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what is AYAD? The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program aims to strengthen mutual understanding between Australia and countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa and make a positive contribution to development. The Program achieves these aims by placing skilled young Australian (18-30) on shortterm assignments in developing countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. AYAD volunteers work with local counterparts in Host Organisations to achieve sustainable development outcomes through capacity building, skills exchange and institutional strengthening.

The AYAD Program provides support to AYADs including living and accommodation allowances, flights, pre-departure training, incountry management, insurance, medicals and debrief on return. The AYAD Program is an Australian Government, AusAID initiative and is fully funded by the Australian Government’s overseas aid agency, AusAID. AYAD is managed by Austraining International, a South Australian international project management company.

There have been some very exciting

Of course another important dimension of the Program is the

developments in the AYAD Program over

opportunity is provides young Australians to grown personally

the past few months. Last edition we

and professionally. The articles this month highlight many stories

welcomed Ghana on board as our first

of personal growth and discovery. I was inspired by the story of

African country. In May our first Youth

Stewart Spencer in the Philippines, who talks of how he always

Ambassadors departed for Ghana.

wanted to be an AYAD from age 17, and the work he did to get

Working in Accra and Tamale, the four

there 5 years later. The learning and capacity development that

AYADs are still undoubtedly finding their

happen through the AYAD Program is definitely a two way street.

feet, but with the help of our In Country Manager Akwasi, I am looking forward to hearing their tales soon.

One of the privileges of working with the AYAD Program is being

I am pleased to now announce that we have now extended the

able to meet people and hear their amazing stories. In saying that,

Program further into Kenya, with the first lucky group of AYADs due

I hope you enjoy the snap shot we have put together for you in this

to be deployed there this July


In April I was lucky enough to travel through Asia and managed

Anthony Rologas

to visit to AYADs and Host Organisations in China and Mongolia.

AYAD Program Director

Whilst there, I caught up with AYAD, Jenelle Whittaker and her

Austraining International

supervisor Wang Xiao Yan in Beijing. As Jenelle describes in her article, The China Community Alliance plays such an important role in supporting the elderly in Beijing, but also; Jenelle and Wang spoke to me about the work the Alliance undertook after the devastating Sichuan Earthquakes. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Wang Xiao Yan and hearing her speak passionately about the positive contribution the AYAD Program was making to the China Community Alliance and their work.


Exchange June - September, 2010 Editor

Julia Mann

Sub Editor

Erin Green & Alice McCormack


Danny Connery

Agency of New Design

4 AYAD Welcomes KENYA


6 Down on the Farm

Jacob Cawthorne Alice Duzevich Jane Henty

8 Challenges by Candlelight

Shan Huang

10 Access All Areas

Maria Karagiozaki

Sarah Murfett

14 AYAD Gallery

16 Food. Glorious Food.

18 Keep on Walking

Photo credits:

20 Rugby: It’s More than a Sport 24 Standing Up for the Elderly in China 26 Shooting Goals in Vanuatu 28 Small Pebbles 30 Australian Partner Organisations 31 Calendar Cover: Stewart Spencer helping out to harvest the organic rice at the Gelacio I Yason - Foundation Family Farm School. To read more about Stewart’s work at the (GIYF-FFS) see page 6. Left: The AYAD Program plans to work in Kenya in 2010, for more information about Kenya, see page 4.

Stewart Spencer Janelle Whittaker Will Wrathall

AYAD Welcomes KENYA -

Down on the Farm - Stewart Spencer

Challenges by Candlelight - Shan Huang

Access All Areas - Maria Karagiozaki

Food. Glorious Food. - Alice Duzevich

Keep on Walking - Jane Henty

Rugby in Laos - Jacob Cawthorne

Standing Up for the Elderly - Janelle Whittaker

Vanuatu Netball - Sarah Murfett

Small Pebbles - Will Wrathall

Exchange Magazine welcomes submissions from AYADs and alumni (RAYADs), Host Organisations and Australian Partner Organisations. Please contact the AYAD Marketing Manager, Julia Mann at for further information.

Exchange is printed on recycled paper.

Full Name: The Republic of Kenya

In the last edition of Exchange Magazine we welcomed a new region, Africa, to the AYAD fold, and introduced Ghana as the first country in Africa where AYADs will be mobilising. The AYAD Program is excited to announce that AYADs will also be undertaking assignments in Kenya in 2010, and to celebrate we’d like to welcome our Kenyan In-Country Management Team and share some of our Host Organisations with you.

Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania Area: total: 580,367 sq km Population: 39,002,772 Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages Capital: Nairobi GDP Growth: 1.8% Exports (commodities): tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement

A pocket history on Kenya:

Development Needs in Kenya:

Our ICM Team:

Kenya has been described as the ‘cradle of humanity.’ Kenya has long been a melting pot of groups of many cultures and languages as a result of migration which dates back as early as 2000 BC. Archaeologists have found some of the world’s earliest remains of human beings, with skulls dating over two million years found in the Great Rift Valley.

The life expectancy at birth is 51 years (compared with 81.3 years in Australia)

The AYAD In Country Management in Kenya will be managed by the Centre for African Family Studies (CAFS), in Nairobi.

For 400 years, from 16th century and the colonisation of Kenya by the Portuguese until the 1960’s when Britain granted Kenya independence from British rule, Kenya was occupied and colonised by countries from Europe.

Kenya ranks at 147 (out of 182) on the human development index (Human Development Report 2009 UNDP) Mortality rate of children under five years (per 1000 births) 121 Literacy rates (Kenyans over the age of 15 able to read and write): of the total population 85.1% (90.6% Male, 79.9% Female)

Jomo Kenyatta became the founding President of the newly independent Kenya in 1963 and Kenya has been an independent nation ever since.

The percentage of people living with HIV AIDS aged 15-49 in Kenya is 4.9%

In December 2007, elections were held and, after a political crisis, Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister of Kenya in a power-sharing deal with President Mwai Kibaki.

Kenya is one of the 10 African countries to be the most affected by the AIDS virus (13% of the population). Kenya is still registering an average of 700 AIDS-related deaths a day. Kenya has a refugee population of 180,000, mainly from the Sudan and Somalia. In Kenya, there are 790.1 thousand migrants which represent 2.2% of the total population

The Centre for African Family Studies is the leading provider of training and technical assistance in health and development to organisations and individuals for the well being of African families in Kenya. It was founded in 1975 and since then the organisation has become a vital regional training and technical assistance resource supporting development partner interventions towards African development. For over 32 years, CAFS has been promoting and supporting human, programme and organisational capacity building and methodologies to aid interventions for African development especially in the health sector with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and more recently HIV/AIDS. Rhonda Lewa will head the team as In-Country Manager to ensure the AYADs in Kenya are well supported whilst on assignment.

BecA - Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa

of a few of the amazing organisations we’ll be partnering with in Kenya:

BecA works to enable African scientists and institutions to become significant technological innovators and users. The overarching goal is to support eastern and central African countries to develop and apply bioscience research expertise to produce technologies that help poor farmers to secure their livelihoods, improve their productivity and income and increase their market opportunities. BecA aims to mobilise biosciences as a pathway out of poverty and an opportunity for Africa’s development.

AMREF - African Medical and Research Foundation

Handicap International

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

In 1957 the Flying Doctors Service of East Africa was established by three surgeons. Since then AMREF has worked to become one of the leading health development and research organisations in the region. AMREF implements programs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and South Africa, and the main headquarters of the organisation are in Nairobi, Kenya. The organisation also provides training and support and works in another 30 African countries.

Handicap International is an international nongovernmental organisation which works to improve the quality of life of disabled people in the developing world and in post-conflict zones. Handicap International works in over 55 countries worldwide to provide emergency relief in times of disasters and conflict as well as longer term development support.

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organisations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

The AYAD Program will be working with a number of new host organisations when AYADs are mobilised in Kenya. These organisations focus on a diverse range of sectors including health, research and agriculture. So here’s a taster

Based on the belief that health is a basic human right, AMREF seeks to empower communities to take control of their health and to establish a vibrant and participatory health care system made up of communities, health workers and governments. AMREF implements projects to learn, and shares this evidence-based knowledge with others to advocate for changes in health policy and practice. The organisation focuses on ways to fight disease and create healthy communities by training health workers and strengthening health systems in Africa. AMREF also work in advocacy and research.

In Kenya, Handicap International works in disability, health and the prevention of diseases and income generating activities. Current Handicap International projects in Kenya include: •Implementation of activities for coordinating stakeholders in the disability field at a national level •Carrying out a study on the accessibility of AIDS screening, counselling and prevention services for people with disabilities •Training of community relay staff to facilitate home care for people living with AIDS •Technical and financial support for implementing income-generating activities for affected and infected people

IUCN was founded in 1948, and was the world’s first global environmental organisation. The organisation is today the largest professional global conservation network and is a leading authority on the environment and sustainable development. IUCN is working in Kenya with the mission to influence, encourage and assist communities to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.


7 AYAD Stewart Spencer is living in the friendly Philippines

I jumped at the chance. It was an easy decision. After doing some

participation program. My role as Communications Officer is to work

working as a Communications Officer at the Gelacio I. Yason

research into the Philippines I soon realised the amazing potential it

with the local staff to develop a communication plan and materials for

Foundation – Family Farm School (GIYF-FFS). Read on as Stew

has as a travel destination (given my interest in ecotourism and my

the Environmental Education Centre. Together we aim to get more

shares his experiences and insights on living a volunteer’s life in

love of surfing!). English is widely spoken, there is amazing surf, the

students into the school and more funding and resources for both the

the Philippines.

people are known to be the friendliest in the world and there are hardly

school and the centre.

any foreign tourists with plenty of off the beaten track adventures to be Since age 17 it was my goal to become an AYAD. Volunteering has

had. Now that I’m living here, I’ve discovered just how much I love the

I was a nervous when I arrived. I had to make it very clear to my

been a big part of my life ever since I spent a semester studying,

Philippines, its people and the beautiful countryside.

supervisor that I had little experience with communications work but lots of skills in environmental science. Because of this honesty and

working and volunteering in Costa Rica and Guatemala during my degree. Living with a host family with no electricity, I was fully

I live and work at the Gelacio I. Yason Foundation Family Farm School

my willingness to learn and adapt, we have established a strong

exposed to life in a developing community and I think this experience

(GIYF-FFS), my Host Organisation, which is in the very small Barangay

working relationship where we develop ideas and the direction of my

really affected me in a positive way. After finishing University I kept

of San Mariano in the Philippines. This rice paddy and farming country

assignment together. We are both learning about best practice of

volunteering and exploring different cultures and countries. In 2009

is a one street town with a few shops, a few churches and a few

communications and the benefits it can produce if done correctly and

I applied to the Program and my ambition was realised when I was

elementary (primary) and secondary schools. That’s the thing about



the Philippines, even the smallest towns have a population big enough to support three or four primary and secondary schools.

The production of a communications plan proved to be a very complex process. Together we identified our target audiences, developed key

Originally I didn’t plan to come to the Philippines, I actually applied for an Ecotourism assignment in Vietnam, but when I was offered

GIYF-FFS is a private, non profit alternative secondary school

messages and implemented a socio/economic survey for the families

the opportunity to take up this assignment in the Philippines instead,

working to alleviate poverty through an education and community

the school serves. This survey proved powerful, painting a clear

The combination of interesting work, great counterparts and amazing countryside means that I strongly recommend volunteering in the Philippines. Everyone here loves it. The people are the country’s biggest asset, they are so friendly and happy and warm that you can’t help but absorb it all.

picture to our support network of whom the school is serving and how

My role during these family visits is to work with the teachers and

the school is helping.

interview families to gain socio/economic information and document success stories. I have been filming these interviews and plan to

Now we have gathered information from interviews and surveys we

produce a short promotional video for the school. These family visits

are ready to share this with the world and hopefully gain more support.

really allow me to get into the heart of the communities and experience

We have printed our maiden issue of DEVCARE, the schools first

life from a rural Filipino farming families perspective.

newsletter, and we are currently planning the content for our website. We then plan to produce a brochure, video, e-newsletter, email and

But it’s not all about work! When my Dad visited we went on a one-

facebook campaigns, another newsletter printed in Tagalog for the

week surf trip to South East Samar and stayed at ABCD beach on

local community, PowerPoint presentation and continue with funding

Calicoan Island. We were able to surf every day and ended up finding


some amazing waves. We stayed in a hut right in front of the surf with cooking facilities so we were able to just stay there and cook for

I think that my best memories so far have to be my experiences during

ourselves and surf every day. It was paradise for me for sure.

family visits. GIYF-FFS is an alternative school with three-week cycles – two weeks at school and one week at home, during which teachers

Probably one of the hardest things about living in the Philippines for

visit each student and their families. Whilst on home visits, teachers

me is being away from my girlfriend Courtney. There are many other

would assist students in implementing sustainable farming techniques

challenges that living in a rural, developing community present on a

learnt from the school, help with developing Family Enterprise Projects

daily basis but I find these challenges so rewarding to live through and

(FEP’s) which assist with family income and, most importantly, they get

only add to the overall experience. Being away from Courtney for so

to know personally the life situation of the student.

long is a different kind of challenge and some days I really struggle to think straight.

But overall my whole experience has been amazing and I am very happy with my assignment, my Host Organisation and my location. This opportunity to experience a different lifestyle and culture would be very difficult to achieve without volunteering and I feel very fortunate to have been granted this opportunity with the AYAD program. For more information: Gelacio I. Yason Foundation – Family Farm School (GIYF-FFS)

Previous Page – Stewart crossing the longest Bridge in Mindoro, Philippines during a family visit trip. Far Left - An Indigenous Mangyan student hiking home into the mountains for her one week home stay. Left - Proud fourth year students during their graduation ceremony. This is the last group of an all boys year level. Above - A fourth year student has an emotional moment with his mother and younger sister during his graduation ceremony.


Challenges by candelightStory by Shan Huang The first time I’d heard of Nepal was

Kathmandu is currently experiencing

during my unfortunate teenie-bopper

12 hour power cuts each day (six hours

years when I was madly in love with

during the day, and six hours at night). At

Prince William after Princess Diana had

my government office, we do not have a

died. Apparently the media thought he

generator, which means I am sometimes

was a flight risk and claimed that he

assisting my counterparts with a document

would happily go trekking in Nepal and

on a computer that has the possibility to

never to return for his royal duties. True

shut down in the middle of a task. Before


we losing too many documents to the ‘load-shedding effect’, I have now learnt

I don’t think that my 13-year old self would

to memorise the power outage schedule

ever have imagined another 13 years later, I

(which changes every few weeks/months)

would be living and working in Nepal.

prophylactically. I feel that I know fully appreciate the power of having power (of

I am a Micronutrient Officer at the Nutrition

the electrical variety).

Section, Child Health Division of the Department of Health Services at the

Nepali is not a hard language to learn if

Nepal Ministry of Health My assignment

you think of it as speaking “Yoda”. For

here is to assist my counterparts to

example, ‘My name is Shan’ becomes ‘My

successfully pilot a program using little

name Shan is’. Having only had no more

sachets of Micronutrient Powder that fortify

than five Nepali lessons before I started my

the food consumed by children between

assignment, I had learnt only a few common

6 – 24 months. My division is the leading

phrases. However, this did not mean that

government agency for child health and

when I was assigned to go on a field trip

in doing this program with partners like

fourth day on the job, that I had a clue on

UNICEF and AusAID, it hopes to reduce the

what was going on or that I could be the

prevalence of anaemia amongst under 2’s.

token ‘government representative’ to the villagers I met. You’ll be relieved to know

Having lived in China until I was eight, I

that my Nepali has dramatically improved

thought that living (and working) in Nepal

since those initial weeks, by default, and

would be no harder than living in China

meetings attended in Nepali are now

in the 1980’s. Though life isn’t technically

somewhat, much better understood.

‘harder’ it is definitely challenging in all sense of the word – particularly the

God bless the Nepali people. Truly. Nepal

environment, the language, and the

has some of the most diverse people

occasional power outage...

groups of any country of its size. Over 100

ethnic languages are spoken and just as many

frankly, being at the Child Health Division

ethnicities - each with their own culture and

makes me feel more important than I actually

practices. This makes work more challenging

am. So despite the lack of electricity, being

because a program that is accepted by the

thrown into some fieldwork your first week on

people is a successful program. As such,

the job, or even the aspiration to look more

the program values and methods must show

like my ‘uncle’ the Dalai Lama, progress on

an understanding of the various cultures it

development projects, like mine, is being

hopes to benefit. This is why field testing our

made. For me, I have learnt skills I would not

educational materials is so important because

have learnt anywhere else and shared a few

mothers will interpret a picture of a chubby

along the way.

baby differently whether they are from the Terai region or the Hilly region. (We actually

Nepal is a stunning country, the only country

had to further fatten up this baby we drew

whereby the altitude between the Terai (flat)

because mothers from both regions thought

region and the Himal (mountain) region differs

he wasn’t fat enough – had we used the

more than 8000m. So while some challenges

same baby in Australia, it might have been

here seem of varying ‘altitude’, I look forward

considered overweight or obese!) Luckily,

to accomplishing something tangible for Nepal

I myself fit into the Lama ethnic group. My

in the final six months of my assignment, even

Chinese heritage has given me a small

if it means by candlelight, which I like to think

advantage here and the locals have named me

of as a nice bit of ambiance.

‘Shanti Lama’ (Shanti, meaning peace). While I Above: Taken by S. Shrestha,

had never thought of myself as been remotely

APO -University of Queensland, School of

field trip to Rupendehi

related to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I guess

Population Health -

it couldn’t hurt to work on my tan a little and

(birthplace of Lord Buddha), Central Terai Region (10 hrs drive from Kathmandu).

feel like I could to be related him on some level.

Above Right: Taken by S. Huang, Ama Dablam mountain en route to Everest Base Camp,

Sometimes working as a foreigner in a

Solukhumbu Himal Region.

developing country can make you feel like you give more than you receive. However, having

Below right: Taken by N. Adhikari, mother’s group meeting

done six of my 12 months assignment here,

in Syangia, Central Hilly Region

I feel like I have received just as much. It is

(7 hrs drive from Kathmandu).

a privilege to be based in the government. It is the central hub where all programs meet because, evidently, the most successful ones elicit strong government support. And


Access All Areas thousands, if not millions more people with disability in our region who have been overlooked in those figures. Maria spent twelve months working as a Regional Project Coordinator with Disabled Peoples’ International - Asia Pacific (DPI/AP), the regional office of a Canadian international non-governmental organization, based in Bangkok. DPI also has regional offices in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and an office in the Middle East under development. DPI/AP promotes equal opportunity and anti-discrimination for people with disability. The organisation manages regional projects aimed at increasing the economic and social participation of people with disability, and developing and supporting disabled people’s organizations. People with disability are the largest and most marginalized minority group in the world. The AYAD Program places volunteers with organisations addressing the unique issues and barriers facing people with a disability across the Asia Pacific region. Here Maria Karagiozaki, an AYAD based in Thailand, shares her experiences focusing on disability and development in the region.

Working in Bangkok alongside people with disability, particularly with wheelchair users, it became increasingly clear for Maria that the barriers facing people with disability today are embedded more in social structures and attitudes than in the impairment of the individual.

The United Nations estimates that people with disability comprise 10 per cent of the world’s population. Of the approximately 650 million people with disability worldwide, around 80 per cent are living in developing countries, where having a disability can mean no access to education or healthcare and - in some cases – exclusion from the community and wider world.

In rural Thailand and Laos, where Maria visited on a field mission, people with disability are denied access to identity cards, making it extremely difficult to basic services such as health care and education. Many children with physical disability do not attend school due to a lack of accessible facilities or because teachers are not equipped to teach children with disability. Some parents cannot afford wheelchairs and Maria would often see children with polio drag themselves across a classroom to greet her and her colleagues while she was out on field missions.

Statistics from The World Bank suggest that two thirds of the people with disability worldwide – roughly 400 million people – live in the AsiaPacific region, which spans from Pakistan in the far West to Papua New Guinea in the Pacific. Yet the data collectors often can’t canvass rural areas with their clipboards, meaning there are undoubtedly

While exploring the many sides to Bangkok and the culture and cuisine that it has to offer Maria was conscious that people with disability living in Thai society miss out on much of this adventure. Maria describes Bangkok as a city where traditional values live alongside an energetic and modernized metropolis. Yet it is also a

largely inaccessible city with paralysing social attitudes, which can exclude people with disability from the social, economic and cultural spheres of Thai society. The situation is not limited to Thailand. All around the world people with disability face unique barriers to education and employment. Prior to her time as an AYAD, Maria lived for a short time in rural East Java where she met children with disability who are being hidden from society - literally. They do not attend school and are rarely seen during the day. The stigma of disability in these rural communities is overwhelming. It impacts the daily lives and development of children with disability. As an AYAD. Maria was involved in a range of projects creating positive change in the lives of people with disability, including coordinating a regional meeting for the establishment of a Disability Tribunal in the Asia-Pacific, which has gained the support of the United Nations. However, there is still much work to be done. In 2008 Australia launched Development For All: a disability strategy for the overseas aid program to address the unique barriers faced by, and to promote the rights of, people with disability in developing countries. The strategy was developed in consultation with people with disability and disabled peoples’ organisations around the world, including DPI-AP. Maria believes that supporting AYAD and their Host Organisations is vital for the advancement of human rights in the region and, as a direct result of this, the peace and security of the Asia Pacific. Buoyed by her experiences on assignment across the region, she returns to Australia with a strong passion to continue in the field of human rights, specifically in anti-discrimination and equal opportunity for the people of world. For more information: Disabled Peoples International Asia-Pacific


Welcome to the AYAD Photo Gallery, a chance for AYADs and alumni (RAYADs) to share photos of their experiences in-country. Want to share your photo? Simply email the photo with a caption to By submitting your photos to the AYAD Program you are giving consent for these images to be used for promotional purposes by the AYAD Program (including website, promotional materials and Exchange) so don’t forget to get consent from the people in the photos. From top to bottom, left to right: A boat floats down the Mekong River in Cambodia - © AYAD/ Photo: Dean Saffron A street corner hairdresser in Bangladesh - © AYAD/ Photo: Dean Saffron During orientation in Laos AYADs visit local villages and learn traditional silk dyeing techniques - © AYAD/Photo: Bart Verwey Children studying at the Sengkanaung Resource Centre, Indonesia - Photo: Will Wrathall Streets of Popua, Nukalofa, Tonga - © Photo: Leeanne Torpey A street corner hairdresser in Bangladesh - © AYAD/ Photo: Dean Saffron A Cambodian boy carries a load of lotus to sell at the markets in Phenom Pehn. - © Photo: AusAID Sunset in Boracay, Philippines - © Photo: Dan Skehan Children in Tonga at the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children billboard launch. - © Photo: Leeanne Torpey AYAD Bronwen Seal in meeting at UNICEF in Laos - © AYAD/Photo: Bart Verwey Elephants in Laos - © Photo: Paul Wager Returned AYADs engaging in activities to start the day at Debrief. - Photo by Rebecca O’Dell Examining rice grains in Laos - © AYAD/Photo: Bart Verwey

5 9

Food, community and collaboration are at the heart of AYAD Alice Duzevich’s experience in the Kingdom of Tonga. Find out how she turned her passion for food into a community drive for good health and nutrition. Food has always been my passion and so I was really excited to hear that my role as a Community Development Officer within the Women’s Division of the Tongan MAFFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Food) would undoubtedly involve cooking. The recent merger of the Women and Food divisions and the fact that my office was next door to a (once fully operational) cooking training centre made cooking a given for my time in Tonga. My AYAD assignment was to work interactively with staff and village women and conduct a Participatory Rural Assessment covering a broad range of topics including family, living expenditures, family eating habits, health, daily activities and interests. In theory, this was, to gain information to identify areas that the government could help to improve the livelihoods of women and their families in rural and urban communities. The ironic thing was that there was very minimal funding allocated to the Women and Food Division of MAFFF and therefore any suggested projects weren’t likely to have much of a budget for implementation. Nevertheless we got the PRA underway and very early on in the appraisal it was clear that all the women shared a desire to develop skills and knowledge of cooking and to learn new ways to prepare food. This was further affirmed by the avid interest that my colleagues showed in the baked goods (more often than not banana) that I’d bring into work every other day.

In-house cooking sessions with the staff became a regular activity and, although my vegetarianism was still sniggered at even by the end of my year (they had never heard of such a thing when I first told them), I began to slowly integrate more and more vegetables into the dishes we cooked, without my colleagues turning up their noses.

achieve the Tongan ‘taste’. This was much more difficult than it might sound. The diversity and affordability of produce in Australia is very different from the reality in Tonga. All packaged and processed foods (including spices and seasonings) are

Nutrition remains an ongoing and escalating concern in Tonga where non-communicable or ‘lifestyle’ related diseases are increasing to epidemic proportions with dramatic increases and prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and obesity within the community in the last 20 years. Health issues in Tonga are a result of complex range of economic, social and cultural factors. One major contributing factors is globalisation. The consumption of inexpensive, high calorie, fatty foods and low nutritional value foods has increased dramatically over the last four decades, at the expense of traditional diets. There is a lack of awareness and education about food, health and nutrition, resulting in there being little motivation to change the situation. The elevated incidence of these health concerns has lead to a collective move within government to address these issues. So with all this in mind, my project morphed mid-term into the creation of the Tongan Community Cooking Initiative. I have always been very inquisitive and adventurous in the kitchen and recipe creation is a favourite hobby of mine. I began writing and adapting 150 odd recipes to meet the specific requirements of the Tongan community. Each recipe has been developed with consideration of family sizes, good nutrition, the range of accessible and affordable ingredients in Tonga, and a need to

imported into Tonga and are too expensive for the majority of Tongan families. So, for the most part, they couldn’t be included in the recipes. Meat is extremely important in the Tongan diet but is usually of very poor quality and therefore it was also important to demonstrate healthy ways of preparing meat. For demonstrative purposes, the recipes were collated into 45 ‘mini-menus’ which each included 3 healthy dishes across a range of food groups. The idea was that interested women’s groups were able to choose the demonstration that they would like to

participate in, based on their tastes and their own produce availability. They were required to provide the necessary produce and ingredients for the demonstration, which not only meant they were contributing to the sustainability of the initiative but also encouraged participation and ownership of the demonstration.

to acknowledge the joint accountability of the two ministries in this specific field, but also to build stronger communication channels and networks between the two ministries ensuring that all future health related information and promotion would be disseminated more consistently and effectively.

Australian High Commission. I was overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm that we received from the wider community. The New Zealand High Commission generously contributed TOP$7,200 to fund the initial cooking resources required for the project and this money allowed us to really set up the project with enough kitchen equipment and supplies to operate in full swing. The Soroptimists, a professional women’s fundraising group from within Australia, were also supportive and have tabled the initiative as a major project focus for 2010. The vocal, active and financial encouragement coming from all angles clearly demonstrated the positive response to key aspects of the program and assisted in establishing the solid foundations for further support and funding.

should be, nutrition might be the message but the cooking was just plain fun. Attitudes and approaches to food are not easy things to change in any individual, let alone an entire culture! And it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. My philosophy is just to lead by example, to demonstrate enthusiastically, and to create an interactive, non-threatening environment for people learn new skills and taste some delicious food along the way. Far Left : L-R Clockwise Alice’s counterparts Siosi, Viniola, Manu and Alice wearing the Women and Food Divisions Uniforms Top Middle : Staff of Women and Food Division, the Health Promotion Unit and a group of community women after a demonstration Bottom Middle : showing off the ‘fruits’ of one of the TV recorded demonstrations

Sadly, it was just as the project had really started to gain momentum that my year in Tonga was coming to an end. The program has received overwhelming support from staff, participants, community members, sponsors and donors.

The draft recipes, and the demonstration delivery method, were critiqued by staff and community groups during the recipe trialling period, which also doubled as practical training for staff. Two other AYAD’s, Liza Wallis and Michelle Nunn as well as VIDA Bron Hall were all working within the Health Promotion Unit in the Ministry of Health, and so it was the perfect situation for us all to combine forces, enthusiasm and expertise and work together. The idea of this project being a collaborative effort between MOH and MAFFF was not only

The minimal budget was a major hurdle. The training centre had 7 ‘cooking stations’, but these were just shells, stripped bare of all kitchen equipment. In order to raise some funds to get the project up and going, I endeavoured to tap into the local expatriate community. I sent out the project proposal and a request for donations of food and kitchen supplies – and we received a great response. We made some money selling potted herbs and seedlings to the wider community and we also held a number of small fundraising initiatives including catering at a number of the monthly Sundowner functions held at the

Demonstrations were being recorded and broadcast on the TV and demand for the cooking sessions continued to grow as wordof-mouth spread throughout the community. Everyone was having a lot of fun and there was enthusiasm and motivation in the air that I had never seen before in Tonga! It was very sad to walk away from it at the point I did, but at least I left feeling confident that there were sufficient resources and experienced staff with the skills to continue the initiative themselves. This project was certainly not about moving mountains, in my mind it was just about peeling bananas and that’s exactly how it

Left : Manu preparing a healthy workshop lunch


Left - Gary, Youth Champs president, after completing a presentation at the Kings Hibiscus Festival Competition

While on assignment in Fiji, Jane Henty is

and succeed, and to help other youth achieve their

mental health messages to more people in the Fijian

looking forward to having volunteer allowances to help

learning that tackling mental health requires a

goals. As one Champ concluded, “A benefit I know of,

community. My host organisation is Partners in

with their activities and their first paid employee has

passion for survival and perseverance and, in her

that I will survive”.

Community Development (PCDF), who support the

commenced work.

Youth Champs.

case, overcoming stage fright.. Here Jane shares

Other projects have been started including the office

the story of her first six months as an AYAD in

The Youth Champs for Mental Health (or Champs for

Suva, and the creativity and determination of a

short) started 18 months ago when youth leaders in

My first few months in Fiji were spent getting to

becoming a ‘safe space’ for youth to ‘talanoa’ (which

young group of local champions.

Fiji decided to take a stand against the appallingly

know the Champs, learning their anthem ‘Keep on

means talk in Fijian) and a support group for youth

high rates of suicide in their country. They combined

Walking’ and getting over my stage fright. In particular,

has been initiated. The support group commenced at

Sheltering from the first cyclone of the season at my

their expertise, passion for mental health and care for

I wondered what ‘capacity building’ really meant and

a planning camp situated on an idyllic beach amongst

home in Suva, Fiji, I started reading The Memory

one another to form Youth Champs for Mental Health.

how I was meant to go about it, when clearly the

palm trees. Marketing is also taking off, with the

Champs were a lot more creatively talented than I am.

creation of an electronic newsletter and a website is in the making.

Book. Hearing the wind whipping around the house and watching the rain going horizontal past my

Suicide is the most prevalent cause of death for

I can’t sing a note in tune and I don’t have a creative

window I finally understood, six months into my

young people in Fiji. It is more common than fatal

gene in my body.

assignment, why the youth group (Youth Champs for

traffic accidents. The Champs have worked to bring

Mental Health) has so much passion for mental health

light to this dark and taboo issue. The Champs

The next few months were spent worrying that I

the Champs. Many previously unemployed members


dance, sing and act in order to teach the community

wouldn’t make a difference or achieve any of my

have received full time work, partly as a consequence

how to look after their mental health and keep their

objectives. Then things started to speed up and come

of the volunteering experience they have gained from

My flat mates entertained themselves by filming the

minds healthy. When I arrived six months ago, they

together. Small grants started trickling in and the

the Champs.

cyclone and playing games, while I instead read the

were unfunded and relied on donations, their own

famous kindness of the people of Fiji helped us along

personal accounts the youth group members had

money and the generosity of others to provide these

the way.

written in The Memory Book. Their personal accounts

innovative activities.

A common theme was of determination to persevere

During the next six months of my placement I will be aiding the Champs to implement their funded projects

The Champs moved into our first office that PCDF

and support the new employee to be independent

My role as the Communications and Advocacy

kindly gave us for a very small amount of rent and we

in their work. And of course, we will be continuing to

Support Officer is to aid the Champs to strengthen

furnished it with a small grant from AusAID. A large

have fun celebrating mental health, supporting one

and build their group so that they can spread their

grant was then approved and the Champs are now

another and performing songs and dances around Fiji.

documented themes about guilt, pain, sexuality, suicide, struggles, school and family issues.

External benefits have also been a consequence of

Left - Jane with the Champs during a training and planning camp.

I’m now at the half way point in my placement and I’m not sure who is learning more in this placement, me or the Champs! I have learnt that a local counterpart can often succeed where external volunteers like myself struggle. The new Champ employee recruited five new volunteers in her first three days of work through her networks and friends. The Champs’ positive attitude and determination, and seeing the changes that have happened over the past seven months has empowered me to realise that I am capable of doing anything with my life if I set my mind to it. Living in Fiji has also impacted on my life in many different ways. From everyday things, such as appreciating organic food and fresh tropical fruit, to larger aspects of life including wanting to continue volunteering and capacity building. I’m not ready to return to Australia yet! For more information: Partners in Community Development, Fiji (PCDF)


RUGBY: it’s more than a sport Rugby in Laos, the idea seemed contradictory

was a lot of sporting talent here at Veun Kham. The

appeal in its unique ability to cater for players of all

At the LRF we seldom back down from a challenge.

to me at first. When offered the opportunity to

tackle pads came out next, and all I had been told of

shapes and sizes, sexes, ages and backgrounds and

When the opportunity to work in partnership with the

work with the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) I was

Lao people being ‘gentle people’ was dashed as I took

this grass-roots appeal is clearly evident in the schools

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at

under the impression that sport as a medium

one crunching tackle after another. After the session,

and community centres the LRF works in. The sport

a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre in Vientiane

for development was supplementary, at best. I

as we rode back to the office, I pondered (bruised!)

also supports ideals such as respect, teamwork and

arose, the LRF staff threw their full support behind it.

figured at least I was in for a good time. The later

whether the boys hit that hard as well.

commitment alongside the opportunity to develop

There are roughly 2,000 young addicts who are treated

friendships with people from all corners of the globe

annually for drug addiction in the centre, predominantly

Laos has a population of approximately six million

and from all walks of life. As part of the International

for methamphetamine use. During the drug treatment

people with over 40% under the age of 14, and it

Rugby Board (IRB) and Asian Rugby Football Union’s

and rehabilitation process, it is very important to

My introduction to the LRF’s activities was an afternoon

does not look like this demographic will change soon.

(ARFU) drive to promote rugby for women, the LRF

increase the psychological and physical well-being

spent at Veun Kham, a school 25 kilometres outside

Hence, there are around three million children facing

hosted a women’s development camp. During the

of patients. Without a healthy physical and mental

Vientiane, which had recently registered to participate in

an under-developed education system, little in the

camp, teams from Thailand, Laos and Iran attended

state, it is very unlikely that either their drug withdrawal

the LRF’s Schools Development Project. The project is

way of extracurricular activities and few employment

training sessions and coaching clinics provided by

or rehabilitation and re-integration will be successful.

aimed at running structured physical education classes

opportunities. Most likely, some degree of subsistence

rugby development officers from Hong Kong and

Patients withdrawing from methamphetamine use often

based around the sport of rugby in schools throughout

farming will be needed to supplement their income.

played in a tournament. Despite language barriers,

develop problems with sleeping and carry feelings of

greater Vientiane and beyond, further providing

With few prospects, the lure of alcohol, tobacco and

the players from all countries trained well together and

aggression, anger and sadness with them. These

students the opportunity to attend evening and

other drugs, particularly methamphetamines, is strong,

developed strong friendships, so much so that the

feelings are among the most critical contributing factors

weekend community sessions where they represent

with some INGOs anticipating a crisis in the near

Iranian and Lao women’s national teams were each

to relapse and need to be addressed in a positive

their school, play in mixed sides and even meet and

future. Opportunities for participation in sport and

other’s biggest supporters when the teams met at

way. Rugby is unique in that it blends both physical

play with some of the senior players.

physical education in schools and other institutions

the IRB Women’s Sevens Tournament in Thailand the

contact and teamwork, whilst retaining a strong

are inadequate due to a lack of proper facilities,

following year. A closure at Bangkok airport prolonged

sense of fair play and respect for your opponent. The

As I rode through the school gate alongside two of our

limited teacher capacity and a limited understanding

the Iranian team’s stay in Laos, which they took as an

LRF, encouraged by similar programmes elsewhere,

Rugby Development Officers (RDOs), I quickly learnt

of the value of sport and physical education in healthy

opportunity to accompany the LRF’s women RDOs to

proposed to develop a new programme that would help

how popular rugby was becoming; we were greeted

development and as a tool to improve child and youth

several school sessions. The Iranian players expressed

patients to manage their stress levels and emotions

by over fifty students. Apart from being in the middle

wellbeing. In addition, when opportunities are available

how happy they were to share their experiences in

better, develop self confidence and get back to normal

of nowhere, I was surprised to see almost half the

they are generally limited to the most athletic in a small

rugby with these kids and how proud they were to be

sleeping patterns.

students were girls and soon found they were even

number of sports.

representing their country in such a way. Our girls ran

proved true, but the former was shown to be a great underestimation.

some great sessions, showing strong leadership and

The program for the centre required new coaching

warm-up drills right away, and after catching a few

A central tenet of the LRF is to bring rugby to as many

commitment to nurturing their sport among women

methods and activities to suit the specific needs of the

stunning passes from several students who barely

people as possible. Although often deemed an elitist-


participants. A suitable candidate was close at hand.

came up passed my waist it became evident that there

sport in other countries, rugby has true grass-roots

more tenacious than the boys. We launched into the

One of our RDOs had a brother staying at the centre


RUGBY: it’s more than a sport as well as a wealth of experience working alongside

major international club tournament, with some already

easy going – there was to be no more flat ground. On

our Rugby Development Manager with kids from a

claiming future national squad selection.

the third day we ascended the final mountain over a

centre for disadvantaged and marginalised youths.

gruelling 5 hours in over 30 degree heat, and it became

With an understanding of the issues and a strong

The LRF is registered as an official sporting federation

clear that we would finish the run in only three days.

desire to bring the benefits rugby can offer to people

with the Lao National Sports Committee (NSC), and

Teamwork and camaraderie got us to Luang Prabang.

like her brother, our RDO quickly took charge of the

is a member and associate member of the ARFU

We had pushed ourselves to exhaustion and the

programme from design to implementation. This was

and IRB respectively. As the federation of a minor

statistics proved it. Our two sixteen year old runners,

a wonderful achievement for a girl not long out of high

sport in Laos our funding comes predominantly from

from the newly formed junior women’s team, had

school and an opportunity that few of her age would

external sources. Sport in general is underfunded in

clocked over 34 kilometres each (though to be honest

ever find themselves in. I was very proud to support

Laos, despite widespread passion for playing it, and

they looked in better shape than everyone else). Most

her in this role and was amazed at how easily she took

it is only elite sports that receive government funding,

of the runners had never been to Luang Prabang let

responsibility for the activities, adapting to challenges

though some niche sports also secure support from

alone left Vientiane, and the thought of running there on

such a task posed. The addition of the centre boosted

their country of origin. The LRF has an excellent group

their first trip caused quite a sensation with parents and

the number of institutions and schools working with

of supporters and sponsors and our relationship with

friends. The girls had never dreamed of going to Luang

the LRF to 13, with an average of over 2,000 recorded

the local community is one of the strongest among

Prabang, it was just too far away. The idea of running

attendees per month.

the Lao sports federations. Nonetheless we are often

there was about as crazy as they could imagine, yet

short of funds and our plan to expand our operations

they did it, and the sense of accomplishment was

Finally, the time for testing the Lao spirit against a

into Luang Prabang was facing financial difficulties. A

evident on their faces for weeks after. When asked

worthy adversary was here. The LRF organised a

staff meeting culminated in an idea for a fundraising

what the highlight was, apart from the time off school,

carnival which centred on matches between our

event that would see a group of 12 run, relay-style,

the girls decided our nightly games with kids from the

Vientiane Junior All-Stars (which included players from

386 kilometres from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

towns we were staying in. Like where the girls are

Veun Kham) and a junior club side from Bangkok. With

while carrying the rugby ball to be used to kick off our

from, there is little for youths to do in the towns, and

half our players shoeless, and many substituting their

opening carnival in the city. The logistics of the event

they felt happy to share the fun they get out of rugby

boxer shorts for rugby shorts (playing kit is scarce)

were huge, but our staff were now seasoned veterans

with their peers.

we looked outclassed compared to the pristine blue

since having organised and run major international

and yellow uniforms of the Bangkok team. But looks

tournaments, development camps and carnivals.

proved deceiving and our boys, after a shaky start,

The run was a great success in raising awareness of Lao rugby and as a fundraiser for the Luang

executed their months of preparation for a stunning

Four utility vehicles, a medical officer, government

Prabang Carnival. On the day, over 100 of our players

victory, much to the pride of our RDOs. A chat with the

permission and supporting documents, first aid,

supported our RDOs to run coaching sessions and

Lao captain revealed how stunning this victory was. “I

supplies and 12 runners which included LRF staff,

play in three showcase matches at the Luang Prabang

can’t believe we won” he exclaimed. “Laos never beats

senior players and junior players (two were only 16)

National Stadium, and approximately 500 students

Thailand; we’re just a little country”. The boys were all

were marshalled. We assembled in the early morning

from local schools as well as an impromptu horde of

excited and, some begrudgingly, admitted how much

for a press photo session at Laos’ most famous

H’Mong children from a nearby village participated.

the hard work at training and at home had paid off.

landmark, the Buddhist Wat That Luang, to begin

After watching women’s and men’s matches in the

Their dedication after the match continued, with players

the run, which by now no one would admit to having

afternoon many kids were eager to start playing then

attending as many training sessions as possible and

thought of. As fit rugby players, we planned for four

and there. The match also gave the LRF a chance

organising group sessions in their villages to work on

and a half days, but good money had us at six. To the

to see our latest batch of superstars just three weeks

skills and fitness. They had set their sights on trying

surprise of everyone we tore through 135 kilometres on

before Laos entered its first national under-20s side into

out for selection to play in the junior division of Laos’

the first day; aided by relatively flat ground it had been

an International Rugby Tournament. The senior national

Vientiane to luang prabang Right : The LRF staff and players

teams had already produced their best year-to-date.

get ready for their 389km run from

The men’s team won their regional division in the IRB

Vientiane to Luang Prabang!

Asian Five Nations tournament and the Mekong Cup,

Below Right : Jacob with the

and the women’s team, never to be outdone, won

Vientiane woman’s rugby team

the Mekong Shield and the Development Division of the IRB Asian Women’s Sevens Tournament. The under-20s team, packed with players from our Schools Development Project, was destined for the Philippines with the LRF’s Rugby Development Manager, our first Lao coach. The boys put on a good show, and although smaller than everyone else, they took on every opposition team with a never say die attitude that quickly made them crowd favourites. The event was a proud moment for the LRF. Through our first full Lao national representative team we saw the results of our labour. LRF staff were rising up to take senior administrative and coaching roles, and players were taking on leadership roles and mentoring junior players. The highlights of my time at the LRF were abundant; I worked, played, coached and shared my experiences with some amazing people dedicated to developing rugby in their country. But the most significant experiences of my time at the LRF were the opportunities we created for active community development. Sport, like few other development channels, can foster an environment that promotes self-confidence and teamwork. It provides a healthy approach to mental and physical development of not only of the individual but of the community that individual belongs to. To see the benefits of rugby dissipate throughout the communities we worked with showed me how central sport is to development.


Standing Up for the Elderly in China Visitors to Beijing can be forgiven for thinking retired Chinese citizens have an easy life. Every morning parks are full of senior citizens practicing yoga, wielding swords in Tai Chi and the more contemporary elders are swinging their hips to “the Vengabus is coming and everybody’s jumping” or “Boom boom boom.” After morning exercise, groups of women sit in parks

finding empty bottles that they can sell to supplement their

and creating publications for example, digital stories, news

drinking tea and looking after their grandchildren, elderly

pension, others sell snacks and cigarettes on the side of

articles, opinion pieces and press kits.

men play the traditional Chinese game mahjong or Chinese

the road and many continue to farm even in poor health.

chess and fly kites.

The second part of my assignment is to strengthen the For China’s senior citizens, getting sick has far more

capacity of my host organization and counterpart so they

At night, they congregate in the same parks to sing,

implications than just the physical pain. Hospital bills are

are better equipped to attract international and domestic

dance and play musical instruments. In every park there

pricey and can often cost more than their monthly pension

funding and promote themselves as a leading voice on

are always several groups and they are always extremely

resulting in debt. In rural areas in particular, community

ageing issues in China. I work closely with Sun Chen to

organized with music stands, microphones, drum kits,

health care is not always readily available, and can be

create publicity material and hold fortnightly media training

trumpets, triangles and traditional Chinese musical

expensive even when it is.

workshops for Community Alliance staff on how to take


photos, write press releases, write for the web and create Unlike the rest of the world, China became an ageing

digital stories. With Sun Chen’s help, all of the training

In the park near my apartment, every night a group of 60-

population while its per capita income is still low. The

materials and documents are translated into Chinese. In

80 elders dance to traditional Chinese songs and Russian

one-child policy, labour migration and decline in filial

addition, together we created a media strategy, funding

music. When my partner and I joined in, the song changed

piety, have lead to a change in family structure making

pack, style guide and templates for media releases and

to jingle bells (I’m assuming for our benefit) and then they

it increasingly difficult for families to support their ageing

interview opportunities. Without Sun Chen’s help, my work

started a Conga line (also for our benefit?) Some wear

parents. In addition, the 4-2-1 problem, four grandparents,

wouldn’t reach the target audience and would not be as

traditional ethnic clothes, others wear tango costumes but

two parents and one only child trying to support them all,

effective. Maintaining a good fun working relationship with

most don’t dress for the occasion.

is expected to get worse leading to ageism, neglect and

my counterpart has contributed greatly to the success of


my AYAD placement.

better than in the West. Elderly citizens look fit, healthy

As a Communications Officer at Community Alliance, a

With increased branding and media coverage, Community

and energetic. I have even seen a group of elderly citizens

NGO based in Beijing advocating for the rights and social

Alliance has greater ability to influence public policy and

take a dip in a freezing lake while people watched in

welfare of Chinese elderly, my job is to draw attention to the

promote corporate social responsibility in the ageing sector.

astonishment standing on the ice next to where they are

plight of the vulnerable elderly who are invisible and often

Through advocating for public policy change, learning from

swimming. I wish I will be as energetic and active as they

discriminated against either by government policies, their

other countries through international information exchange

are when I am old or sadly, even now!

families or strangers.

and promoting development models that have been tried

However, the active elderly that I love to watch and admire

Part of my AYAD assignment is work with my counterpart

on more Chinese elderly than we would working with

are a minority. Most elderly citizens in China cannot afford

Sun Chen and Chinese colleagues to directly raise social

individuals and in small communities.

to spend their days playing mahjong, flying kites and

awareness of ageing issues through speaking at public

dancing. Some rummage through bins in the hope of

events, holding press conferences, working with the media

From an onlooker’s perspective, retirement in China looks

and tested, Community Alliance can have a greater impact

Story by Jenelle Whittaker

Community Alliance director Wang Xiao Yan reflects on what it is like to host an AYAD Community Alliance Xiao Yan reflects on what it is like tobody host including thedirector joysWang of communicating using language and how the AYAD can bring a an AYAD including the joys of communicating using body language and how different mindset to the workplace. the AYAD can bring a different mindset to the workplace. How has the AYAD program helped your organisation grow?

How have you found the experience of hosting an AYAD?

The AYAD program has exceeded my expectation; it has grown to be an incredible

In addition to being a core part of our team, an AYAD can also be a fun team

asset to both our work and organizational development. It has been six months since

player. With open-mindedness and dynamic personality and the counterpart’s help,

the arrival of our AYAD Jenelle Whittaker. She had already brought amazing changes

our AYAD works closely and very well with our team. Even though we sometimes

to Community Alliance. These are positive and powerful changes we always wanted

communicate with a mixture of English, Chinese and body language, we are always

but were unable to achieve for the past four years.

eager to communicate and learn new knowledge and information. Hosting an AYAD is just like having a wonderful team player. The experience also helped us to develop

Our AYAD and also our friend, Jenelle has helped us to greatly increase publicity.

a more supportive and fun work environment and culture.

Community Alliance has gained media coverage in major international and domestic newspapers and TV programs. Our brand building and recognition has been significantly improved among both the local community and government circles. As one of the very few Chinese non-profits working on ageing, our publicity and brand

What are some of the challenges of hosting an AYAD?

building actually in turn help raise public awareness and promote public action to support disadvantaged and invisible elderly communities.

Having Chinese language background could be a plus, but the language challenge can also be overcome by the AYAD’s dynamic personality and willingness to mingle

With stronger voices for elder rights and welfare, we are now more capable of

with the team. After all, a close-knit working environment could render an everyday

launching policy advocacy and forming positive interaction with the policymakers. For

Chinese learning opportunity. Sustainability is a potential challenge. We really hope to

example, Jenelle discussed outreach strategies with the state government agency

have consecutive AYAD placements in the core areas of organizational development,

China National Committee of Ageing to raise public awareness on ageing challenges,

before we develop our full capacity and stop relying on the AYAD program.

which could be a potential benefit to China’s 162 million elderly! By working as a team, Jenelle led the effort to design and produce our new brochure, newsletter, photo library (some photo were now being used by United Nations publications on ageing), Community Alliance folder, PPT template etc. In almost every way possible, she initiated new creative ideas to help us become more professional. Our teammate joked, “Our past work is as good as pearls but scattered around. Now Jenelle is stringing up the pearls and turning them into a beautiful necklace!”


My name is Sarah Murfett and my assignment was to be the Netball Technical Officer for the Vanuatu Netball Association for 12 months, but this story is not about me. It is about the amazing women and girls I met in Vanuatu and the things that they achieved in the twelve months and the things they continue to achieve.

of the Vanuatu Netball Association. Beverly’s love for

After developing two coaching courses with the

netball shines out and it is infectious; after all, these

assistance of my partner organisation, Netball Australia,

children are playing netball without sports shoes on

I began to run these throughout the year. Now many

concrete courts and always have a smile on their faces.

schools and communities now have their own coaches, and continue to run courses with only the occasional

The focus of development in Vanuatu Netball is at grass

visit from myself or Beverly. With the development

roots level in the schools and communities. After

program in safe hands in Efate it allowed outreach to

beginning with only three schools in Port Vila, Efate,

occur to other provinces.

a year later the program has grown to include ten schools and communities near Vila and another half a

2009 focused on the island of Espiritu Santo, where

When I first received the news that I had been

dozen around the island of Efate. It was amazing for

netball has two functioning local associations. Beverly

the successful applicant for my position, I was

me to watch the improvement in these players as their

and I travelled to Santo in May and again in November

apprehensive about moving to Vanuatu, but as I

confidence grew. The more we were able to teach

(also with National Head Coach Moana Korikalo) and

soon discovered, I had no need to be. The tourism

them about netball the more they wanted to learn.

were welcomed with open arms. We were able to

brochures say the Ni-Vanuatu people are the friendliest

One particularly rewarding part for me was learning

provide support in all areas of the game; coaching,

in the world and they are absolutely correct. The

that netball was providing the opportunity for women

umpiring, organisation and to specific players and

players and coaches who were there on that day will

to leave their village and expand their social networks.

teams with their trainings and games. Since these

probably never know how nervous and scared I was

This assignment was not just about netball, it was an

tours, three of the coaches who attended the courses

or how quickly their smiles and welcoming comments

opportunity to help empower women in Vanuatu on

have become part of the national coaching pool and

made me feel right at home. From that moment on,

and off the court.

regularly conduct training sessions for the Santo National 17&Under squad. Santo has some very

it was down to work. Beverly, my counterpart, began teaching me the ropes of life in Vanuatu and I showed

As the program expanded, the need for more qualified

talented young players and it was great to see their

her how we could work together to achieve the goals

coaches arose and this is where I stepped in to help.

improvement between the two tours. Unfortunately in

Erata p Prim ary Scho ol learn

Sarah showing participants in the Level 1 Coaching

ing netb all

for the first time !

WYC squad t wo days before leaving for the Cook

Course some practical skills on the court

Islands in August

Sarah with Players at the Vanuatu Games

past years, players from other provinces have not been

country, proud. In addition, their time off the court

was run by the players in the 14&Under, 17&Under

country, The Vanuatu Netball Association is committed

involved in National Squads as the level of competition

also provided opportunities to learn. They had the

and 21&Under National squads, with some assistance

to developing netball to empower women both on and

has not been as strong and there has been a lack of

opportunity to interact with players from all over the

from myself and Beverly. These girls were responsible

off the court.

funds. It is hoped that by introducing the Santo squad

world, especially with the Australian team, and many

for all facets of the tournament. Given we were facing

we will address this issue, by providing ongoing training

lasting friendships have been formed. Even now the

constant critics who said the games would never

When I arrived, I remember telling my In-Country

for these talented young players. 2010 will see further

Australian girls keep in touch with some of the players

run on time, I was determined to assist the players

Manager how nervous I was about the year ahead.

outreach to Penama and Tafea provinces thanks to

from Vanuatu.

to use the skills they had learnt overseas about time

Looking back now it was the best thing I have ever

management and running a major tournament to prove

done. I talk about all the things I was able to teach

As anyone who has been to the South Pacific can

them wrong. The tournament was a great success

about netball whilst I was there, but I learnt just as

vouch, ‘island time’ is a concept you cannot fully

both within netball circles and within the entire Vanuatu

much from the wonderful people I met in Vanuatu as

A highlight of the year was the World Youth Netball

understand until you experience it – I found this hard to

Games, with netball receiving high praise from the

they did from me - the importance of family, a different

Cup (21&Under World Championships) held in the

handle at first. When it comes to sport at international

organising committee. Since that event, the players

way of getting things done and that time is not the

Cook Islands in August, 2009. After six months of

level, it is hard to marry the concept of island time with

have organised other tournaments and competitions

most important thing in the world, just to name a few.

intensive training and commitment by the players in

a regimented time schedule. Although initially difficult,

with their confidence growing more and more each

the 21&Under team, (and hard work by all involved to

the team was able to adapt to the different style


raise the required funds!), Vanuatu sent a team to Cook

successfully whilst in the Cook Islands, and also on

Islands to participate in the WYC. This was the first

their return to Vanuatu.

some extra funding obtained through the Australian Sports Outreach Program.

time in over twenty years Vanuatu had participated in

People think of Vanuatu and picture a beautiful tropical island with white sandy beaches and crystal clear

Netball in Vanuatu has come a long way in twelve

water, which it certainly has, but it is the Ni Vanuatu

months thanks to the commitment and dedication of

people who make this place particularly special and

this event and it provided many challenges and positive

December 2009 saw the Vanuatu Games take place

those players and officials who are involved; however

I am so honoured I had the chance to live alongside

experiences alike. Under the charge of head coach,

in Port Vila. This event takes place every three years

there is still a long way to go to reach the goal set in


Moana Korikalo, who herself had represented Vanuatu

and teams from all over Vanuatu come together to take

the development plan of 15% participation by 2011.

at a World Championships, the players improved

part in the competition in many different sports. The

Netball is not funded or resourced as well as other

immensely on the court, doing themselves, and their

netball competition was conducted over a week and

sports in Vanuatu, but as the only women’s sport in the

APO - Netball Australia -


cacophony of honking horns and voices raised above the tangled noise and energy of commercial buzz. We pass two huge modern shopping malls, Manado Port, a lively street market and travel across a one-way bridge leaving the city for the suburbs. The traffic and the noise are thinning, contemporary cityscape becomes underdeveloped rural streetscape. The bike settles into a straight line as we continue through the poorer outskirts, the road is hemmed by singlelevel shanty-houses of mud-bricks with corrugated iron roofs. We traverse another bridge, a tiny bridge, entering Sumompo.

AYAD Will Wrathall is working with his counterpart, Meldi, and Host Organisation, Bridge of Hope, on a broad range of livelihood and education projects with the people of Sumompo, Indonesia. Here he shares his experience and inspiration from witnessing small acts and opportunities have big impacts in the one of the poorest communities in the world. Join me on a journey. I will take you to Indonesia, the northern tip of the island of Sulawesi, to the city of Manado and a community called Sumompo. It’s 11am, 30ºC with 100% humidity. Leaving the cool, air-conditioned office of Bridge of Hope, I get on my motorbike with Meldi, a friend and colleague as pillion. We weave through traffic, our sound track is a

Sumompo is another world. It is where the rubbish, the refuse of Manado City ends up. Changing gears, the bike slows as we wind our way up a dirt road, climbing the steep hill into Sumompo. You begin to sense the smell of the place. Through the gauze of tropical jungle the rubbish tip appears to our left. People walk on either side of the road balancing huge bags of collected rubbish on their heads. We have circled the expanse of the tip reaching the main entrance. At the entrance of the tip there are kids laughing and playing with a mongrel makeshift bike, assembled from spare parts rummaged from the tip. We enter and the first thing to hit us is the smell - it is like a texture. A truck roars past and a wave of fine dust envelops us. We have arrived. The weight of the heat hits us, the sweat of humidity turns the dust into a paint that sticks to our skin. I remove the bike helmet and my hair is pasted down like a swimming cap, my head feels like it’s been in a sauna. I chat to a few people standing

around. Others are having a smoke, squatting under some small trees that offer a little island of shade in a sea of burning sun. Our conversations strain alongside the fluctuating, faltering growl of a bulldozer as it pushes rubbish into piles. Over the steady roar you can hear the staccato of crying babies, held by mothers who watch the activity from a short distance at the edge of the piles of refuse. Sumompo is framed by coconut palms and the ocean - nature resplendent - cupping the refuse and discard of humanity. It is a lumpy landscape of human made waste amidst the beauty of nature. The smell is thick, intense, rising like steam. It infects me. I somehow absorb it and I can taste it. It sticks in my throat like a chunk I cannot swallow. A wave of nausea makes me feel like retching. Meldi and I walk towards a gathering of residents, men and women, boys and girls - as young as 8 and as old as 60. A small ute and a large truck back in with some fresh rubbish. Coming out from the truck is a mixture of all types of waste. It draws the group. They are focused and ready. Everyone carries his or her ‘gonjol’, a 2 foot-long steel stick to poke and sift through the rubbish. There is laughter and talk, a sense of community, but in the end there is the competition for finding what is valuable. The primary goods are paper and plastic. Diana is standing at a distance, we wave. She is in gumboots, working feverishly, poking through the rubbish with her gonjol. Meldi calls to her, but she doesn’t acknowledge us. Diana, now 13 years old, began working on the tip as a 5 year old. Let’s pause

and reflect here: in Australia, most 5 year olds are just starting their first year of school. Diana’s physical stature is that of an 11 year old, her hair is chopped short, brittle and has the telltale orange streaks of malnutrition. She has the face of a child, but a complexion that’s been beaten and tanned into a mask of leather by a harsh, working life outdoors. Diana is at the tip from 6-8 hours each day and collects around 10kg of rubbish. Even then her working day is not over; she must carry her valuable collection of plastic a kilometre home and wash each plastic container before selling it. Her efforts will earn around AUS$5. Diana is an unwanted child, given up by her parents to live at Sumompo with a distant relative willing to take her in. She is the main breadwinner for the family. Her guardians are aging, unwell and unable to continue to work on the tip. Diana is at the bottom of the social hierarchy in Sumompo, many times I was asked why I spent time with ‘the ugly one’, ‘the dirty one’. She has one friend in her life that she can trust, Lia - who also works at the rubbish tip every day. Let’s briefly return to Manly, to January 2008. Local group ‘Christian Surfers’ decided to support Bridge of Hope, a partner organisation of the Manly-Manado Community Partnership. Bridge of Hope is a microfinancing organisation providing low interest microloans to people who cannot access bank loans and are often caught in a cycle of debt through local loan sharks. The event: ‘Paddle against Poverty’ raised $10


Australian partner organisations

Previous Page Left to RightNature resplendent: several families of Sumompo working their field of refuse The joy of friendships: Diana and me This page - Children at the Sengkanaung resource centre.

000. The money funded the building of a Resource Centre at Sumompo called Sengkanaung (in the local dialect meaning ‘one in heart’). Little did they realise how this relatively small amount would impact both the lives of the children of Sumompo and my own. Sengkanaung is a 6x6m wooden structure, with a 3x3m-closed room for storage. It stores simple resources: books, two guitars, a TV, a keyboard, sports and art equipment. However, the best resource is my colleague Meldi. Meldi is an employee of Bridge of Hope and works six days a week from 8.30am until 7.30pm. She is a shy, quiet woman. She loves her job, seeing it as a blessing from God. She has a deep humility alongside a fierce commitment to the kids of Sumompo. Each day Meldi teaches the children, who attend Sengkanaung, the basic skills of reading and writing. Diana and Lia finish work at 5pm yet come excited, eager to learn from 5.30– 7pm at night. Afterwards, together we walk the ½ kilometre home. Sengkanaung has been a gift of hope for children like Diana and Lia. I recall Diana, shy and fearful on her first day of school, supported on one side by her best friend Lia, encouraged by Meldi on the other. Over several months Diana become more comfortable and developed many friendships. The experiences and opportunities provided through Sengkanaung are life changing. Diana has the acceptance of the other children. She can now read and write.

The Manly-Manado Community Partnership in Sumompo isn’t changing the outward nature of their day-to-day lives, however it is providing an opportunity to discover something else, something other than simply collecting paper and plastic. In Sumompo there is a slow, seeping sense of minds itching over the possibilities of education. Some of these children will choose the tip. It is familiar to them, it is where family and friends are, and it is their home. Yet some of them will choose something else, and in doing so they have the opportunity to break the generational cycle of living on the rubbish tip. As these children become adults they will become local signposts for everyone else that fate has not determined their future. The injustice of circumstances that condemn children worldwide to live in such poverty can be overwhelming. It’s at moments like these that I always thinks of a quote from Mother Theresa, that ‘in this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.’ Poverty can seem like a vast ocean and you’re standing on the shore with just a small pebble in your hand. I consider working alongside Meldi for the children of Sumompo such a pebble, it can seem like just a small thing, but the ripples it creates get bigger and bigger, and you never know how big they will get or what shore they will reach. APO: Manly-Manado Inc

The AYAD Program works with a diverse range of

• Aceh Research Training Institute

Australian Partner Organisations who provide support,

• Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

enthusiasm and expertise to projects in all our partner

• Adventist Development and Relief Agency


• AIDS Council of New South Wales. • ANZ Bank

Australian Partner Organisations (APOs) are

• Asia-Pacific Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS

Australian government departments, non-government

• Asia-Pacific Journalism Centre

organisations (NGOs), educational institutions and

• ATSE Crawford

private companies that have or wish to establish links

• Attorney-General’s Department

with organisations working in development in Asia, the

• Austcare

Pacific and Africa.

• Australian Broadcasting Corporation • Australian Development Gateway

The benefits of being an Australian Partner

• Australian Football League (Oceania)

Organisation are many and varied including building

• Australian Foundation for Asia and the Pacific

new partnerships in our region, providing an amazing

• Australian Human Rights Centre

professional development opportunity for staff and

• Australian Mekong Resource Centre

making a positive contribution to development.

• Australian National University • Australian Orangutan Project

If you are interested in learning more about partnering

• Australian Red Cross

with the AYAD Program please contact the AYAD

• Australian Rugby Union

Partnerships Team at

• Australian Sports Commission

or (freecall) 1800 225 592.

• Australian Youth Climate Coalition • Ba Futuru Australia

The AYAD Program would like to thank our current

• Bahay Tuluyan Philippines Australia

active APOs for their involvement and support:

• Baptist World Aid Australia • Be A Hero Australia • Birds Australia • Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation (Australia) • Box Hill Institute of TAFE • Brisbane Institute of Strength Based Practice • Burnet Institute

• Cardno Acil Pty Ltd

• Foundation for Developing Cambodian Communities

• Murdoch University

• Transparency International


• CARE Australia

• Foundation for Development Cooperation

• Netball Australia

• Triathlon Australia


Intake 28 Pre Departure Training


State Representative Workshop (Canberra)

• Caritas Australia

• Friends and Partners of East Timor

• Oceania Athletics Association



• Friends of Venilale

• Opportunity International Australia


• CBM Australia – Nossal Institute Partnership

• George Institute for International Health

• OT Australia

• UNICEF Australia


Info Sessions begin Across Australia

• Central Queensland University

• GHD Pty Ltd

• Oxfam Australia

• UNIFEM Australia


Debrief, Sydney

• Centre for Refugee Research UNSW

• GK Ancop Australia

• Pacific Asia Tourism Pty Ltd

• Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA)

• Charles Darwin University

• Griffith University

• Permaculture Research Institute of Australia

• UniQuest Pty Ltd

• Charles Sturt University

• Habitat for Humanity Australia

• Philippines Australia Studies Centre

• UnitingWorld

• ChildFund Australia

• Hassall and Associates

• Plan International Australia

• University of Adelaide

• CLAN (Caring and Living as Neighbours)

• Health Communication Resources Inc.

• Public Interest Law Clearing House

• University of Melbourne

These details are correct at time of printing. Please

• Commonwealth Ombudsman

• Hope Worldwide

• Queensland Institute of Medical Research

• University of Sydney

check for the latest

• Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

• Humane Society International

• Rainforest Rescue Ltd

• University of NSW

• Contemporary China Centre

• iEARN Australia

• Reef Check Australia

• University of Queensland

• Credit Union Foundation Australia

• Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy

• Riverine Landscapes Research Lab

• University of South Australia


• International Centre for Eyecare Education

• Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW)

• University of Tasmania

• Deakin University

• International Cricket Council East Asia Pacific

• Royal Australasian College of Physicians

• University of Technology Sydney

• Department of Agriculture and Food (WA)

• International Development Law Organisation

• Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

• University of Western Australia

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace

• International Fund for Animal Welfare

• Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children

• University of Western Sydney

• International Rugby Board

• Royal Life Saving Society Australia

• URS Sustainable Development

• Department of Environment, Water, Heritage & the Arts

• International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics

• Save the Children Australia

• Vets Beyond Borders

• Department of Immigration and Citizenship

• International Women’s Development Agency

• Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association

• Victoria University

• Department of Primary Industries (NSW)

• Interplast Australia and New Zealand

• Scouts Australia

• Wetlands International – Oceania

• Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QLD)

• Interserve Australia

• Southern Cross University

• Women With Disabilities Australia

• Earth Systems Pty Ltd

• James Cook University

• Speech Language & Learning: Educational Therapy

• World Bank Group

• Engineers Without Borders

• Jane Goodall Institute Australia

• Environmental Defenders Office NSW Ltd

• Land Equity International Pty Ltd

• St George Hospital Renal Department

• World Youth International Australia

• Federal Court of Australia

• Luminaide

• Susila Dharma Australia Inc.


• FIBA Oceania

• Manly-Manado Inc.

• TAFE Queensland

• WWF - Australia

• Flinders University of South Australia

• Marie Stopes International Australia

• TAFE South Australia

• Youth Challenge Australia

• Football Federation Victoria

• Merri Community Health Services

• The Fred Hollows Foundation

• YWCA of Australia



• World Vision Australia


August 13

Applications online for Intake 30



WHAT IS AYAD? The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program supports skilled young Australians (18-30) on short term assignments in developing countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS The AYAD Program supports the Australian Government’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Australia Freecall : 1800 225 592 Telephone : +61 (8) 8364 8500 Managed by Austraining International Pty Ltd Level 1, 41 Dequetteville Tce, Kent Town SA 5067 youtham