The International Social Service (ISS) is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to helping individuals and families with personal or social problems resulting from migration and international movement. ISS's national branches, affiliated bureaux and correspondents in over 100 countries facilitate communication between social services to resolve these problems.
The idea of creating an international social service was developed in 1921, when delegates from 17 countries met at a world conference in Stockholm in response to the aftermath of the First World War. In 1924, the International Migration Service (IMS) was created.
To assist those who, as a result of voluntary or forced migration or other social problems of an international character, have to overcome personal or family difficulties ;
To study from an international standpoint the conditions and consequences of migration in relation to individual and family life, and to make recommendations or undertake any other appropriate action;
To contribute to the prevention of social problems linked to migration or intercountry mobility;
To inform professsionals and the public of the needs of migrant individuals and families;
To develop and maintain an international network of national bodies to meet the needs of individuals and families who require the services of ISS.
The International Social Service receives financial support from a variety of sources. National branches and affiliated bureaux are independent entities funded by varying combinations of government grants, subsidies from international organizations and private financial donations, as well as donations of goods, services and time.
The Geneva-based secretariat is supported by contributions from national branches and affiliated bureaux for its role as a coordinating body. Projects and programmes launched by the international organization require specific fund-raising activities. Amongst the supporters of current programmes are the UNHC, UNICEF, the governments of Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, and Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland (SKN).
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The ISS international network comprises the General Secretariat , ISS units (branch offices, affiliated bureaux and delegations) and correspondents.
All the branches are equally represented on the International Council which acts as the general assembly. It meets at least once every three years and elects the Executive Committee which is responsible for the overall policy, programmes and the budget of the General Secretariat. A Professional Advisory Committee comprising the directors of the ISS units advises the Executive Committee and the General Secretariat.
The General Secretariat, based in Geneva, coordinates the international network and maintains contacts with international organizations. Where necessary, it acts as the intermediary for certain correspondents who may be relatively unfamiliar with ISS working methods and inter-country problems.
The branch offices are autonomous, national, non-governmental organizations which are integral parts of the social services in their respective countries. Each is run by a committee drawn from nationals in that country and is staffed by qualified local people. Their statutes must conform with ISS aims and principles but otherwise they are free to develop their programmes in accordance with the needs of their own countries.
Affiliated bureaux are national welfare institutions which assume responsibility for ISS work in their respective countries. They are members of ISS , are represented on the International Council and, like the branches, contribute to the international budget of the General Secretariat.
Delegations are established in special situations by the General Secretariat to carry out the same sort of functions as a branch office but, financially and administratively, they depend on the General Secretariat.
The correspondents are located in more than 100 countries. They may be national social work ministries, specialized welfare institutions or national offices of international agencies. They generally allocate one or more professional social workers to carry out ISS inter-country case work on a part-time or full-time basis.
ISS GENEVA, THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT, IS THE CENTRAL LINK FOR 20 BRANCH OFFICES AND AFFILIATED BUREAUS AND OVER 100 CORRESPONDENT COUNTRIES.
ISS has Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). This entitles the ISS to have observers at many UN meetings, to receive documents, and to make written and oral statements in conjunction with other NGOs.
The ISS Geneva Office is presently staffed by:
International Social Service
32 quai du Seujet
Tel.: +41 22 906 77 00
Fax: +41 22 906 77 01
E-mail General Secretariat: email@example.com
E-mail International Reference Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org