Written by: KOICA-WFK
After its 2 years and a half long pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the KOICA-WFK Program resumed deploying the onsite volunteers again in the Philippines this October.
The first batch of KOVs composed of two (2) volunteers arrived on 26 October 2022. One volunteer is deployed at TESDA Regional Training Center XI Davao – Korea-Philippines Vocational Training Center while the other is assigned at the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office under the Provincial Government Unit of Negros Occidental. The volunteers are expected to impart technical assistance in the sectors of education (Korean Language) and public administration (social welfare). They undergo an 8-week language and culture in-country training before starting their assignments at their respective host organizations.
The KOICA-WFK Program is the overseas volunteer program of the South Korean government which aims to promote friendly and cooperative relationships, create mutual exchanges between Korea and developing countries, and to support partner countries’ economic and social growth. The program was named in the hope that the volunteers will be “friends for those in need around the world”. Since 1990, KOICA Philippines has deployed 716 volunteers to 408 partner institutions including academia, government units and agencies, and NGOs.
The program dispatches Korean Overseas Volunteers (KOVs) with a variety of expertise (40 professions) which can be categorized into five (5) identified sectors. These sectors include: (1) Public Administration; (2) Education; (3) Agriculture and Fishery; (4) Healthcare; and (5) Technology, Environment and Energy. These volunteers are expected to contribute to the attainment of goals of the institution where they are dispatched, as well as the national plans and international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
“At first, it was difficult to adapt to living in an unfamiliar environment, but with KOICA’s systematic volunteer program and active support from the Philippine office, I was able to overcome difficulties and focus on volunteer work. While working as a Mathematics teacher, I focused on improving the basic academic ability of young students in the Negros Oriental region by teaching Math classes, producing and distributing Math teaching materials and building multi-purpose classrooms. Through the volunteer work, I was able to raise awareness of the development cooperation works of the Korean government.”, said Mr. Kang, volunteer from batch 71.
KOICA encourages local government units, national government agencies and public academic institutions to request volunteers under the KOICA-World Friends Korea (WFK) Program.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, KOVs conducting volunteering activities all around the globe, including the Philippines, were repatriated to South Korea for their safety and security. All onsite volunteering activities were halted and KOICA-WFK shifted their focus on the e-volunteering program.
Following the resumption and anticipating the continuous dispatch of volunteers in 2023, KOICA gladly invites local organizations and other interested parties to express their intent and send their requests for volunteer assistance under the WFK Program. KOICA hopes that with the return of onsite KOVs, it will be able to create new and nourish old partnerships, promote effective technical transfer of skills to partner organizations and contribute to the economic development of the Philippines.