Forum Syd was formed in 1995 by the merger of two umbrella organisations, Svensk Volontärsamverkan (SVS) and Biståndsinformation för frivilligorganisationer (BIFO). Initially, Forum Syd had just over 100 members; today we have around 140 member organisations, all working for a just and sustainable world.
SVS comprised of 60 social movement and non-profit organisations and was financed by Sida. SVS engaged directly with the public sectors of countries like Nicaragua and Zimbabwe by providing volunteer nurses and doctors and other services. BIFO was an interest organisation for volunteers around the world and was tasked by Sida with reviewing applications and channelling grants to different projects. BIFO also arranged seminars and had a clear overview of which organisations worked in the same regions.
In the 1980s, these two organisations launched a joint public information programme on Swedish organisations and their aid efforts. Their partnership also included lobbying and investigative activities on social conditions for aid workers, and providing advice and training for their member organisations. In 1995 BIFO and SVS merged, and Forum Syd was born. Before the merger, the two organisations had a total of 103 members, of which 21 were shared.