August RAVN Update
Friendship grants, pangolins, PNG, the Re-Connect Portal and dumplings! In this edition we are celebrating ongoing connections, focusing on our closest neighbour and bringing you RAVN events.
A welcome message from the Australian Volunteers Section, DFAT
Rewarding people-to-people linkages
I feel privileged to have joined the Australian Volunteers Section in DFAT. What really excites me about the Australian Volunteers Program is the people-to-people linkages that are made. I have seen these linkages take a lot of different forms lately - at a RAVN event in Melbourne where I met returned volunteers working in our Sport for Development programs, during a monitoring trip last week to the Solomon Islands where I met volunteers and their Partner Organisations, and during my time working as the Development Counsellor at the Australian High Commission in Fiji. I also remember those deep personal connections I made myself as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal many years ago.
I know that many volunteers forge life-long linkages with their partner organisations and continue a relationship long after the volunteer assignment has ended – which is fantastic. I wanted to draw attention to one of the ways your link with the Australian Aid program might benefit your former partner organisation: through the Australian Aid Friendship Grants program. Friendship Grants support community organisations across Australia to expand or enhance their existing relationships and aid activities in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, returned volunteer Caitlin Philips-Peddlesden, who volunteered in Samoa, now works at Mary Mackillop Today. Through the Friendship Grant, Mary Mackillop Today is working to increase access to health services and education for people with a disability through a volunteer program in Papua New Guinea. The second round of the Australian Aid Friendship Grants is now open until 10 September 2019. I encourage you to stay connected and look at opportunities to remain engaged with the Aid Program program.
There are also a number of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) placements that Australia is supporting that focus on human rights and UN reform. If you are looking for your next volunteer experience, or know of someone who would be interested in becoming a volunteer, I encourage you to share the list of opportunities currently available.
Director, Australian Volunteers Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Julie McCallum (Counsellor, Human Development, Australian High Commission Solomon Islands) and Christina Munzer meeting in Honiara in August. Julie was previously Director of the Volunteers Section in Canberra.