RAVN Update | April 2020 edition

Hear from Australian Volunteers Program Director Zoë Mander-Jones about how the program is adapting and responding to the COVID19 crisis and how you can stay engaged with the returned volunteer community online.

An update from Zoe Mander-Jones, Australian Volunteers Program Director

A message from Zoë Mander-Jones, Australian Volunteers Program Director.

Dear returned Australian volunteers,

I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well in this difficult and uncertain time.

As we all witness the impacts of COVID19 around the world, I wanted to update you on how the Australian Volunteers Program has responded and ask that you keep a watch out for how the RAVN community might be able to help.

Many returned volunteers will be aware that from 16 March 2020, the Australian Volunteers Program made the difficult decision to repatriate Australian volunteers due to COVID19 and our responsibilities in relation to duty of care. We have also temporarily suspended recruitment and sending Australians overseas as skilled volunteers.

I’m pleased to let you know that repatriation is now complete, with all program participants that required repatriation now safely returned to Australia. There is a small group of skilled health professionals who we are supporting to stay on assignment in-country as they have critical skills to assist with the local COVID19 response.  

Having been through the experience of returning home and settling back in to life in Australia, you can appreciate the challenges these repatriated volunteers may be facing. The Australian Volunteers Program is doing everything we can to support these repatriated volunteers, and have developed a special repatriation support package, which includes financial support and access to psychological counselling.

We also remain committed to supporting our valued partner organisations in the 26 countries in which we operate. Over the coming weeks, we are engaging with our partners overseas and in Australia to explore flexible ways that we can continue to work together in this rapidly changing environment. We will provide returned volunteers with updates as these plans evolve as there may be opportunities for you to get involved.

In this newsletter, you will see that the RAVN team has been working hard to adapt our networking and professional development events and activities to an online format, so that all returned volunteers, regardless of your location, can stay connected online. I also encourage you to reach out to your fellow returned volunteers through the RAVN Facebook groups.

I would like to reassure you that the Australian Volunteers Program continues, and we are adapting to these new and challenging circumstances. Our network of volunteers and partners remain a key asset in responding to the current crisis.  We look forward to keeping you updated as to our response to COVID19 over the weeks and months ahead.

Take care and we hope you can join us online at a RAVN event soon.

Kind regards,

Zoë Mander-Jones
Program Director, Australian Volunteers Program

Read the April RAVN Update here.