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 world of International Cooperation, GVC passed through an extended period of political activity, which reflected the strongly ideological character of the 1970s. Offering support to the struggles for independence in the Portuguese colonies in Africa and the major African and Latin American leaders in independence; GVC was involved in the promotion of the right to international conscientious objection services in place of military service, 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 initially 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, GVC improved, specialized and extended its actions in various countries, giving particular attention to sanitation projects and progressively widening its actions to other fields of intervention.

Consolidation and development

1980 marks the consolidation of intense activity and expansion of GVC projects, structural growth, sectoral specialization, and important awareness work in the local area through development education activities.
GVC has become an organisation able to manage complex strategies of actions 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 that GVC can activate internationally allows for its diversified response capability, aimed at the needs of different territories and which can promote dynamics of global exchange and reciprocity, wherever possible.
In the past few years GVC has also focused its attention on the emergency sector, guaranteeing efficient responses to populations plagued by conflict and natural disasters, also intervening in emerging countries to reduce rising socio-economic inequalities and promote innovative and sustainable development projects.