Australia’s New Overseas Volunteer Program
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd launched Australia's new overseas volunteer program, Australian Volunteers for International Development, on 26 May 2011 at Parliament House, Canberra.
Since the 1960s, the Government has supported more than 12,000 Australians to volunteer in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, as part of the overseas aid program.
By contributing their time and skills to local development organisations and NGOs, volunteers make a positive contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development and cross-cultural understanding.
In May 2011 the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, will launch Australian Volunteers for International Development – a new program developed to acknowledge and encourage Australians volunteering in developing countries as part of the Australian aid program.
Australian Volunteers for International Development draws all Australian Government overseas volunteering initiatives together under a single banner making it easier for more skilled Australians to contribute to our overseas aid efforts.
The Australian Government, through AusAID, is partnering with Australian Red Cross, Australian Volunteers International, and Austraining International - organisations with extensive experience in international volunteering – to provide a range of rewarding international development opportunities for Australians aged over 18.
These organisations place volunteers in assignments that are aligned with the aid priorities of the Australian Government and partner governments in developing countries.
While on assignment, Australian volunteers receive a basic monthly living and accommodation allowance which allows volunteers to live locally within the communities in which they serve.
Developed following a review of Australia’s volunteer program in 2009, the Australian Volunteers for International Development program features: improved links to aid program priorities; an accessible web portal for Australians wanting to volunteer overseas; and streamlined management systems.
In 2011-12 the Government’s $55 million commitment to the program will see more than 900 new volunteers deployed to 33 countries including expansion to new countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and the North Pacific.
Australian Volunteers for International Development makes it easier for more Australians to offer their skills and knowledge to help reduce poverty, support sustainable development efforts, and promote Australia as a global citizen through the overseas aid program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q - What is the new program called?
A - Australian Volunteers for International Development or Australian Volunteers for short
Q – Which partners are working with AusAID to deliver the program?
A – Australian Red Cross, Australian Volunteers International, and Austraining International.
Q – How were the partners selected?
A – AusAID made a public call for expressions of interest from organisations with a demonstrated commitment to and capacity in, international development volunteering to become partners with AusAID to design and implement a new volunteer program. A selection exercise was followed, and three Core Partners were selected.
Q How does the new partnership work?
A - The three partners work collaboratively with AusAID in delivering the Australian Volunteers for International Development program. In simple terms, this includes promoting volunteering opportunities, recruiting and placing volunteers on assignments, managing and supporting volunteers on assignment and managing relationships with host organisations and Australian partner organisations.
The program is guided by an overarching Partnership Agreement, partnership principles and detailed shared standards.
Q – What does the program aim to accomplish?
The aim of the program is to make an effective contribution to the development objectives of the Australian Government and its partner Governments, through Australian volunteers working with people and organisations in developing countries. The program draws together all current AusAID-funded development volunteering initiatives into one program and also includes a volunteer small grants fund.
The program will enhance the contribution of Australian volunteers to the achievement of the development objectives of the Australian Government, and relevant partner governments and organisations. It will contribute to the personal development of volunteers and building people-to-people linkages between Australia and developing countries.
Q – What are the benefits to the aid program and to Australia?
A – Volunteers are an important part of the aid program, providing an effective form of aid delivery, which contributes to Australia’s aid objective of reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. The program fosters development through the sharing of skills and the building of local capacity.
Volunteers also enable cross-cultural exchange between Australia and other countries, and support Australia as a global citizen. The program enables the formation and continued growth of links between organisations and communities in developing countries and Australia.
Q – Where will volunteers be placed?
A - In over 35 countries across Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Q – Are volunteers placed where they are most needed?
A – The new program is aligned with the broader aid program delivered by AusAID, which works with the governments and people of developing countries to deliver aid where it is most needed and most effective.
The location of volunteers are strategically selected to be aligned with Australia’s aid program priorities, which are based on the needs identified by the partner governments..
Q – What areas do the volunteers work in?
A - The sectors most commonly requested by overseas partners are listed below, but can include others depending on priorities and needs. Most assignments require qualifications and demonstrated professional experience
• Population policies/programs and reproductive health
• Water and sanitation
• Government and civil society
• Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security
• Other social infrastructure and services
• Transport and storage
• Energy generation and supply
• Banking and financial services
• Business and other services
• Mineral resources and mining
• Trade policy and regulations and trade related adjustment
• Commodity aid and general program assistance
• Humanitarian aid
Q – Who can become a volunteer?
A - Many Australians have the skills and experience necessary to help reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, but just don’t realise it. A wide and diverse range of professional skills are needed to address development needs across the globe. From agricultural projects to health and education programs that can change lives, there is no end to the skills and expertise that can have an impact at the grassroots level in developing countries.
Q – What is the volunteer pilot small grants fund?
A – The new program also includes a volunteer small grants fund. The volunteer fund is being piloted to assist small overseas volunteer organisaitons place more volunteers in the field. The performance of the pilot volunteer fund will be assessed in 2011-2012.
The first recipients of this funding have recently been selected and include Engineers without Borders, PALMS Australia and Youth Challenge Australia.
Q – How do I find out more?
A – For further information on the Australian Volunteers for International Development program and how to develop a volunteering strategy for your program visit our website at: www.ausaid.gov.au/volunteers
Be the first to hear of new volunteer opportunities
Sign up to receive our AVI Plus eNewsletter, where regular updates and job alerts will be advised.
Contact our recruitment team
Contact our recruitment team with any volunteer recruitment enquiries