International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010
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Brief Description:

The collection consists of seven series:

Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001 Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002 Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997 Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003 Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000 Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995 Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undated

Held at:
Mennonite Church USA Archives
3145 Benham Ave, Ste. 1
Elkhart, IN 46517
Phone: 574-523-3080
Email: JasonK [at]
Record Series Number: XI/014
Created by: International Voluntary Services
Volume: 33.7 Linear Feet
Acquired: 07/14/1997.

Acc 2011-30: 25 linear feet, donated by Anne Shirk

Acc 2015-003, Carlie E. Numi, 0.1 linear feet of alumni material (Vietnam slides, 1963-1965)

Arrangement: By series
Biographical Note for International Voluntary Services :

International Voluntary Services (IVS) was founded in 1953 with the support of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency, today known as USAID.  The U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency sought to foster the development of private voluntary organizations to supply educated volunteers to work in developing countries.  A committee that included Mennonites and Brethren experienced with overseas relief work conceptulaized the organization that ultimately became IVS.


The first IVS volunteers were stationed in Egypt in 1954.  Within two years, IVS placed volunteers in Iraq, Laos, Jordan, and Vietnam to work with villagers to improve agricultural production, education, and health.


For nearly twenty years, IVS expanded its geographical locations and its projects while remaining dependent upon funding from USAID.  In 1973, IVS was asked to find funding apart from USAID funds.  In spite of its financial problems, the organization continued to grow, beginning programs in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries and expanding its services to include disaster relief.


In the 1980s and 1990s, IVS began consolidating programs and placing volunteers as workers with non-government organizations.  Attempts to restructure the organization financially were unsuccessful, as IVS metamorphosized from a grassroots volunteer organization into an agency that administered sub-grants on behalf of USAID.


In its final years, much IVS work focused on AIDS education and prevention in southeast Asia.  By the late 1990s, however, only three strong programs remained: Ecuador, Bolivia, and Bangaldesh.  Before the dissolution of IVS, these programs were converted into national NGOs.  IVS was dissolved in 2003.

Access Restrictions: This collection is open to the public.
Subject Index
Community development
International Voluntary Services
Public health
Rural development
Genres/Forms of Material
Audio tape reels
Negatives (photographs)
Slides (photographs)
Video cassettes
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
French [fre]
Spanish;Castilian [spa]
Vietnamese [vie]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.
Acquisition Notes: Perry Bush / IVS
Related Materials: The Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH) holds the papers of Don Cohon, who served with IVS in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. The papers document Cohon's term of service as well as decades of post-IVS work with southeast Asian refugees in the United States. For more information please see
PreferredCitation: International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010.  XI-014.  Mennonite Church USA Archives. Elkhart, Indiana.