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Development assistance in Vanuatu

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Australian Volunteers program in Vanuatu

Australian Volunteers program in Vanuatu

Vanuatu receives 40-50 Australian volunteers annually. These volunteers work in a wide range of sectors to contribute to Vanuatu's development and to build enduring people-to-people links between Australia and Vanuatu.

Volunteer assignments priorities in Vanuatu

  1. Building resilient infrastructure and an environment for economic opportunity through assignments supporting local businesses.
  2. Improving early education and essential health services, particularly institutional strengthening assignments in the Ministry of Health to improve pharmaceutical supplies and control, health finance reporting and management, nutrition and rural health. Volunteers also build capacity and support improved service provision for ProMedical. Volunteer placements in the Ministry of Education and Training contribute to our support for basic education and scholarships.
  3. Improving community safety and resilience, including placements in Government and civil society organisations focused on resilience and risk reduction to assist Vanuatu to prepare for, and respond to, natural disasters and climate change.
  4. Supporting cyclone recovery and reconstruction, including placements with a focus on restoring livelihoods and supporting economic and private sector recovery.

Snapshot from volunteers in Vanuatu

Surfing breaks down barriers to inclusion in Vanuatu

Samantha Suendermann is another Australian volunteer who was inspired to create opportunities for people with disabilities with an AVID Disability Initiative Grant. Sam and her colleagues at the Vanuatu Surfing Association (VSA) used a grant to launch Surfability, one of the first targeted sporting programs for people with disabilities in Vanuatu.

Learning to surf. Credit: Darren James.
Surfability in Vanuatu. Credit: Darren James.
Samantha Suendermann at Surfability. Credit: Darren James.

"Sport has the unique ability to bring a variety of people together, and the VSA wants to champion the inclusion and integration of people with a disability into Vanuatu life, culture and everyday activities," Sam says. "This program aims to give the surfing community the chance to interact at a face level and in a safe space to break down the barriers that society and culture have imposed."

The VSA partnered with the Vanuatu Society for People with a Disability and The Rainbow Theatre to find the 25 participants of the program. The launch was held during VSA's inaugural international surfing competition, the Leimalo Surf Festival, and involved surfers from across Vanuatu travelling to Pango Village to help coach and run the event.

"Surfing is so much fun!" said Surfability participant Sergio Moses. "I wanted to surf for the whole day. It makes me so happy and I can't wait to go again! I am so grateful for this opportunity."

Participants learning to surf weren't the only ones to benefit. "This was the first time I have been able to closely work with and get to know someone with a disability," says Steve Lannie, a surfer from Pele. "I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot about myself and my new friends."

How to apply

For more information, including applicant eligibility criteria, visit the Australian Volunteers website.

Last Updated: 9 February 2018
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