Agencies engaged in social structure assistance

"Social structure assistance" is an instrument that was established in the 1960s in order to ensure that broad sections of the population participate in development cooperation measures, and to foster self-help and encourage people to show initiative.

With this goal in mind, the BMZ promotes the worldwide activities of seven agencies that are engaged in social structure assistance, which have the specialist knowledge and expertise required for this form of support:

  • Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO),

  • Bildungswerk des Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes e.V.
    (Education Centre of the Confederation of German Trade Unions, DGB),

  • Bremen Overseas Research and Development Agency (BORDA),

  • Deutscher Caritasverband (Caritas Germany),

  • Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband e.V.
    (German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation),

  • Institut für Internationale Zusammenarbeit des Deutschen Volkshochschulverbandes (Institute for International Cooperation
    of the German Adult Education Association, DVV),

  • Sozial- und Entwicklungshilfe des Kolpingwerkes
    (Social and Development Aid of the Kolping Society).

The agencies receiving support focus their efforts in particular on establishing and strengthening self-help organisations, especially cooperatives, on establishing social work structures and on municipal development, adult education and suprasectoral development projects and programmes.

In 1999, the seven agencies got together to found the Social Improvement Network (AGS), in order to share their experience, bundle their expertise and coordinate their work with specialist partners abroad.

These agencies are involved in projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In 2009 the BMZ provided 39.5 million euros to support their work.

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