The German Development Service (DED) was the predecessor of today's development service of the GIZ. Founded in 1963 and based on the model of the US-American "Peace Corps", it can look back on a long history.

Looking back: secondment of development workers since 1963

'In the thick of it' and 'Partnership as equals': these two expressions describe what GIZ development workers do to a tee. As a state-run development service, GIZ continues the work carried out by the former DED over 48 years to help people to help themselves overcome poverty. DED's work put the spotlight on the local partner organisation. To this very day, development workers devise solutions together with local organisations, in response to specific needs in the partner country. In this context, they work primarily at municipal and regional level and are frequently embedded in local civil society structures.

Establishment of the German Development Service (DED)

The DED was established at a special ceremony on 24 June 1963, based on the ethos of the United States Peace Corps. Then German Federal President Heinrich Lübke, German Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Minister for Economic Cooperation Walter Scheel took great pleasure in welcoming US President John F. Kennedy – who two years previously had set up the Peace Corps – to the ceremony.

The following year, the first 110 development workers travelled to Tanzania, Libya, Afghanistan and India. By 1966, 1,000 development workers were working on assignments in 20 countries. In 1994, DED seconded its 10,000th development worker.

German Development Workers Act (EhfG)

The adoption of the Development Workers Act (EhfG) in 1969 provided the required legal basis for assigning developing workers. According to the Act, development workers provide assistance in developing countries. They do not work for a customary salary, and contribute to progress in developing countries through partnership-based cooperation.

The seven organisations that now second development workers on the basis of the EhfG have formed the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Entwicklungsdienste (AGdD) working group. Of the seven members, GIZ is the only state body.

GIZ continues commitment as development service

In 2011, the German Development Service (DED) merged with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GTZ) and Inwent – Capacity Building International Germany – to form the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). Thus, the development service provided by the GIZ relies on the know-how and expertise gained by the DED over many years. Between 1963 and the end of 2010, the DED as predecessor of the GIZ seconded more than 16,000 experts to 72 partner countries.

Number of persons of the DED

In its last year, 2010, DED assigned 1,111 development workers in 48 partner countries, and employed a staff of almost 300 at its headquarters in Bonn. DED's 100 junior development workers were the visible token of its commitment to promoting young professionals. It also employed 700 local experts on site and was responsible for more than 800 volunteers under 23 who worked in partner country projects as part of the 'weltwärts' programme.

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