Australian Volunteers for International Development
Australian volunteers play a vital role in the fight against poverty. Volunteering overseas is one way that Australians can make a positive contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development and cross cultural understanding—and this is something that the Australian Government has supported since the 1960s.
The new overseas volunteer program, Australian Volunteers for International Development, was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 26 May 2011 at Parliament House. A new web portal was also launched allowing a one-stop entry point to Australian volunteering. It can be accessed at
www.ausaidvolunteers.gov.au [external website].
Under the new program, the Australian Government, through AusAID, is working in partnership with Australian Volunteers International, Austraining International and Australian Red Cross—organisations with extensive experience in international volunteering.
The aim of the program is to make an effective contribution to the development objectives of the Australian Government and its partner Governments, through Australian volunteers working with people and organisations in developing countries. The program draws together all current AusAID-funded development volunteering initiatives into one program and also includes a volunteer small grants fund.
The program will enhance the contribution of Australian volunteers to the achievement of the development objectives of the Australian Government, and relevant partner governments and organisations. It will contribute to the personal development of volunteers and building people-to-people linkages between Australia and developing countries.
Becoming a volunteer
Many Australians have the skills and experience necessary to help reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, but just don’t realise it. A wide and diverse range of professional skills are needed to address development needs across the globe. From agricultural projects to health and education programs that can change lives, there is no end to the skills and expertise that can have an impact at the grassroots level in developing countries.
The sectors most commonly requested by overseas partners are listed below, but can include others depending on priorities and needs. Most assignments require qualifications and demonstrated professional experience.
- Banking and financial services
- Business and other services
- Commodity aid and general program assistance
- Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security
- Energy generation and supply
- Government and civil society
- Humanitarian aid
- Mineral resources and mining
- Other social infrastructure and services
- Population policies/programs and reproductive health
- Trade policy and regulations and trade related adjustment
- Transport and storage
- Water and sanitation
Australian partner organisations
To encourage greater community involvement, Australian organisations can become an Australian partner organisation. This includes government departments, educational institutions, non government organisations (NGOs) and private sector enterprises. This is a great way for Australian organisations to develop new relationships with organisations overseas, or to strengthen existing links.
More information for Australian partner organisations [external website]
Volunteers are placed within host organisations in many countries, including NGOs, universities and government departments. Volunteers work with colleagues in these host organisations throughout their assignment and contribute to building capacity within the organisation.
Host organisations in-country provide management and support to Australian volunteers, as well as assist in achieving assignment objectives. Responsibilities of host organisations include:
- providing supervision
- identifying counterpart staff
- providing a safe and secure working environment with adequate workplace facilities and resources
- committing to sustainable development and capacity building.
More information about host organisations [external website]
Other resources related to volunteering and international development
World Volunteer Web [external website]—Information and resources linked to global volunteerism.
ACFID [external website]—Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the independent national association of Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) working in the field of international aid and development.