vous avez d’autres questions sur la campagne de Volontariat pour le patrimoine mondial 2016, veuillez contacter les coordinateurs du Volontariat pour le patrimoine mondial
Open Houses Allemagne (info@openhouses.de) pour les projets en Europe et le Comité de coordination du service volontaire international (CCIVS) (secrétariat@ccivs.org) pour tous les autres pays.