AVID volunteer Dianne Collier and Titi Permata, director of Tanam Untuk Kehidupan (TUK / Planting for Life), doing observations at the Senjoyo spring. Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono.
Indonesia is the birthplace of Australia’s first international volunteer program. In 1951 the founder of Australian Volunteers International (AVI), Herbert Feith arrived in Indonesia to work as a translator with the Ministry of Education in Jakarta. His journey inspired international volunteering around the globe and his legacy of living and working with developing communities in Indonesia has ensured a continued volunteer presence in the country to this day.
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AVI has managed more than 400 volunteer assignments in Indonesia since 1951. As the development challenges faced by Indonesia in the 21st century have changed, so too has AVI’s strategic direction and in-country operations. In meeting these challenges Australian volunteers are now placed in clusters in smaller geographic areas as determined by the local development needs.
In 2004, AVI volunteers responded to the Asian tsunami that devastated the Indonesian province of Aceh. Volunteers helped gather information on the crucial needs of tsunami affected communities and advised relief agencies on aid shipments, security and logistical issues.
Volunteers have worked with government departments and agencies at international, national and local levels. They have also worked with universities, schools and other educational institutions, as well as national and local level non-government (NGO) and civil society organisations.
Main focus areas
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Improving health outcomes
AVI assignments in Indonesia have helped increase the capacity of local organisations in developing, implementing and managing various health programs. Australian Volunteers have supported improvements in health outcomes by providing staff training and ongoing educational support to doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, and improved the efficiency and service delivery of local health providers.
Improving educational outcomes
Through partnerships with educational institutions, volunteer assignments support the professional development of teachers, vocational education trainers, education managers and administrators. Volunteers support the development of curriculums and assessment processes. By training the teaching staff in the latest teaching methodologies, volunteers help improve the quality of teaching especially in the English Language.
Supporting sustainable livelihoods
Volunteer assignments facilitate sustainable natural resource management and promote effective and sustainable agricultural development in Indonesia. Working with the local organisations, volunteers support the development of new initiatives for organic and sustainable farming.
Work towards good governance
Volunteer assignments support improvements in governance by working in government and non-government organisations with the local staff on strengthening processes and practices. Through trainings volunteers enhance the capaciry of local organisations to increase advocacy in areas like health and gender equality.
Where we work
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Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, West Sumatera, Nias, Kalimantan, Bali and West Nusa Tenggara
Host organisation examples
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Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago. With more than 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited), it is also the world's fourth most populous country. A culturally diverse country, Indonesia has 300 linguistic groups.
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Indonesia has had two decades of rapid economic development. However, the economic growth has been uneven resulting in poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption and a complex regulatory environment. An estimated 12.5% of the population (2011 estimate 1) remain below the poverty line with an increased economic disparity between the rural and urban Indonesia
Indonesia has almost universal primary enrolment rate. The Indonesian education system is the third largest in the Asian region and fourth largest in the world. However, there is a huge gap in enrolments between the economically disadvantaged and more affluent districts. Key challenges in education include increasing the enrolment of children from low-socio economic backgrounds in junior school along with improving the quality of basic education.
In the last few years, Indonesia has seen significant improvements in health outcomes. Under five mortality rate has declined from 44 per 1000 live births to 35 per 1000 live births in 20102. Similarly, there has been a significant decrease in maternal mortality rate from 620 per 100,000 live births in 19903 to 220 in 20104 .
Despite of these improvements, communicable diseases and a growing rate of HIV/AIDS among high-risk groups, pose a great challenge to the country. While the national HIV infection level in Indonesia is low compared to some other countries (0.2 per cent5), its large population means there are many Indonesians living with HIV. The impact of HIV/AIDS on the already run down healthcare system is likely to place increased stress on this system in the future.
Indonesia faces numerous environmental challenges. Illegal logging is a major issue for the country. Between 2000-2005, 9.36 million ha6 was lost due to illegal logging. This was mainly caused due to the increasing global demand of palm oil and timber.
Increasing populaiton and rapid economioc devleopment along the coastline is threatening the country’s coastal environment resulting in negative impacts on air quality and public health.
1, 4 and 5- CIA Factbook
2 and 3 - http://www.countdown2015mnch.org/
6 and 7 - wwf.panda.org/
Host organisation profile
Population: 248 million (est. 2012)
Official Language: Bahasa Indonesia
Adult literacy rate: 90.4%
HDI index: 124
Life expectancy: 71.62
Adult HIV prevalence rate: 0.2%
GDP per capita: USD $5,000
Unemployment rate: 22.2%
Maternal mortality rate: 220 per 100,000 births
Child mortality rate under 5: 35 per 1,000 births
AVI placements: 465 (as of December 2012)
Last updated: March 2013
Sources: CIA factbook
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