After the Second World War, International Organizations, such as the UN and the EU, and several NGOs began to arise throughout the world. The common goal was to never experience the dreads of the war again and to unify and work together to achieve a better life for everyone.
Father Angelo Marcandella founded IBO Italia. He wanted to replicate in Italy the Belgian example of Father Werenfried van Straaten who, in 1953, gathered thousands of young europeans and started to rebuild houses, schools and churches.
This is how the first work and solidarity camps were born.
By this time, the Cold War divided two opposite coalitions of states and the symbol of this division may be found in the Berlin Wall, which was built in 1961. On the other hand, the second half of the decade was characterised by students peaceful revolutions and non-violence movements because people realised the world could be a better place and therefore they asked for the end of all the conflicts and a more efficient cooperation among the countries.
In 1968 IBO Italia became officially a Volunteering Association and a benchmark for people who wanted to volunteer abroad. IBO started to notice that the experiences shared with all the young people of the other countries brought to a more peaceful and just environment.
IBO Italia also stood by the “civil service” as an alternative to the mandatory military service.
The world continues to be divided by politics and war scenarios. Another sign of division was the difference between the so-called First, Second and Third World, especially in terms of richness and development. It is indeed the moment when development theories came out and the First World started to do something about underdevelopment.
IBO Italia was recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a fully-fledged Non-Governmental Organization that could operate within the “development of the South of the world” field. In the same year, IBO Italia carries out its first international cooperation project in the ex Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo). Furthermore, the “Federazione degli Organismi Cristiani Servizio Internazionale Volontario” (FOCSIV) was founded. It is a network of christian-values-based organisations which cooperates in many projects.
In 1987, the European Union’s student mobility programme, Erasmus, was approved. It was an initiative that, more than anything else, influenced society, culture and the way young people “get along”.
The following years, characterised by globalisation and its challenges, led to a world where distances and differences between people were reduced.
In 1998 IBO Italy hosted the first EVS volunteer, becoming part of the European ERASMUS programme, now ERASMUS+; an initiative that over the years has been enriched by new projects and that has seen an increase in the number of volunteers.
In 2001, after Cognola di Trento, Pontenure (PC), Cesate (MI), Casalpusterlengo (LO), Cassana (FE), Ibo Italia moved its headquarters to Ferrara.
The first decade of 2000s has been characterized by two major crisis. First of all, 11 September 2001 meant an extreme change in the global history and in the international balance. Secondly, on 15 September 2008 the world has experienced a deep economic crisis whose effects are still visible today. On the other hand, the UN had just started carrying out its new development agenda: the Millennium development goals, which is an important symbol of cooperation among countries.
In 2005, the first IBO volunteers left as White Helmets, within the abroad national civil service project. In 2012, IBO started supporting communities affected by the earthquake in Emilia-Romagna and they continued to support several areas affected by earthquakes also in the future, as the province of Macerata in 2016. In 2015, the Parma branch office was inaugurated.
As 60 years ago, Europe seems at a crossroads and men, women and children move to the continent again due to war and poverty.
Volunteering is now an integral part of many people’s lives; the number of realities committed to international solidarity has grown in number.
IBO Italia celebrates 60 years.
There are still many young people (more than 5,000 in the last 10 years) who find in IBO Italy a point of reference for becoming volunteers with the Fields of Work and Solidarity, the Civil Service, the Civil Peace Corps, or the European Voluntary Service.
The borders between nations, if they used to give a sense of identity, now, more than ever, they risk becoming walls.
There are so many men and women who travel every day, who face all sorts of adversities, in search of a safer place, desiring respect and hope.
For these people every place can be home, wherever contact can be established, a bridge can be erected and a barrier demolished.
It is through international cooperation, as well as commitment to volunteering, that it is and will be necessary to work more and more to achieve a fairer world.
In 2019, after one work year, IBO inaugurates the new and current national headquarters in via Boschetto, Ferrara.
The wishes is that the new spaces become not only the headquarters of IBO Italia, but a point of reference for the city and the neighborhood. With a national and international scope.
Even today, in fact, alongside volunteering projects, there is no lack of International Cooperation projects (Romania, Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania among the most involved countries) and above all innovative forms of local participation with education, awareness and information activities with students and professors, from primary schools to superior.