What is changing in Australian Aid's new volunteer program?

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CANBERRA — Volunteers have played an important role in Australia’s aid program since 1951, beginning with a program supporting Indonesia. Since then, more than 14,000 Australians volunteers have been through the program, providing a range of expertise and assistance to developing countries.

On Feb. 12, Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s minister for international development and the Pacific, launched a new era of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program at Parliament House in Canberra. Supported by managing contractor Australian Volunteers International, the new volunteer program will maintain its development focus linked to the strategic objectives of the Australian Aid program, but will increase the diversity of volunteers with a new inclusion strategy.

The aim is to attract a cohort of volunteers who are more representative of Australian society, and the program will have specific strategies and opportunities to target youth, people with disability, and indigenous and female Australians.

Increasing diversity aims to increase aid awareness

Speaking with Devex at the second annual Aid Supplier Conference in Canberra on Feb. 15, Fierravanti-Wells explained that the new program is a critical component of her campaign to increase Australia’s awareness of the aid program.

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About the author

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    Lisa Cornish

    Lisa Cornish is a Devex Reporter based in Canberra, where she focuses on the Australian aid community. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.