Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange is a unique user-led registered charity working in the field of personal, social and community development. We are an ethical volunteering organisation and ICYE volunteers support local communities worldwide and can make a real difference to peoples’ lives. ICYE-UK also host volunteers in the UK because we believe strongly in the principles of a reciprocal exchange.
Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE UK) is a volunteering charity with extensive experience in international volunteering. ICYE UK volunteers live and work in countries throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, helping to support local NGOs, communities and to develop their own skills and experiences. Our main programme is our long-term programme, which enables individuals to volunteer for 6-12 months but we also have a short-term programme, which is 3-16 weeks.
As part of an international federation of NGOs, ICYE UK ensures excellent training and support and prides itself on breaking cultural barriers and bringing different people together. The federation’s aim is to promote peace, cultural understanding and youth empowerment through opportunities of international exchange and voluntary work overseas.
Our projects work across fields including youth development and teaching, HIV/AIDS awareness and health promotion, sports coaching and arts, human rights and environmental conservation. Uniquely ICYE UK also receives and supports young people from all over the world to volunteer at social projects throughout the UK as part of a global exchange.
ICYE works differently to many other charities and organisations that specialise in sending volunteers abroad and some of these reasons are listed below:
There are many international volunteering organisations in the UK that send volunteers worldwide and very few that also host volunteers on Charity Projects in the UK from abroad. ICYE-UK believe strongly in the idea of reciprocal exchanges and inter-cultural learning; The ICYE Federations enables volunteers from developing countries to be able to experience living in another culture as well as facilitating placements for volunteers from other European Countries abroad.
It is part of a Federation of local ICYE Organisations: ICYE-UK only sends volunteers to countries where there is an existing ICYE Partner Organisation. In order to be a member of the Federation partners have to be a registered charity in their country or a not-for-profit organisation. ICYE partner organisations are run by local staff and volunteers. This helps ensure better project relations and in-country support for volunteers, as well as providing employment and work experience for local young people.
ICYE-UK is a registered charity and as such is run by a board of Trustees. ICYE-UK’s Trustees are democratically elected in a yearly Annual General Meeting (AGM) where ex-volunteers and members are invited to vote or put themselves forward for trusteeships. ICYE therefore is run by volunteers for volunteers.
Sustainability: The ICYE Federation was founded in 1949 and has been helping volunteer around the world ever since. The majority of the projects that each ICYE member country works with will host volunteers on a regular basis from one exchange year to the next. This helps provide continuous support for projects and also means that work can be continued and built upon from one year to the next
In addition ICYE has been recognised as an ‘International Peace Messenger’ by the United Nations General Assembly.