GVC was founded through the initiative of a group of young university students, coordinated by Tarcisio Arrighini. GVC's transition into its current structure as a secular NGO passed through various phases, beginning in 1968-69 with its support to the UCSEI (Central Office Foreign Students in Italy), to the management of SROTMER- Regional Office for Third-World Organizations.
In 1971 GVC underwent its definitive transformation into the Civil Volunteer Group, permanently abandoning the Group's previous confessional character.

Movements of the 1970s

Before entering into the world of International Cooperation, GVC passed through an extended period of political activity, which reflected the strongly ideological character of the 1970s. It offered support to the struggles for independence in the Portuguese colonies in Africa and the major African and Latin American leaders in independence; it was involved in the promotion of the right to international conscientious objection services in place of military service, and it participated in the first free radio stations, and hosted the local headquarters of the Russell Court for the rights of populations. Like other associations formed in these years, GVC was initially founded and survived thanks to self-financing.

The transition to cooperation

In 1972, GVC was one of the first Italian NGOs to obtain official recognition from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and benefit from co-financing in order to set up its first two development cooperation projects: the Jussara project in Brazil and the Basoko project in Congo (then Zaire) in the Ituri forest.
Throughout the years, the Civil Volunteer Group improved, specialized and extended its actions in various countries, giving particular attention to sanitation projects and progressively widening its actions to other ever-more specialized cooperation programs and multiple areas of action.

Consolidation and development

In 1980 GVC entered into Villa Aldini, a Napoleonic residence situated in the Bolognese Osservanza hills. This date marks the consolidation of intense activity in expansion of its projects, structural growth, sectoral specialization, and important awareness work in the local area through development education activities and a documentation center.
GVC had become an organization able to manage complex action strategies in order to respond to different needs: from sanitation to food security, from rural development to education, from women's rights to children's rights.
The expertise the GVC can today activate internationally allows for its diversified response capability, aimed at the needs of different territories and which can active dynamics of global interchange and reciprocity, wherever this is possible.
In the past few years GVC has focused on the emergency sector, guaranteeing efficient responses to populations plagued by conflict and natural disasters, and it intervenes in emerging countries to reduce rising socio-economic inequalities and promote innovative and sustainable development projects.

A history of major projects and important numbers

Since its founding, GVC has operated everywhere in the world and has acquired unique experience in project implementation, knowledge of contexts, management of institutional relations in the field, and the definition of development strategies based on mutual trust with local population. This experience, translated into numbers, means, among other things:

650 health centers;

1.600 awareness activities;

750 cooperation projects;

3.200 trainings;

over 2.600 irrigation systems built;

250 local cooperatives.