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Volunteer overseas without leaving home (for now)

By Staff Writer Mozza

Missing your trips overseas? Want to volunteer to do something with a broader impact on the world? This is now possible through the Remote Volunteering Program offered by Australian Volunteers International (AVI).

There are many roles that can be done from home via ZOOM meetings, email and Skype without the need to travel to the country. There are also projects that can be started now, remotely, on a 90-day assignment and completed later in the country when travel has been reopened.

Some of the assignments available include writing funding proposals for not-for-profit organisations in a developing country, advising and educating nurses in developing nations on health topics like palliative care or disease control, writing policy documents for international universities on Human Resources, Equal Access or Waste Recycling and Reduction for staff and students, sharing knowledge on agriculture, website and database development, marketing, business development, the environment, the arts and teaching English.

AVI have traditionally recruited suitably-qualified or experienced volunteers to undertake projects in country for 6 months or a year, but have had to adapt the program during COVID border closures to better suit home activities over shorter periods of 12 to 18 weeks.

Many assignments available

There are currently dozens of assignments advertised asking for volunteers in many developing countries such as Bhutan, Cambodia, Micronesia, Fiji, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam and more (you’ll find a full list on the AVI website - ).

AVI values international volunteering as a critical approach to capacity development. The organisation values volunteers who are committed to sustainable development and representing Australia with integrity. It supports locally-led capacity development because effective development is achieved when local communities, organisations and governments drive and own the solutions. Volunteers build links and diverse partnerships with individuals, communities and organisations, strengthening Australia’s relationships across our region and globally.

And it’s not only the overseas partners who reap the benefits. The AVI program benefits Australia in many ways, such as helping to deepen and strengthen Australia’s relationship with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region, while returning volunteers bring a deep cultural understanding back to Australia to share with communities at home. By supporting sustainable development, the program contributes to economic growth and stability in our own region.

More than 16,000 Australian international volunteers over the years

International volunteering has a long history in Australia, originating in the 1950s as a means of fostering cultural understanding between Australian and Indonesian students. Australian Government support for international volunteering began in 1963, and while there have been many successful Australian Government-funded volunteer programs since then, the Government’s commitment to volunteering as a powerful approach to capacity development has remained consistent. Through international volunteering, more than 16,000 Australian volunteers have responded to the needs and development challenges in our region.

AVI is committed to ensuring that international volunteering is inclusive and accessible to Australians from a range of backgrounds, with diverse perspectives, identities and abilities.

If you have skills to share and are an Australian citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18, you can apply for an assignment. Australian volunteers work in a range of sectors, including business services, community and social development, health, science, engineering and architecture, skilled trades, education and training, and media and arts.

Passionate support provided

Of course, there can be barriers, perceived or otherwise, that prevent some Australians from participating fully in international volunteering, particularly people with a disability, Indigenous Australians, people living in regional and remote areas, and people from the LGBTQI+ community. AVI is passionate about supporting all Australians to volunteer and recognise the unique strengths and skills that people with diverse backgrounds and experiences offer, and work with volunteers to remove barriers they may face.

So if you’re looking for something different, have a computer, tablet or smartphone and want to experience what life is really like in other countries, visit AVI’s website - and check out the current assignments to see if your skills and experience are in demand.

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My name is Andrew Powell and I have had the honour of serving the wonderful people of the Glass House electorate since 2009. In its current form, the electorate includes Beerburrum and parts of Elimba

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