• Returned Australian Volunteer Network

    The Australian Government’s Returned Australian Volunteer Network was launched in Perth at a White Ribbon event by Mr Luke Simpkins MP.

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  • WASH-ing up – developing essential skills in Zambia

    Alex Conroy is one of many Australian volunteers working in the critical water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. She details her motivation for volunteering and a key initiative she has undertaken during her assignment.

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  • Making cancer a priority in Swaziland

    Australian volunteer Joanne Chesson has spent four years at the Swaziland Breast and Cervical Cancer Network where she has contributed to and learned from incredible progress made in breast and cervical cancer services for Swazi people.

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  • A partnership for change – Breastfeeding in Cambodia

    Australian volunteer Sandra Halliwell spent a year working as a Preceptor Midwife Coach in a Cambodian Hospital. She was involved in establishing meaningful programs in breastfeeding best practice at the hospital.

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Australian Volunteers for International Development

How we are helping

2014/15 Estimated Outcome:
$56.6 million

2015/16 Budget Estimate:
$39.6 million

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has been allocated an estimated budget of $39.6 million for the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program in 2015-16, a change from $56.6 million in 2014-15.

The AVID program remains a central and valued part of Australia’s aid program.  This financial year we expect to have around 1400 volunteers working overseas.

The Department has been working closely with AVID partners and DFAT posts on revisions to the program.

The AVID program will have a greater focus on the Indo-Pacific region, with anticipated volunteering opportunities in the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Indonesia, Laos, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Australian Red Cross (ARC) in close consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made the decision to integrate international volunteering within its broader humanitarian and development partnership with the Australian Government. This change will enable the ARC to align its volunteering work directly with the humanitarian and development objectives of the Red Cross movement in the Indo-Pacific region.

This means that over the coming year ARC will transition out of the AVID program. In principle all ARC volunteers will be supported to complete their assignments as planned. Scope Global and Australian Volunteers International will continue as delivery partners for the AVID program.

We are also reviewing the AVID management structure to ensure the program remains as cost effective as possible, with a focus on continuing to mobilise high quality volunteers to work overseas.  Changes have been made to in-country management arrangements with a move to one partner operating in most countries, with the exception of Indonesia and Fiji.

There will be a transition period as these changes come into effect, however volunteers in the field are our priority. In some cases, this may involve volunteers being managed by another AVID partner during their assignment. Volunteers will be informed of any changes as soon as transition arrangements have been agreed between all AVID Partners.

We are hoping to finalise management arrangements in the coming weeks and are anticipating the recruitment of future volunteers to commence in August 2015.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to work closely with AVID partners, to strengthen the AVID program.  Regular updates will be provided to volunteers in the field, volunteers who are planning to mobilise and future volunteers.

The Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program makes a considerable contribution to the achievement of the Government’s public diplomacy objectives. Volunteers promote a positive perception of Australia in the region, and promote a positive perception of the aid program domestically. AVID also contributes to development outcomes and links the Australian community with people and organisations in developing countries.

The AVID program seeks to:

  • build understanding of Australia’s international role and commitment to integration with the Indo-Pacific region
  • increase the number of volunteers working to improve the economic livelihoods of people in developing countries, and
  • develop volunteer assignments in priority areas of governance, health, social infrastructure and services and education.

The program is funded and delivered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in partnership with the Australian Red Cross (ARC), Australian Volunteers International (AVI) and Scope Global (SG).

In 2013-14, 2006 Australian volunteers worked in 1369 host organisations including non-government organisations (NGOs), government and education institutions with the support of 288 Australian Partner Organisations (APOs). Total AVID expenditure in 2013-14 at $55 million represented one per cent of the total Australian aid budget and supported the mobilisation of Australians across 43 countries throughout Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. Ninety-three per cent of volunteers undertook assignments in the Indo-Pacific region – with 58 per cent in Asia, 27 per cent in the Pacific, and 8 per cent in Indo-Pacific African countries.

Through the AVID program, members of the Australian community have the opportunity to share skills and foster linkages with people and organisations in developing countries.

Australian volunteers mobilised through the AVID program work with a range of host organisations including:

  • non-government and civil society organisations
  • government agencies
  • educational institutions
  • humanitarian organisations
  • private sector enterprises
  • United Nations agencies.

Are you interested in volunteering? Visit the Volunteer page.

Becoming a volunteer

A wide range of professional skills are needed to contribute to development across the globe. The sectors most commonly requested by overseas partners are listed below, but can change depending on priorities and needs. Most assignments require qualifications and demonstrated professional experience.

  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • Business, marketing and tourism
  • Communications and media
  • Community and social development
  • Disaster and emergency management
  • Education and training
  • Engineering
  • Health
  • Information technology
  • Law and justice
  • Management, administration and human resources
  • Skilled trades

Host organisations

Volunteers are placed within host organisations in many developing countries. Some of these host organisations include non-governement organisationss, universities,government departments, multilateral organisations and the private companies. Volunteers work with colleagues in these host organisations throughout their assignment and contribute to building capacity within the organisation.

Host organisations provide management and support to Australian volunteers, as well as identifying the objectives of the volunteer assignment. Host organisations are responsible for:

  • providing supervision
  • identifying opportunities for skill or knowledge transfer by Australian volunteers
  • providing a safe and secure working environment with adequate workplace facilities and resources
  • ensuring that the volunteer assignment assists committing to sustainable development and capacity building.

More information about host organisations

Australian partner organisations

To encourage greater community involvement, Australian organisations can partner with host organisation. This is a great way for Australian organisations to develop new relationships with organisations overseas, or to strengthen existing links. Australian partner organisations include:

  • government departments
  • educational institutions
  • non-government organisations (NGOs), and
  • private sector enterprises.

More information for Australian partner organisations








Returned Australian Volunteer Network

The Returned Australian Volunteer Network brings together Australian Government-funded returned volunteers since the 1960s, providing networking, engagement and professional development opportunities.

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Delivery partners

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