The AVID program builds people-to-people linkages. It is pivotal to furthering Australia's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. It is a program that is focused on relationships and as such, I value the opportunity to acknowledge the strength of the partnership the AVID program has enjoyed with the Australian Red Cross (ARC).
This month marks a fundamental shift in the composition of the AVID program. The ARC, in close consultation with DFAT, will integrate international volunteering into 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. As such, the ARC will transition out of the AVID program on 30 June.
I travelled to Melbourne recently to join colleagues at the ARC for a function to celebrate their contribution to the program. The ARC has been a valued partner, managing 509 volunteer assignments across 15 countries over the last five years.
The strong foundation of the Red Cross movement in international volunteering and the skills and experience of the ARC team resulted in assignments which focused on producing sustainable development outcomes and built effective relationships with host organisations.
I appreciate the unique skills and expertise that ARC colleagues have been able to bring to the AVID program: affiliation with local Red Cross movements, local volunteer programs, health expertise including blood banks and donations, malaria programs, maternal and child health, and capacity building in disaster preparedness and recovery. The AVID program has been richer as a result of ARC's engagement.
The ARC media team has produced a great animated video which showcases their contribution to the AVID program. I encourage you to have a look at the video on YouTube. This edition of the RAVN e-newsletter is dedicated to our colleagues at the ARC. Thank you for your partnership.
First Assistant Secretary and Humanitarian Coordinator
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade