Fiji benefits significantly from Australian volunteers, receiving over 50 new volunteers each year. At any one time there may be up to 100 Australian volunteers in Fiji because some stay for two years. The
Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) [external link] program provides an opportunity for Australians to directly help one of their nearest neighbours and to make a positive contribution to development. The two-way exchange of knowledge and experiences can also lead to better development outcomes.
Volunteer assignment priorities in Fiji
- Improve maternal health and reduce child mortality
- Strengthen mental health service delivery
- Provide teacher trainers, curriculum developers, specialist teachers and health workers to improve services for people with disabilities
- Support sustainable development of community-based livelihoods
- Support improved policy and service delivery through government and civil society organisations
- Address the impacts of climate change and support environmental stewardship, especially through community-based measures
- Encourage broad understanding of disaster management and disaster risk reduction.
Kirra Litchfield volunteering with Fiji Red Cross
Cyclone season is keeping Fiji Red Cross busy, as it responds to one emergency after another. Australian Volunteer Kirra Litchfield, who has worked in emergency management in Victoria for several years, is there to assist.
Kirra is working with the disaster management team to develop an annual activity plan, organise Red Cross activities around the country, and strengthen training programs for the network of local volunteers.
The collaboration between Australia and Fiji in disaster management has benefited both countries. Australian Red Cross and Australian Aid work closely with Fiji Red Cross and volunteers like Kirra to bring in new ideas and strengthen their professional networks.
Working with Red Cross is a long-term goal for Kirra. 'It’s an organisation I can add value to, but also one aligned with my principles and values. I’m proud to work here.'
Sally Chapman volunteering as a gender adviser with Fiji Red Cross
Sally began her assignment as gender adviser by coordinating activities for 16 Days of Activism, a global campaign to end violence against women.
With support from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Sally helped run workshops on gender equality and violence with Red Cross staff and volunteers. Sally also worked with a small team of female volunteers on 15-minute awareness activities during the 16-day campaign. These ranged from a hymn to remember women who had experienced violence, to messages of support for women with disabilities. Male staff and volunteers of Fiji Red Cross pledged to never be silent about, excuse or enact violence against women.
'For me, the most powerful part was that the content came from the women here,' says Sally. 'I might have helped with the research but it was all their voices.'
Sally is now working with the disaster management team to ensure that activities in response to Fiji’s recent floods are meeting the needs of women and girls.
How to apply
More information, including applicant eligibility criteria can be found on the Australian Volunteers website