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International Volunteer Day
The Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program places skilled professional Australian volunteers in developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean in line with Australian Government development priorities. The AVID program is now managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is implemented in the Caribbean by Austraining International (AI).
In the Caribbean, the AVID program provides Australian volunteers with an opportunity to work with local counterparts to address issues of sustainable development at varying levels. This is achieved through skills and knowledge exchange, institutional strengthening and capacity building of Host Organizations (HO).
The central focus of the volunteers’ assignment is working side-by-side with Host Organisations in country which include government departments, non-government organisations (NGOs), international non-government organisations and educational institutions. Australian volunteers use their skills and expertise to help build the capacity of their host organisation to deliver key services and outcomes that serve to improve the lives of citizens in their assigned countries.
The AVID program is currently implemented in five countries across the Caribbean – Dominica, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Belize, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. To date, twenty five AVID volunteers have been placed regionally. The following are two testimonials from volunteers assigned to Dominica, the first country to receive volunteer placements.
Amy Folan with children advocate - Gerlina Fontaine
Name of Volunteer: AMY FOLAN
Assignment Title: Quality Education Advisor
Assignment Sector: Education and Youth Engagement
Host Organisation: ChildFund Caribbean
Assignment Dates: 22nd June 2012-23 December 2013
Youth disengagement and violence against children have been identified as major issues across the Caribbean region. The Child Friendly Schools initiative is aimed at engaging children and youth by improving access to quality education. It also aims to ensure that children have access to their rights including the right to protection and participation.
The Government of Dominica, with the support of ChildFund Caribbean is working to ensure that all schools in Dominica offer children a safe, effective and participatory learning environment, where the voices of children are not only heard but also respected. Part of my role as Quality Education Advisor with ChildFund is to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and local partners to build capacity in the areas of:
- child-centred learning,
- positive behaviour management,
- student participation in governance and
- parent engagement in the school community.
Through strategic planning, teacher training, resource development and mobilisation, as well as, student centred workshops the ChildFund seeks to improve the quality of education, engage children and youth throughout the region and ensure their protection and participation.
Participation in the development of active Student Councils within schools and a National Student Council has been a major achievement of my placement. These councils create opportunities for children and youth to actively engage in governance and play a major role in the improvement of their education.
Jeff Barnard meeting a homeowner whose house was damaged by a recent hurricane.
Name of Volunteer: JEFF BANARD
Assignment Title: Disaster Risk Management Officer
Assignment Sector: Disaster Management and Climate Change
Host Organisation: Dominica Red Cross
Assignment Dates: 23rd March 2012- 23rd March 2013
The Dominica Red Cross (DRC) provides a wide range of services and training, including several key programs aimed at assisting communities prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
In order to strengthen homes against the effects of hurricanes, I have assisted in the implementation of the Safer Houses program. The focus of the Safer Homes program was to outfit twenty houses in four communities with hurricane straps and braces. To ensure sustainability, the program also sought to equip the community with the knowledge and skills necessary to rebuild their houses in order to withstand future hurricanes.
I also participated in conducting vulnerability and capacity assessments and mapping and disaster management plans for communities. This has further contributed to the information available for communities and the government to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.
I was also able to assist with a long term goal of the Director General of the Dominica Red Cross to enhance the vulnerability mapping abilities of the organization by introducing GIS mapping.
Additionally, I assisted with the development of learning resource materials for the Dominica Red Cross’ Shelter Management training. This training provided community members with vital skills on the operation of emergency shelters.
My placement provided me with the opportunity to help ensure that community education around disaster management and preparedness strategies were easily accessible and continue to be available to vulnerable communities by Red Cross volunteers after the completion of my assignment.
Win A Year of Study In Australia
A year of study in Australia awaits the winner of an exciting new online competition asking students to design digital postcards about their future and how an Australian education could take them there.
The Australian Government has launched the online competition, Win Your Future Unlimited, which will run from 1 October to 18 November 2013.
“This Win your Future Unlimited is an opportunity for one lucky student to show how an Australian education can generate real career outcomes,“ said Ambassador Ross Tysoe, AO. “Studying in Australia delivers real life benefits in the shape of future professional and personal success.”
The main prize includes one year of study in Australia in 2014, including flights, tuition, accommodation, a stipend, an internship and more.
Before the winner is announced on 17 December 2013, seven finalists will be flown to Australia for a two-week study tour during which they will meet with representatives of tertiary institutions from coast to coast.
To enter, visit www.futureunlimited.com.au and complete four steps to create a digital postcard:
(1) upload a photo;
(2) add illustrations;
(3) write 50 words or less describing future aspirations and how an Australian education would help realise them;
(4) answer some basic questions, and submit the postcard.
Managed by the Australian Trade Commission, the competition is supported by 21 of Australia’s tertiary education and training providers and the following gold sponsors:
•Educational Testing Services (ETS);
•National Australia Bank;
•The University of New South Wales.
For media inquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other inquiries contact: FutureUnlimitedCampaign@austrade.gov.au
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has been established to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s unrivalled 60 year contribution to the Commonwealth.
The Queen has served as Head of the Commonwealth for 60 years. During that time she has won the respect and admiration of many Australians for her outstanding life of public service. In 1954, just two years after she became Queen, she became the first reigning monarch ever to visit Australia. Since then, she has been a frequent visitor to our country. Her visit last year with Prince Phillip to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee marked her 16th journey down under.
More information or to be part of this project, click here.
Australian Ambassador Presents His Credentials In Haiti
Ambassador Ross W. Tysoe, AO presented his credentials to President Michel Martelly of the Republic of Haiti on 20 September, 2013 at the Presidential Palace in Port au Prince. The ceremony offered a wonderful opportunity for the reaffirmation of Australia’s commitment to assisting with the ongoing aid efforts in Haiti. It also cemented the role Australia plays in supporting the government through its global aid outreach programme.
Throught its aid outreach the Australian government has provided AUD26.7 million to Haiti for earthquake response, reconstruction and recovery activities. Efforts also included collaboration with various stakeholders and NGO groups on the ground in Haiti specifically targeting the cholera outbreak through the provision of water, sanitation and health services (WASH).
The Australian public also provided a further, much needed, injection of AUD26 million through the NGO community matching the government's commitment. This aid has gone a long way towards supporting several large projects undertaken in Haiti, over the past three (3) years. Projects with a more regional scope impacting on the country, its ability to respond to climate change events and other natural disaster recponse mechanisms were also implemented.
Some examples of how the monies have been disbursed are outlined below:
AUD10 Million in Emergency Assistance:
• World Food Programme – AUD4.5 million
• Australian Non-Government Organisations – AUD2.5 million
• Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency – AUD1 million
• Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs – AUD1 million
• International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – AUD1 million
AUD14 Million for Reconstruction:
• Haiti Reconstruction Fund (World Bank) – AUD10 million
• UNDP’s Cash for Work program – AUD2.5 million
• Assisting CARICOM improve coordination – AUD750 000
• A joint initiative with Brazil, through the Institute for Inter-American Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), to improve community water supply for 5 000 rural poor and students from 20 schools – AUD750 000.
A further AUD2.7 million was allocated as follows:
• UNICEF (Haiti cholera response) - AUD1 million to provide clean water, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and other essential life-saving supplies
• CARICOM (Haiti cholera response) – AUD1 million through IOM (International Organization for Migration) to provide sanitation facilities to 15 000 residents in Cité Soleil
• Government of Cuba - AUD765 000 to support delivery of health services in Haiti including maintenance and electricity generation at hospitals and health centres.
Through the Australian Civilian Corps (ACC), Australia also provided a Specialist to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission from April 2011 to March 2012.
WASH - 2013
Australia and Brazil are also involved in a joint project to construct concrete water tanks for rainwater storage in rural Haiti. AUD750 000 has been disbursed to facilitate the project’s successful completion.
The aim of the project: to provide people subject to food insecurity with access to drinking water. 170 concrete water tanks are expected to benefit 1,500 persons in Ganthier - rural poor and students from around 20 schools, who lack access to safe drinking water.
Australian assistance is improving access to clean water and functional sewerage systems.The project is expected to be completed in December 2013.
ASSISTANCE IN THE REGION
Haiti also benefits from the overarching Caribbean Development Assistance Program undertaken by the Australian government in the region. Through Australia’s support to regional institutions (AUD60 million over four years) Australia is helping to reduce the effects of climate change and natural disasters in these small island developing states.
Recognising the need for support in areas such as prevention, coordination and management, the Australian government has funded the following undertakings in the region:
• The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) received AUD5 million to co-fund its Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Harmonised Implementation Plan (HIP) with DFID and CIDA.
• The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) received AUD5 million to enhance institutional capacity to coordinate implementation of the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change (2009-2015).
• The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) received AUD6.5 million to help strengthen the Caribbean’s tax and customs administration, public financial management, financial sector and capital markets regulation, and macroeconomic analysis.
• The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) received AUD1 million for the development of an economic modelling frame-work in support of an assessment of the economic impact of climate change.
The Australian government takes this opportunity to once again extend warm regards to the peoples and government of the Republic of Haiti and to reaffirm our confidence in Ambassador Tysoe, AO to continue to develop our positive relationship in the future.
Australian Volunteers for International Development
AusAID is working in partnership with Australian Volunteers International, Austraining International and Australian Red Cross in delivering the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.
Australian volunteers play a vital role in the fight against poverty. Volunteering overseas is one way that Australians can make a positive contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development and cross-cultural understanding.
Australian volunteers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and include men and women aged from 18 to over 80 years. Australian volunteers have varying professional backgrounds which enable them to work on a raft of activities including setting up medical clinics so that women can give birth safely, building stronger homes to withstand cyclones and helping children with disabilities to get to school. Volunteers enrich the communities they help.
The profile of the program has expanded into the Caribbean, as you can see here.
Media Releases from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs can be found here.
Media Releases from the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment can be found here.
Speeches from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs can be found here.
Speeches from the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment can be found here.