Lagoon on Fanning Island, Kiribati. Source: Istock images

AVI in Kiribati

Since 1982 AVI has been sending Australian volunteers to assignments in Kiribati, with almost half of all AVI volunteers having worked in the education sector.

Australian volunteers are now placed through the AVID program. The strong focus on education continues, with AVID volunteers assisting to advance and strengthen educational opportunities in Kiribati.

PACTAM program sends skilled technical advisors to support government institutions and to provide assistance in priority areas identified by the Australian and Kiribati governments.

Increasing educational outcomes

AVI assignments help improve educational outcomes in Kiribati through training teachers, assisting in curriculum development and development of educational resources. Volunteers have also assisted in improving the vocational training system through - the development of English courses.

Working towards good governance

AVI assignments support the development of Government and Civil Society Organisations in providing efficient services to Ikiribati people through support in development of processes and systems and  , local staff training and mentoring in areas of Law, Gender, Disability and Education. Along with this, through PACTAM assistance is provided to develop policy and regulatory frameworks for various government institutions.

Improving gender equality

AVI assignments assist to set up systems, processes and plans for organisations working in gender. Specific reference is given to policies and procedures that enhance women’s rights.  Currently AVI is supporting the development of the Women’s Division to support gender issues in Kiribati with the future aims of developing a Government Ministry for Women.


With increasing capacity requirements for the management of national infrastructure projects in Kiribati, AVI assignments provide support to the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities in building the capacity of local counterparts in civil engineering, architecture and water and sanitation.

About Kiribati

Kiribati is a group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. It has the largest sea-to-land ratio in the world. Once a British colony, Kiribati gained complete independence in 1979 while remaining a member of the Commonwealth.


The economic development in Kiribati is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The main problems arising from these constraints are the twin issues of poverty and unemployment. Lack of access to opportunities is considered as the main cause of poverty in Kiribati.


Kiribati achieved the goal of universal access to primary education in 2005 with a Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) above 100%[1]. However, a high dropout rate, gender disparities existing in higher levels of schooling and limited access to tertiary education still remains a challenge.


Although health indicators have improved in recent years Kiribati continues to see the highest under five mortality rate in the Pacific, low life expectancy and a high incidence of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases[2]. There is a shortage of trained medical personnel in Kiribati. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the population of Kiribati is dispersed across a vast area of ocean, making it much more difficult to provide cost effective health services to the outer islands.


Global warming has serious implications for Kiribati as rising sea levels pose a real threat to its already small land area. Rising seas could also reduce the availability of fresh water. Another major and immediate concern is the management of waste and the control of pollution. Fresh water supplies in the country are limited.

[1] and [2] MDG Report 2007


Volunteer profile

In 2011 AVI volunteer Dy Bailey returned to Australia after working on a two year volunteer assignment with the Tungaru Rehabilitation Services (TRS) for the Ministry of Health in South Tarawa, Kiribati.

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Host organisation profile

Tungaru Rehabilitation Services (TRS) is a relatively new department of Ministry of Health in Kiribati. It was established in 2004 alongside other paramedical services. It comprises of two sections namely the physiotherapy and prosthetic/orthotic section. It was previously managed by overseas volunteers while the locals underwent training at the Fiji School of Medicine.

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