1992: The start of International Samaritan Cooperation

International Samaritan Cooperation (ISK) has existed for almost 30 years and is the result of the cooperation between German ASB branches and Samaritan organisations in Central and Eastern Europe. So much has been experienced, so many activities have taken place with so many stories to tell about the ISK that it would go far beyond the scope of this article.

The beginnings of the ISK coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time, numerous cooperations between ASB branches and Samaritan organisations in Central and Eastern Europe were established, in some cases also with the participation of the ASB National Federation. In 1992, a programme to promote and support international partnerships was established for the first time within the ASB National Federation. Since then, the ISK network has been an integral part of the ASB’s foreign aid work.

The international partnerships, many of which have lasted for many years, often began with the transport of relief supplies. Over time, however, needs have changed. Among other things, the development of social services and the strengthening of local structures and civil societies on site have increasingly become the focus of the cooperation. At the same time, the ISK has expanded. Today, there are 13 ISK partner organisations in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe.

In addition, a number of ASB branches occasionally engage in ISK partnerships. Currently, about 30 ASB branches are active within ISK. This includes smaller ASB branches at the municipal level as well as large branches at the national level in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia.

Samaritan International, a network of Samaritan organisations in different countries, which was co-founded by the ASB National Federation, was established in Cologne in 1994. Other founding members were the ASB Austria and the Samaritan organisations from Denmark and France. Today, 17 Samaritan organisations from 16 European countries belong to Samaritan International, which is in regular contact with the ISK network.