Service Civil International

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Service Civil International
founding 1920
founder Pierre Cérésole
Seat Antwerp , Belgium
main emphasis Peacebuilding

Service Civil International (SCI) is an international non-governmental organization that organizes peace services on a voluntary basis. In particular, the SCI offers national and international work camps , long-term volunteer services and educational events. His goal is to do concrete peace work by people from different backgrounds working together for a task and getting to know and understand each other.

Structure and networking

Committee of the International Civil Service 1936: Rodolfo Olgiati third from the left, next to him Pierre Ceresole on the right

The organization has been based on volunteers from the very beginning. The SCI has branches in over 40 countries, which operate decentrally and maintain a common database for coordinating the work camps. The SCI also works with around 80 partner organizations. The umbrella organization, based in Antwerp, has advisory status at the Council of Europe and is a member of the umbrella organizations Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS), European Youth Forum (YFJ), Association of Voluntary Service Organizations (AVSO) and UNITED for Intercultural Action . In 1987 the organization was awarded the Messenger of Peace award by the United Nations .


First SCI work camp near Verdun (1920); left Pierre Ceresole

The organization was founded in 1920 by the Swiss engineer Pierre Cérésole , Rodolfo Olgiati was secretary from 1935. The first volunteer work took place from November 1920 to April 1921 in Verdun , in war-torn France: people from the formerly warring countries did reconstruction work together. The volunteers also often did clean-up work after natural disasters such as avalanches or floods.

In 1936 various volunteer groups joined together to form national organizations and coordinated internationally under the name Service Civil International (SCI) . In 1940, the Switzerland section of the Service Civil International was a founding member of the Swiss Working Group for War Damaged Children (SAK) , which in 1942 became the Children's Aid of the Swiss Red Cross . Rodolfo Olgiati headed its central secretariat in Bern until 1943.

After the Second World War, the activities of the SCI were extended to other countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. During the Cold War , volunteer exchanges began between Western and Eastern Europe. This work was intensified in the 1990s.

The German branch was re-established as the International Voluntary Service for Peace IFDF after the Second World War . The beginnings go back to the beginning of the century, on the German side members of the youth movement were involved. B. Erich Mohr, who advocated German-French understanding early on (1924) .

In Austria, the SCI was founded in 1947 and is organized on a purely voluntary basis.

In France, during the Second World War, the national branch supported the hidden accommodation of Jewish refugees, especially children, in the area around and in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon , along with many other aid organizations. This saved many people from the Germans. The SCI activist Simone Chaumet , together with Jamy (Germaine) Bisserier, saved five Jewish children in Col du Fanget in the French Alps .

Over time, new topics have been added to the workcamp program: self-management , initiative, shared responsibility and gender equality have grown in importance.

Web links

Commons : Service Civil International  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Service Civil International (SCI) - Volunteering for Peace - Partners. Accessed March 19, 2018 (English).
  2. a b SCI Switzerland: History. Retrieved March 19, 2018 .
  3. La cause des enfants en Haute-Loire orientale. Retrieved April 20, 2017 .
  4. ^ Philipp Rodriguez: Simone Tanner-Chaumet - Archives of Service Civil International. Retrieved March 19, 2018 (French).