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Australian Volunteers

Australian Volunteers Program

  • Coffee, clothes and democracy: supporting Timor-Leste through Trade

    How Australian volunteers are helping to boost Timor-Leste’s economy by supporting small businesses to grow and expand their markets.

  • Making connections and friendships through the Australian Volunteers Program

    Here is the story of their relationship, and how Michael’s volunteer experience also led to the development of the Tupaia.

  • Australian Volunteers with the Australian Health Security Corps committed to people-centred public health in Cambodia

    Stephanie Wheeler and Yasmin Lisson reflect upon their assignments in the Cambodian public health system.

  • Coffee, clothes and democracy: supporting Timor-Leste through Trade

  • Making connections and friendships through the Australian Volunteers Program

  • Australian Volunteers with the Australian Health Security Corps committed to people-centred public health in Cambodia

How we are helping

2022-23 budget estimate: $21.0 million

2021-22 budget estimate: $26.0 million

2020-21 expenditure: $16.2 million

The Australian Volunteers Program has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. While the opportunity for volunteers to travel has been reduced, the program has continued to contribute to the Australian Government's development cooperation program.

In 2020-21, the program:

  • supported 337 volunteer assignments, including 26 in-country roles and 311 volunteers working remotely
  • piloted new approaches to volunteering through the Innovation Fund – with a particular focus on supporting local volunteering
  • empowered volunteers to tell their stories through a range of digital platforms, encouraging a broader group of Australians to volunteer and to raise awareness of the program.

In 2019-20, the program expenditure was $36.5 million.

  • The program supported 933 volunteer assignments in 26 countries.
  • The program linked 572 organisations across our region with skilled Australian volunteers.
  • 84% of partner organisations who received help from volunteers reported good or excellent progress against their objectives.

In March and April 2020, the program repatriated 464 program participants due to COVID-19.

About the Australian Volunteers Program

The Australian Volunteers Program matches skilled Australians with organisations in partner countries to help these organisations to deliver on their own objectives. The program uses international volunteering as a people-centred approach to capacity development.

The Australian Volunteers Program is part of the Australian Government's people-to-people program portfolio, connecting Australians to Australia's development program and the region.

The Australian Volunteers Program is guided by a set of high-level principles, which underpin how we work. These principles ensure that we work in ways that:

  • value volunteering
  • support locally-led capacity strengthening
  • build strong relationships and partnerships
  • evolve best practice and embrace innovation
  • enhance diversity and inclusion
  • ensure accountability and value learning.

The Australian Volunteers Program works in 26 countries: Bhutan, Cambodia, Eswatini, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Indonesia, Laos, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

You can follow the Australian Volunteers Program on social media.

Further information on the Australian Volunteers Program can also be found on the Australian Volunteers Program website. The media and publications section of this website contains publications relating to the program.

Becoming a volunteer

While COVID-19 has impacted the ability of Australians to travel overseas, a wide range of professional skills are still needed to support the development needs of overseas partner organisations. Most assignments do require qualifications and demonstrated professional experience.

Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more about the Australian Volunteers Program and opportunities to volunteer by visiting the Australian Volunteers Program website and subscribing to receive regular assignment updates.

If you are looking to volunteer through other programs, advice is available under Smart Volunteering on our website. Thoroughly research the organisation that you plan to work with, particularly when working with children.

Advice on responsible volunteering is available on the Smartraveller website.

Partner organisations

Volunteers are placed within partner organisations and work with counterparts and colleagues to contribute to building capacity within the organisation.

Partner organisations include non-government organisations (NGOs), civil society and humanitarian organisations, government agencies, educational institutions, private sector enterprises and United Nations agencies.

By hosting an Australian volunteer, partner organisations will have access to skilled and experienced people who can meet current needs in their work plans. Volunteers can also train and mentor staff to expand the capacity of the organisation to meet its future needs. In addition to their skills and expertise, Australian volunteers are recognised for their flexibility, innovation and enthusiasm.

Australian partner organisations

Australian organisations can also get involved in the Australian Volunteers Program by linking with partner organisations overseas and providing professional support to volunteers while on assignment. Australian partner organisations include government departments, educational institutions, NGOs and private sector enterprises.
Interested in becoming a partner organisation? More information can be found by visiting  the Australian Volunteers Program website.

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