EIRENE was founded in 1957 by Christians of various confessions who were committed to the idea of non-violence and who wanted to take a stand against rearmament and to support peaceful coexistence. The founders included the historical peace churches of the Mennonites and the Church of the Brethren ("Brüderkirche"), who are still members of the reconciliation alliance and of EIRENE branches in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. There are 21 full-time staff working in the international office in Neuwied am Rhein. EIRENE has sent out over 1800 volunteers and development helpers in the past 50 years and more.
EIRENE supports sustainable development projects and programs tackling civil conflicts in Africa and Latin America with workers and accompanying financial aid. Human rights initiatives, self-help groups and rural development projects are at the core of the work. At this time there are development workers stationed in Chad, Mali, Niger, in the region of the great lakes as well as in the Latin American countries of Nicaragua and Bolivia.
In cooperation with partner organisations in Latin America, Africa, USA and Europe, EIRENE volunteers are involved throughout the world, working for a non-violent culture, for social justice and for the integrity of creation. EIRENE is also one of the official dispatching organisations of the volunteer "weltwärts“ program of the BMZ.