The goal of the Australian Volunteers program is to contribute to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, and to advance Australia’s reputation and relationships in partner countries. Volunteers promote positive people-to-people links between individuals, organisations, and communities in developing countries and in Australia.
As such, the following support provisions and benefits are offered to Australian volunteers.
- Return airfares
- Medical insurance and vaccinations
- Modest living allowances and four weeks annual leave
- Safe and secure accommodation
- Additional support for partners and/or dependants
- Disability support
- Comprehensive pre-departure briefing, in-country orientation and re-entry care
- 24 hour medical and counselling support
- Resettlement allowance (assignments of 7 months or more)
The living allowance
The living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan. See more detail in the allowance table below.
- Figures quoted are paid monthly and are correct at January 2018.
- *If the Partner Organisation (PO) provides accommodation for the volunteer, then the volunteer will not receive an accommodation allowance from the program.
Accommodation is either provided by the partner organisation, or you will be provided with an allowance to cover renting a safe and secure place. In some locations, the high cost of renting may mean that volunteers will share accommodation so that they are able to afford the appropriate level of security.
Additional support is available to volunteers living with a disability which is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Get in touch with our recruitment team to discuss your situation, we'd love to hear from you.
Partners and family
Partners and family can be a tremendous support to a volunteer on assignment. As such, a limited amount of financial support is budgeted for each year to support partners and dependants on assignments with a duration of 12 months or more.
Return airfares, insurance, pre-departure medical expenses, and a supplementary living allowance (this allowance is a maximum 25% of the volunteer's allowance, irrespective of the number of dependants).
Funding is limited and volunteers must make clear their interest in the support when they apply for an assignment. This is a volunteer's only opportunity to apply for dependant support.
Other financial support
If your assignment is seven months or longer in duration, you will receive a settling-in allowance of AU$1000 and a resettlement allowance of AU$1200. These allowances are designed to contribute towards the cost of passports, excess baggage, initial food, household items and any other costs incurred during departure. The settling in allowance is paid prior to departure by direct transfer to your Australian bank account.
Safety and security
There are security issues of some kind in every country. We monitor security very closely at all times through official and local contacts and are experienced at responding rapidly to situations if they change. We also work with you to develop your own security plan. You will be provided with an in-country emergency contact that will be available at all hours. We will work with you to develop a crisis management plan and organise evacuation if necessary.
Understanding the culture, observing local social behaviours, establishing friendships and seeking advice from the local community will improve your everyday personal security, as will being sensitive and sensible.
In some countries, formal language training is provided as part of the in-country orientation. Volunteers often start language training prior to taking up their assignments, as even speaking a little of the local language can greatly increase your integration in the community and workplace.
Once you are selected for an assignment, a standard consultation with the Travel Medical and Vaccination Clinic (TMVC) will be provided. This also covers the costs of recommended vaccinations and anti-malarial medication if required.
We have a network of international offices. In other areas, we have partnerships with local organisations to ensure that there is support available to volunteers if needed. Your in-country team will be your primary contact. You will also get to know the other Australian Volunteer program volunteers in your country of assignment. They will help you settle in and find your way around.
If you need to return home urgently, it is important to discuss this with both your partner organisation and AVI. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to cover your travel costs through insurance.
We will help you to research and prepare for your time as a volunteer. You will receive increasing amounts of information from the time you apply to when you begin your assignment. As you progress through the process, we will send you detailed country notes and reading material. We'll also put you in touch with current and returned volunteers from your country of assignment.
At the same time, we expect you to undertake your own research and in-depth exploration of the issues you will face and the strategies you will use to be successful in all aspects of your assignment.
Prior to departure and on your arrival, you will participate in a range of blended learning activities. These will inform and orientate you in everything from your role in international development to how you will adjust to your new life in the country.