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Life under water in Palau. Courtesy: istock images.

AVI in Palau

AVI has placed more than 20 skilled Australians in Palau since 1993 and managed more than 25 assignments. They have been placed through AVI’s two main programs:

Program history
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Historically health and education have been important focus areas of AVI’s volunteer program in Palau. Other placements have been in sectors of governance and infrastructure development. Both AVID and PACTAM programs support Australia’s Partnership for Development with the Government of Palau.

Main focus areas
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Improving education

Through curriculum development and training of teachers, AVI assignments work towards improving the quality of the educational workforce in Palau. Volunteers are currently assisting in departments of Palau Community College.

Improving health

AVI volunteers work alongside local counterparts within the Palau Ministry of Health to improve the competency and skill base of the local health sector. This assistance has helped to create professional development opportunities, and provide outreach programs on nutrition and healthy eating.

Improving governance

AVI assists the Government of Palau’s capacity in budget planning and management, through the provision of highly skilled Technical Advisors through the PACTAM program.

Where we work
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Koror and Peleliu

About Palau

Palau is an archipelago of over 200 islands and atolls, and is located just north of the equator and east of the Philippines. The tropical island is home to about 17,000 people and has one of the highest standards of living of all Pacific Island countries.

Development challenges
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Palau is in the midst of rapid social, economic, and environmental change. These changes are having profound impacts on people in Palau and cause many individuals to feel like they are caught between two worlds. Incomes have not kept pace with the cost of living, and changing aspirations are resulting in a growing sense of personal frustration.


Palaun children enjoy 12 years of free public education, there are several public elementary schools and one high school. There are also several private church-run schools. Palau has virtually achieved universal elementary education. Though the dropout rate from high school remains far too high, these rates appear to be declining as more children and parents recognize that education is vital in the modern world. Most high school graduates go on to post-secondary education either locally or overseas, made possible with subsidies in the form of public loans or scholarships.


The health of Palauans seems to have improved in the last few decades, with health indicators revealing an increased life expectancy at birth and a decreased under-five mortality rate. Water and sanitation has also improved, with the entire population now having access to waste disposal facilities. Modern lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, circulatory diseases and cancer remain at the top of the list of major causes of death. Tuberculosis and leprosy also remain a problem.


Palau is renowned for its pristine natural environment and supports tourism, fishing, the extractive industries and the lifestyle of its residents. Much of Palau's fragile natural environment remains free of environmental degradation. However, there are still several areas of concern such as illegal fishing, inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste in Koror, and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon.

Like the other Pacific island nations, a major environmental problem is global warming and the rising sea level. Water coverage of low-lying areas is a threat to coastal vegetation, agriculture, and the purity of the nation's water supply.

Volunteer profile


Australian Volunteer, Lis McKenzie, is currently working as an administrator for a continuing education initiative with Palau's College of Health, a division within the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Koror. Lis is working to establish and document a coordinated sustainable educational delivery model for the College.

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Host organisation profile


The Ministry of Health is the principal advisor on healthcare to the Government of Palau. It has the responsibility of ensuring that the physical, mental and social health of its citizens is always a priority.

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Latest assignments available

New volunteer assignments for this country will be open for application soon.

View application periods, or search other available assignments.

Fast facts

Population: 21,108
Official Language: Palauan, English
Capital: Melekeok
Adult literacy rate: 92%
HDI index: 53
Life expectancy: 72.06
Adult HIV prevalence rate: NA
GDP per capita: $10,500
Unemployment rate: 4.2%
Maternal mortality rate: NA
Child mortality rate under 5: 19/1000 live births
AVI placements: 21 (as of December 2012)
Last updated: 25-07-2013


More information

Contact our Palau office

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