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Australian volunteers in health

The Australian aid health program is working with partner countries in the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen their public health systems.

The Australian Volunteers Program provides opportunities for skilled Australians to contribute to the Australian Government's aid program, using international volunteering as a people-centred approach to capacity development.

Due to COVID-19, the majority of volunteers were repatriated to Australia in March and April of 2020. Working with DFAT, the program enabled six essential volunteers to remain in-country to support local response efforts to COVID-19. The program continues to support and mobilise a small number of volunteers with essential skills to support countries to respond to the pandemic. For example, the Ministry of Health in Solomon Islands has a volunteer to assist with the national COVID-19 preparedness efforts. These volunteers are part of the Australian Government’s broader efforts to support the Pacific and Timor-Leste in responding to the impacts of COVID-19. These assignments are jointly identified with DFAT Posts and national authorities in-country and are only open to referred candidates.

Separately, the program fast-tracked the roll out of Remote Volunteering in response to COVID-19 with 69 assignments. Health examples include a Counselling Mentor for Pohnpei State Department of Health Services; a WASH Capacity Development Mentor to the Ministry of Rural Development in Cambodia; and an Epidemiologist is supporting the Ministry of Health in Samoa.

In 2019-20, partner organisations reported on strengthened capacity and gains from the program. For example, in Kiribati, the Ministry of Health advised, ‘We were very satisfied with [the volunteer’s] inputs as they have resulted in significant achievements for the Ministry of Health, particularly in the provision of better mental health services to our people. [She] has great people and leadership skills. She was very professional in the workplace and we have been motivated to follow her work ethic. We continue her work ethic even after she has finished. Outside of work, we did a lot of activities together and she joined our family functions and experienced our culture.’

This volunteering assignment is part of the Australian Volunteer Program, an Australian Government initiative.

How to apply

More information, including applicant eligibility criteria can be found on the Australian Volunteers page.

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