Australian volunteers for international development
26 May 2011
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today officially launched Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), a body that will now bring together under a single program, the four separate overseas volunteer programs of the Australian Government.
Mr Rudd launched the newly integrated program to an audience of more than 300 returned volunteers, volunteer organisations, Parliamentarians, diplomats and NGOs at Parliament House.
"Australians wishing to participate in Australia's overseas aid program will now have even more information and easily accessible material to help them navigate their way through what being a volunteer actually means on the ground," Mr Rudd said.
"Australian volunteers bring unique expertise and perspectives to their host countries — from setting up clinics for women to give birth safely or building stronger homes to withstand cyclones, Australian volunteers directly contribute to improving people's lives in developing countries.
"As I'm sure the 300 or so volunteers at the launch will attest, Australian volunteers return to Australia richer for the experience and add new ideas and perspectives to Australian life."
Under the new integrated program, more than 900 volunteers — the most ever — will be deployed this year to 33 countries, including to new countries such as Sri Lanka, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
This has been made possible by new funding announced in the May budget, which will allow the Government to meet its election commitment to send at least 1000 new volunteers overseas each year by 2013.
"Australian volunteers encompass the character of our country which we hold dear, a truly open-hearted society, and without it we would be a lesser people," said Mr Rudd.
Since the 1960s, the Government has supported more than 12,000 Australians to volunteer in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
For more information on Australian Volunteers for International Development visit: www.ausaid.gov.au/volunteer
- Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7500
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555
- AusAID Media: 0417 680 590