Frequently Asked Questions

What is World Servants Netherlands?

  • A non-profit organization based and legally established in the Netherlands since 1988.
  • A Christian ministry with 16 staff members and a € 2,7 million in annual expenses.
  • A movement consisting of 30 local groups and 400 volunteers in the Netherlands.
  • A part of the international family of World Servants organizations.
  • A part of the ICCO cooperation.


What is the relationship between World Servants Netherlands and World Servants Inc. in the USA?

  • We're an independent “daughter” of World Servants Inc. in the United States.
  • We share the same international mission, but we have different boards and constitute separate organizations.
  • World Servants USA serves as our fiscal sponsor, so that donations made to World Servants Netherlands through World Servants USA are tax-deductable.


What does it mean that World Servants Netherlands is a Christian ministry?

  • We require a Christian faith commitment from our board members, staff members, and key volunteers.
  • We have weekly devotions and daily prayer meetings at our office.
  • We work together with Christian partner organizations, either Protestant or Catholic.
  • We provide Christians in the Netherlands an opportunity to put their faith into action.
  • We welcome participants from all Christian backgrounds, as well as those who do not consider themselves as Christians but are nevertheless willing to be part of a community of Christians.


What does World Servants Netherlands do?

  • We organize about 25 short-term mission trips per year.
  • We build classrooms, clinics, staff houses, latrines, and other basic community infrastructure.
  • We recruit and prepare about 500 young people and 200 adults a year to participate in this work.


Where does World Servants Netherlands work?

  • Worldwide.
  • We recruit and prepare our participants in the Netherlands.
  • We support construction projects in 11 countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • In our projects countries, we generally work in rural and remote areas, characterized by high levels of poverty and low levels of access to basic services.


How does World Servants Netherlands decide where to work?

  • We look at three criteria: the development needs of the operational area, the degree to which conditions for change are present in this area, and the added value of our operations in this area.
  • We prefer to work in countries with a low or medium development level, because this is where the impact on both the local communities and our participants is greatest. Among least developed countries, a distinction can be made between stable and fragile states, the latter of which are not an option for us due to security risks.
  • We prefer English-speaking countries over French-speaking countries, because it constitutes less of a language barrier to our participants.


How does World Servants Netherlands work?

  • We work with local churches in the Netherlands to recruit entire teams for our work, but also recruit smaller groups or individuals whom we bring together into teams. Our teams usually consist of 30 to 40 participants.
  • We work with indigenous and independent field partners, who manage and implement their own development programs in education, health, or other social sectors.
  • Our participants raise funds for their own travel costs and contribute $600 per person towards the costs of their construction project.
  • We arrange international travel and transport to and from the project location, where our participants stay for three weeks, participating in the construction work.


Who does Worlds Servants Netherlands serve?

  • A double constituency.
  • Our participants, consisting of adults and young people from the Netherlands.
  • Our beneficiaries, consisting of children, women, and other vulnerable groups in developing countries.


How are participants selected?

  • Anyone who is aged between 16-70 and willing to raise the participation fee, participate in preparation events, and accept our terms and conditions is welcome to participate.
  • We screen all participants through a questionnaire to ensure they are physically and mentally fit to participate, and understand our terms and conditions.


How are countries and partners selected?

  • Our project managers assess our partners and project countries annually, to see if they still match our criteria.
  • Partners and countries that no longer match our criteria are phased-out on the basis of a five-year phase out plan.
  • When new countries or partners are required, our project managers prepare a formal assessment and a three-year pilot trajectory.


How are construction projects selected?

  • Our construction projects are selected by our local partners and approved by our project managers, after they have checked if the projects meet our criteria.
  • Our criteria focus on relevance to beneficiary needs, technical and financial feasibility, suitability with regard to the involvement of our participants, and financial and institutional sustainability.


How can my organization apply for a construction project?

  • Because we only work though our long-term field partners, organizations or communities looking for financial support or assistance in construction projects are advised to contact our field partners or other organizations. We do not accept proposals that are not submitted through our field partners.


How can I register for a short-term mission?

  • Individuals residing outside the Netherlands wishing to participate in one of our projects, and willing and able to contribute the participation fee (about USD 3.000), attend our mandatory preparation weekend, and accept our terms and conditions can contact us for current opportunities.


Where is World Servants Netherlands based?

  • In the Netherlands.
  • Our office is located in Wolvega, a small town in the north of the Netherlands.


What are local groups?

  • Community-level groups that act in partnership with and on behalf of World Servants Netherlands.
  • Each local group coordinates its own recruitment and fundraising activities. All groups are simultaneously prepared for their mission trip on joint preparation weekends.


How does World Servants Netherlands avoid duplication of effort with other development actors working in the same area?

  • Often there are no other international actors working in the communities that we serve.
  • We work with local partner organizations who know other local actors operating in the area.
  • Our partners usually coordinate with the local government.


How is World Servants Netherlands funded?

  • We cover about 65 percent of our operating expenses through contributions made by our participants. 
  • 11 percent is covered through government grants. 
  • 7,5 percent is raised through premiums and fundraising campaigns by third parties.
  • For the remaining 17 percent, we rely on private and corporate gifts and donations.


How does World Servants Netherlands use its funds?

  • Out of every 100 euro we spent, 84 euro goes to our programs, while 8,5 euro goes to fundraising and 7,5 euro to administration.
  • Designated donations are allocated in support of the cost category or project of the donor’s choosing. Undesignated gifts are used where they are most needed.


How does World Servants Netherlands ensure donations are spent properly overseas?

  • Financial reports are submitted to our office for each project and these reports are checked by our project managers.
  • Our projects team visits field partner every year to discuss their reporting and check their bookkeeping.
  • For larger programs, we require an annual external audit conducted by an independent and certified accounting firm.


Who supervises, manages, and operates World Servants Netherlands?

  • A separate and independent Supervisory Board supervises the Executive Committee in performing its management tasks and monitors the organization’s charitable, financial and administrative performance.
  • WSN is managed by the Executive Committee, which comprises of the statutory managing director(s) and senior executives.
  • WSN is operated by 16 staff members, supported by 400 volunteers in all areas of operation.


What is the difference between World Servants Netherlands and other organizations that organize short-term missions and/or construction projects abroad?

  • Our participants do not engage in direct service delivery. When our teams go home, they leave a long-term, sustainable result behind: a construction that will be used for decades to come.
  • We do not build houses only or water systems only, but various kinds of constructions, including classroom blocks, clinics, hospitals, staff houses, latrines, children’s homes.
  • We do not have field offices or field staff. We work exclusively through local partner organizations.
  • Our construction projects are an integral part of a wider development program.


How can I support, volunteer or partner with World Servants Netherlands?

  • Anyone can contribute to our operating expenses or program expenses by making a donation.
  • Private individuals, private foundations, or companies that can work with us by contributing to our operating expenses or funding a project.
  • Individuals residing outside the Netherlands are welcome to participate in our projects, provided that they are willing and able to attend our mandatory preparation weekend.


What kind of faith-based activities does World Servants Netherlands organize?

  • We prepare and reunite our mission teams at large-scale events, with stage programs that include praise & worship, corporate prayer, and a Christian speaker.
  • We divide our mission teams into small groups that meet daily to share experiences and views, often in relation to their faith, and pray for one another.
  • We organize a children's program that includes Christian songs, a story from the Bible, and a prayer.
  • In project communities where gender inequality or life skills among youth is a relevant issue, we organize a women's program called You are Queens or a life skills program called The Voice of Truth.
  • The office staff gathers each morning to pray for our work, our partners, our teams, our projects, and the communities we serve.


Does World Servants Netherlands require beneficiaries to share its beliefs?

  • No.
  • We serve people regardless of their religion or ideology.
  • We do not insist that people hear a certain message or affirm a specific belief as a prerequisite to receiving our assistance.


Does World Servants Netherlands seek to convert people?

  • Yes and no.
  • We value people and respect their right to maintain and change their religious and cultural beliefs.
  • Most of our participants and most of the communities we serve are already (nominal) Christians. For as far as they're not, we see evangelism as the task of the local church. Our job is not to convert people to Christianity. It is simply to demonstrate to them – in deed and in community – that the gospel is true.
  • That said, our hope is that the interaction between Christians and non-Christians in our movement will contribute to people believing the gospel and becoming followers of Christ.
  • Whether they are Christians or non-Christians, local people or participants from the Netherlands, we seek to convert all people to a lifestyle of servanthood.


Does World Servants Netherlands talk to people about Jesus?

  • It depends.
  • If people ask for the reason “why we serve”, we are ready to give it, and with many of us that will involve talking about Jesus.
  • If parents and community leaders object to us talking to their children, women or young people about Jesus, we will refrain from doing so and refer to God in general.