New Body to Coordinate Overseas Volunteer Programs
Thursday, 26th May 2011 at 3:17 pm
The Federal Government has launched Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), which brings four separate overseas volunteer programs under a single program and aims to make it easier for more Australians to volunteer in developing countries.
Launching the new body, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says Australians wishing to participate in Australia’s overseas aid program will now have even more information and easily accessible material to help them navigate their way through what being a volunteer actually means on the ground.
The new, integrated program is aimed at making it easier for more Australians to volunteer their services in developing countries, in support of the priorities of the Australian Government’s aid program.
AusAID – the Australian Government’s overseas aid program – says volunteers are an important part of Australia’s aid program, contributing their time and skill to local organisations and communities, and making a substantial contribution to sustainable development in partner countries.
AusAID says the new Australian Volunteers for International Development program will align four programs into a single program:
- with a common program identity
- a new volunteers planning process to strengthen alignment between volunteer assignments and country strategies
- simplified program monitoring and evaluation processes
- streamlined administrative process and a common management approach defined in shared operating standards
- an international volunteers’ web portal that provides a single point of access to the new program.
Speaking to an audience of 300 returned volunteers, volunteer organisations, Parliamentarians, diplomats and NGOs at Parliament House, Rudd says Australian volunteers bring unique expertise and perspectives to their host countries – from setting up clinics for women to give birth safely or building stronger homes to withstand cyclones, Australian volunteers directly contribute to improving people’s lives in developing countries.
He says Australian volunteers return to Australia richer for the experience and add new ideas and perspectives to Australian life.
Under the new integrated program, more than 900 volunteers ? a record number ? will be deployed this year to 33 countries, including to new countries such as Sri Lanka, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Rudd says this has been made possible by new funding announced in the May budget, which will allow the Government to meet its election commitment to send at least 1000 new volunteers overseas each year by 2013.
He says Australian volunteers encompass the character of the country which we hold dear, a truly open-hearted society, and without it we would be a lesser people.
Under the 2011-12 Federal Budget, funding for the volunteers program will increase from $42 million in 2010-11 to $55 million in 2011-12, with the number of new volunteer assignments to increase from 823 in 2010-11 to over 900 in 2011-12.
In 2011-12, volunteers will be deployed to 33 countries including to Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Sri Lanka, Palau in Micronesia, the Marshall Islands in the North Pacific and to additional countries within Africa.
AusAID works in partnership with Australian Volunteers International, Austraining International and Australian Red Cross—organisations with extensive experience in international volunteering – to provide overseas volunteering opportunities for Australians.
For more information on Australian Volunteers for International Development visit: www.ausaid.gov.au/volunteer