Organisations in Australia can also be involved in the AVID program by linking with the host organisations and providing professional support to volunteers while on assignment.
Becoming an Australian Partner Organisation in the AVID program provides opportunities to foster ongoing collaboration and knowledge sharing with organisations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australian Partner Organisations must be Australian organisations and can be drawn from government departments, non-government organisations, industry groups, educational institutions, private companies and sporting associations.
Many Australian Partner Organisations are long-term partners in the volunteer program such as the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Surf Life Saving Australia.
Support provided by Australian Partner Organisations can include:
- assisting the host organisation to identify areas of need and develop assignments
- promote assignments through their professional networks
- mentoring volunteers while they are on assignment and providing access to professional networks
- providing resources to help volunteers achieve their assignment objectives
- maintaining ongoing linkages with the host organisation.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research partnering in fisheries management in Laos
Fish and rice production are important to the Lao people in the Mekong river communities in terms of food security, income and biodiversity. Australian volunteers were on assignments with the National University of Lao PDR and the Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre to investigate solutions to declining fish production. Their work was part of a broader program by fisheries agencies in Laos and Australia, including the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). ACIAR is assisting Laos with the assessment of the passage of Mekong fish and the design of fish ways to enable movement of fish between rivers and floodplains.
Andrew Trappett and Kate Martin jumped at the opportunity to volunteer on projects in the Mekong River basin. Both volunteers worked in the fisheries' sector in Australia, Andrew with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Kate with Fisheries NSW. They worked with a team of researchers from the National University of Lao PDR and the Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre on a variety of fish experiments, such as using specialised chambers to determine the impacts of water pressure on fish. When assessing the first ever fish passage designed for Mekong species in Laos, Andrew and Kate worked with staff to build their skills and knowledge in identifying fish species, fish handling skills and data collection techniques.
Questacon partnering in science education in Indonesia
Fostering interest in science and technology among Indonesian children was made easier for Australian volunteer Kate Barnard thanks to Questacon, Australia's National Science and Technology Centre. Questacon acted as the Australian Partner Organisation for Kate's assignment with the Indonesian equivalent, Pusat Peragaan Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Teknologi (PP-IPTEK).
Working with the centre's education division, Kate developed interactive science programs designed to introduce science and technology in early childhood curriculum. One such program, Penumu Cilik, or 'Little Discoverers', is being trialled among kindergarten children aged between four to six years. Penumu Cilik is based on a program run by Questacon called Science Time. Kate was able to meet with Questacon staff prior to her assignment and received numerous materials such as lesson plans to help her design and deliver a new program in Indonesia.
Advice and support from the staff were ongoing during Kate's assignment allowing her to troubleshoot activities for the children and access research and equipment.
'Questacon has been incredibly generous with their time and resources. It made a big difference to my assignment that I was able to access top-quality resources and science centre experts,' said Kate.
Kate's assignment was also of benefit to Questacon. When the centre organised a capacity building workshop at PP-IPTEK in conjunction with Australian National University's Centre for the Public Awareness of Science last year, Kate was able to act as an 'on-the-ground' source of information and support for planning.
The Trinh Foundation Australia partnering in speech therapy in Vietnam
Close collaboration between Australian Partner Organisation, the Trinh Foundation Australia, and the Pham Ngoc Thach University in Vietnam has resulted in the establishment of Vietnam's first speech therapy trainee program.
The Trinh Foundation Australia is a voluntary, non-profit organisation of professionals with a shared commitment to improving the quality of life of people with communication and swallowing disorders in Vietnam. The collaboration between the two organisations provides the staff and Australian volunteers (speech therapists) at the Pham Ngoc Thach University with access to professionals in Australia with expertise in speech therapy.
In 2012, 18 students graduated from a two-year postgraduate speech therapy trainee program, the first of its kind in Vietnam. With a growing demand from the community for speech therapy and aural rehabilitation services, a second course is already underway.