Volunteering in Kiribati

Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass) is made up of 33 extremely low-lying atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line.

Kiribati 1
Australian volunteer policy advisor Patrick Chan with his colleague at the Betio Town Council, enforcement officer Ioanne Teruruai.
Kiribati4
Boboro Tamiera, a member of the Te Toa Matoa (TTM) advocacy group - an association of people with disabilities, formed in 1999.
Kiribati5
Australian volunteer in administration, Julie Lamb, at KSCCSN - Kiribati School and Centre for children with special needs.
Kiribati2
Aerial view off the coast of Kiribati.
Kiribati3
Michelle Sheehan, Australian volunteer at the Kiribati Ministry of Education with her colleague Teitibwebwe Rotitaake (known as Izzy).
Kiribati6
Fishing in Kiribati.

Kiribati is exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Most of the country’s atolls rise less than two metres above sea level, and the country’s government has acknowledged that it risks losing much of its land area, the destruction of its crops, and ultimately the displacement of its people.

Other challenges, such as Kiribati’s remoteness, its limited economic opportunities, and the rising urban migration to South Tarawa, are impacting health and education outcomes. The country’s limiting geography and poor soils mean that large-scale agriculture in Kiribati is often too difficult. Islanders have therefore turned to fishing or copra plantations to maintain their livelihoods.

Australia and Kiribati enjoy close relations based on regional and international cooperation and trade links. Australia’s aid program aims to strengthen the Kiribati Government’s capacity to build climate resilience and to improve gender equality and disability inclusiveness.

The Australian Volunteers Program is guided by the Australian Government’s Aid Investment Plan for Kiribati as well as retaining the flexibility to respond to emerging priorities.

Volunteer assignments focus on a range of development issues, including:

  • health
  • education and special education,
  • law, justice and governance
  • disability
  • gender
  • environmental resilience