Australian Volunteers International Magazine I Summer 2013/14
Au s t r a l i a n SI
na t i o na l
• Improving Livelihoods for Maasai Women in Tanzania • Enhancing Women’s Equality in Lebanon
l un t e e r s I n ter
Contents 04 > Conservation in the Solomon Islands 06 > Preserving Culture and Heritage in Jordan 08 > Sustainable Livelihoods in Tanzania 12 > Crossing the Economic Divide in Vietnam 14 > Improving Women’s Equality in Lebanon 17 > Sustaining a Community in Lebanon 18 > Restless Development in India 20 > Sustainable Learning at Macquarie University 21 > AVID Volunteer Stories 22 > Aboriginal Volunteer Program: A Collaborative Effort 24 > AACES: Community at the Core of Development 26 > PACTAM: Reforming the Marshall Islands Energy Sector
CEO Message At the end of October I had the great pleasure in once again attending the International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations (IVCO) Conference hosted by France Volontaires, Paris. The conference brought together the global members of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development. This gathering reinforced the importance of international volunteerism and our collective vision of inclusive growth, human rights, good governance, gender equality, peace, wellbeing, environmental responsibility and the fight against inequalities. Evident from the conference was the notion that for volunteer action to be transformational in 2015 and beyond, inclusivity and sustainable development must also be at the forefront of the agenda. That is - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This notion was agreed upon by all the conference participants with the drafting and signing of the ‘Paris Accord on Volunteering for Sustainable Development’. Moving forward, a new discussion is starting in the aid and development sector, a discussion that pre-figures 2030. In addition to our continued efforts to eradicate poverty, we must ensure we are all incorporating economic, social and environmental sustainability into our best practice. At AVI these key areas reinforce much of the work we are already doing to promote empowerment and build skills to assist communities achieve their full potential. We are proud to support our many host organisations around the globe committed to sustainable development practices. In this edition of AV, Olfat Mahmoud, Director of the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation, tells us about the importance of long-term support and advocating on behalf of minority groups in Lebanon. Australian volunteer Sean Court explains the outcome of sustainable conservation management, and how his work with the Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association has helped to establish the first national park in the Solomon Islands. Pyrou Chung, a volunteer in north eastern Tanzania is working with the Maasai Women’s Development Organisation on socio-economic development programs to assist Maasai women in the area to diversify income generating opportunities. These are just a few of our stories.
Australian Volunteers International connects people and organisations internationally to learn from each other and achieve shared goals.
Nelson Mandela once said “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
AVI enables Australians to join in global efforts to reduce poverty; promote human rights, good governance and gender equality; enhance health and education services; and protect the environment.
It is with these words that AVI strive towards, making a positive and sustainable difference.
AVI is a member of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).
Warmest regards in peace.
Sustainable Development is a Shared Responsibility By Fran Noonan and Christine Crosby The term sustainable development is an often contested term. There are countless definitions; the first of which was officially defined in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development’s (Brundtland) Report – Our Common Future. In this report sustainable development is ‘that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ In the last 26 years people around the world have embraced this definition as a guiding principle, but debate continues as to its actual meaning and practical application. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, declared that sustainable development would only progress in practice if there was a global commitment to improve the equity and fairness of the world’s poorest, and an acknowledgement that sustainability incorporates economic development, social equity, and environmental protection. This would require systematic changes in the way we define our business relationships and work in partnership at a community, national and global level. These are daily challenges for both the developed and the developing worlds, achievable with investment, collaboration, action and a commitment by governments, business, nongovernment organisations and community-based organisations. For more than 60 years AVI has taken on this challenge with
communities around the world. Through the work of our volunteers and project participants, we have worked to achieve sustainable and positive change that is driven by a people-centred approach. Partnership, mutual understanding, shared responsibility and solidarity are core values supporting the success of this approach to sustainable development. By creating this environment in which to work, it is the local community or organisation that is driving the change and promoting the ownership of activities. It is also an approach that acknowledges there is not a one-sizefits-all approach to development challenges. Each community has its own unique culture, politics, geography, economy, challenges and way of doing things. AVI’s commitment to continually invest in people-to-people links and long-term partnerships with local communities around the globe, provides the understanding and flexibility to develop locally-identified sustainable responses. Everyday, the work of our volunteers, is demonstrating an effective approach to sustainable development. This people-centred approach has the capacity to inform and inspire the future direction of our business relationships, global diplomacy practices and how we work in partnerships. More importantly for AVI and our partnerships, the long-term aim is to ensure communities are better equipped to shape their own collective futures - socially, environmentally and economically.
Above > Australian volunteer Social Business Coach, Ron Schimpf, works for So They Can, a self empowerment organisation helping to sustain and equip local communities through sustainable agricultural practices. His base is in the town of Babati which lies approximately 150km west of Arusha in Tanzania. Working with a group of rural farm workers, Ron assists in the harvesting and packaging of locally grown produce. The process of harvesting the seeds is very labour intensive but the yield of approximately 100 kilogram bags with the finest seeds is reward enough. WIth improved yields, the organisation has recently been able to purchase 20 acres of land that will be cultivated into additional farmlands. Photo > Matthew Willman
Conservation in the Solomon Islands By Sean Court
For the past 18 months Australian volunteer Sean Court has lived in the Solomon Islands and worked as a Protected Area Ranger for the Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA). Here he explains the importance of sustainable conservation management. Kolombangara Island is located in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands and is home to many species of plants and animals unique to this region. KIBCA’s role is to manage the 20,000 hectare conservation area that takes in all the land on the island above 400 metres. This area includes rainforests, spectacular cloud forests, over 80 rivers, and the island’s volcanic caldera Mt Veve, which is the second highest peak in the Solomon Islands. Most importantly KIBCA provides a voice for the 6,000 locals who want to protect their resources and encourage sustainable use of the forests and marine environments, including developing and promoting livelihood opportunities that offer alternatives to large scale logging and fishery operations. The area below 400 metres on Kolombangara has been heavily logged, which has had a considerable environmental impact, and for the most part provided limited benefits to local communities. In 2008 local community members fought back by signing a community conservation agreement to protect the lands above 400 metres. While this offered some protection it had no legal standing. In 2012 the Solomon Islands Government passed legislation enabling the establishment of protected areas such as national parks and nature reserves. This became a focus of my work.
My assignment involved helping KIBCA establish the first national park in the Solomon Islands and to provide planning and operational support to KIBCA staff, training to the rangers, raising awareness of KIBCA’s work and promoting the islands attractions. In 2012 KIBCA received funding from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature to produce guidelines for ‘Writing a Protected Area Management Plan’. This important document will be used to develop conservation areas across the Solomon Islands. It is a great outcome for KIBCA, as it demonstrates they are leading the way with conservation and sustainability efforts across the Islands. KIBCA is beginning to work on education and mentoring programs for local communities. Assistance is also being provided to develop ecotourism ventures and promote small businesses in honey production, coconut oil, bottled water and the production of local bush foods and products. The establishment of the conservation area has resulted in considerable support for KIBCA and led to the Education for Conservation Program setup by previous Australian volunteer, Andrew Cox. This project distributes scholarships to secondary school children in communities that have agreed not to log above 400 metres. So far it has been really successful and greatly appreciated by local families. The pressure on communities to log is relentless and with no other source of income the temptation to clear land for profit is great. Hopefully KIBCA’s programs, like the education scholarship scheme can expand, ecotourism initiatives continue to grow, and strategies for sustainable livelihood projects can be developed so that locals receive the benefit of having protected conservation areas. This is a position of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
Opposite > Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands. Top left > (l-r) Top of Mount Veve with guides Moftat and Kiko. Top right > Following guide into the jungle, Villa River, Kolombangara conservation area. Above left > A deep pool in Villa River on the way to Kolombangara crater. Above right > Sean Court climbing Mount Veve peak, Kolombangara conservation area. Photos > Courtesy Sean Court This page > Solomon Islands conservation area. Photo > Anthony Plummer
Preserving Culture and Heritage By Fran Noonan
in Jordan By Angela Fitzgerald
Australian teacher, Angela Fitzgerald, explains the importance of education and youth engagement in Jordan and how her volunteer work with the Petra National Trust is helping to preserve Petraâ€™s cultural and natural heritage. Petra National Trust (PNT) is a NGO working with local communities to ensure the conservation, preservation, and sustainable management of Petra and the surrounding environment. Our programs aim to instil a sense of identity and pride in Petraâ€™s cultural and natural heritage, and inspire a commitment from local communities to preserve and protect the significance and value of this World Heritage listed site. There are six communities around the Petra site that the PNT reaches through its programs. Each community is made up of one or more key family groups all of which have strong connections with Bedouin culture. The communities vary in size ranging from a couple of thousand people to nearly 20,000. The distance they live from the main entrance to the site varies, but their needs in terms of heritage education are essentially the same. Tension exists for the local communities and their relationship with Petra, in terms of the economic benefits created by the site as a key tourist destination, versus engaging in conservation practices that will protect its fragile nature for the future. PNT see its role as working with the youth in the region to illustrate that these two things are not mutually exclusive; there are opportunities for realising both objectives. We recognise the importance of educating young people about the cultural significance of the site, and the need for protecting local heritage areas in a sustainable manner. Although our office is based in the capital city, Amman, the team is in Petra every second Saturday for our youth engagement workshops and for longer periods in the school holidays when we run week-long workshops. I support the PNT Outreach and Awareness Team in the development and implementation of education and engagement programs for young people (7-18 years) and teachers in the Petra region. We develop teaching and learning plans and materials, write grant proposals and present to potential donors, form partnerships with individuals and organisations, and use social media to report our achievements and activities.
As a part of the Clean Up the World Weekend, we conducted a youth engagement workshop involving a rubbish pick up at a site in Petra Park. We also planted native trees in the Hisha Forest, an important location for plants and animals indigenous to the region. Another of our initiatives, the Junior Ranger Program, involves a series of hands-on interactive and innovative classroom activities designed to reinforce the local youthâ€™s understanding of their heritage, responsible tourism, and provides ways they can become involved in the preservation and conservation of Petra. Working with local teachers, PNT has developed education programs aimed at raising awareness about cultural heritage through storytelling, community awareness events and field trips to historical sites. PNT believe investing in the local young people as it will help ensure sustainability in the conservation and preservation of Petra and its values for future generations. This is a position of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
Opposite > Petra Natural Heritage Site, Jordan. Photo > Alec Simpson Top right > Junior Rangers work with PNT on Clean Up the World Weekend, Petra Park. Second from top > Junior Rangers learn about their cultural heritage. Third from top > Planting native trees in Hisha Forest, Petra. Bottom > Junior Rangers take a break during a field trip. (Front l-r) Instructors Hadeel, Angela and Huda. Photos > Courtesy Angela Fitzgerald
Sustainable Livelihoods in Tanzania By Pyrou Chung
Australian volunteer and Agricultural Specialist, Pyrou Chung, explains how her work with the Maasai Women’s Development Organisation is improving sustainable livelihoods for Maasai women in Tanzania.
Acacia trees dot the landscape, animals roam in the wilderness and Maasai pastoralists tend to their stock. This is the Maasai Steppe, a large grassland plain in north eastern Tanzania covering an area of 40,000 square kilometres. Its ecosystem provides precious resources to countless Maasai communities who live in the area, but climate change and environmental degradation is placing immense stress on these rural communities. Women represent the majority of the heads of households in many of the communities we are working with. As primary caretakers whose responsibility it is to gather firewood and collect water, the significant decline in natural resources is placing additional burdens on Maasai women to adequately provide for their families. Increasing pressure from migration, rampant land grabbing and climate change has intensified issues around food security, land and property rights, and natural resource conflict. In the year 2000 the Maasai Women’s Development Organisation (MWEDO) was established, giving Maasai women a voice, and providing them with critical services and information about health, education and land rights. In just 13 years the organisation’s achievements have gone from strengthto-strength. Of the 5,000 women members across four districts, 80 new business enterprises have been established, employing 240 women and bringing in over 300 million Tanzanian Shillings. To combat household food security issues, socio-economic development programs are also being established. Improving a woman’s overall socioeconomic situation and diversifying income generating activities means reducing a woman’s vulnerabilities from long-term climate change. Much of my work has focused on designing and developing a strategy that articulates what an agriculture program would look like. A number of field trips have been conducted to evaluate and assess the needs of the women, their vulnerability to climatic factors and available resources. This information is currently being compiled and will feed into the agriculture strategy, and will include aspects of strengthening land tenure. Through MWEDO we are looking at introducing low cost rainwater harvesting initiatives, small-scale livestock breeding programs for cattle, chickens and goats, higher crop yields, and basic training in entrepreneurial skills and business development. It is hoped by engaging women in this way, we can support economic and social empowerment and work towards breaking the cycle of poverty. MWEDO have faced challenges along the way but their success is proven by the increasing numbers of literate women, girls who now have access to secondary school and higher education and a decline in birth rate deaths. 400 girls, 3,500 women and 500 men now have access to education and adult literacy classes, and 10,000 women now have access to improved maternal health services. This is a great achievement but there is still much work to be done, without MWEDO’s continued support to build upon good foundations these women would continue to be oppressed, socially, politically and environmentally. This is a position of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
Community Engagement Scheme As part my volunteer assignment I successfully applied for funding through the AVI Community Grant Scheme to help resource a Future Food Security Program for Maasai Girls through sustainable agriculture. The funding resourced the tools and training required to kick start the project, aimed at providing students from the MWEDO Girls Secondary College with a strong knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices for life after secondary school. Since most of our students come from remote villages that are primarily pastoralists we had hoped to provide them with practical skills relevant to their village settings so they can maintain their
own livelihoods and contribute to their families economic stability. The grant has allowed us to develop a productive kitchen garden, implement composting and rainwater harvesting systems, and enrich the school curriculum through the experimental learning environment. In addition to learning about healthy eating through the diversification of diets to reduce food security risks, we are also hoping to provide opportunities for students to run small businesses once their produce has been harvested. The Community Grant Scheme is an initiative of AVI and the Planet Wheeler Foundation.
Opposite top > Pyrou Chung (front centre) is an Australian volunteer based in Arusha, Tanzania and works with rural communities of Kiteto and Longido. Here, Pyrou walks with students and teachers from The Maasai Womenâ€™s Development Organisation Secondary School, Arusha, Tanzania. Opposite below > Pyrou working with MWEDO students on sustainable agriculture for the Future Food Security Program. Above left and right > In the science lab at MWEDO Secondary School. Bottom left > Students from MWEDO walking to an experimental learning project. Bottom right > Students from MWEDO learn the benefits of healthy eating habits, through diversification of diets. Photos > Matthew Willman
Crossing the Economic Divide in Vietnam By Sandra Robinson
Queensland resident, Sandra Robinson, decided she needed a sea change from her job as a Business Manager at a school for disengaged youth in Hervey Bay. She explains how volunteering as a Fundraising Trainer in Vietnam has given her a new lease on life. For many people living in Bihn Thuan Province, a small region situated on the south central coast of Vietnam, life is tough. Of the 38 rural communities the Thien Chi Centre for Community Support and Development works with, 13.5 percent have been identified as ethnic minorities and 30,000 people are said to be living below the poverty line and earning less than $US20 per person, per month. Many children are not attending school until the required age of 15 years, as their households simply cannot afford it. Often the children are required to work to help supplement the family income. It is difficult to break the cycle of poverty in these rural areas without an education and skills leading to sustainable employment. My organisation, the Thien Chi Centre for Community Support and Development, works to increase the standard of living and reduce the level of poverty in these communities. Much of the work I do revolves around developing procedures and providing guidance on how to write and present successful grant applications. I compile family profiles and stories about microloans for publicity, maintain and update the website, create promotional material and collect data on families participating in the interest free microloan program. Some weeks I am in the office every day, other times I am rarely there as we visit the projects in the community.
The opportunity to experience field projects first-hand highlights the importance of our fundraising efforts. It demonstrates the amazing difference Thien Chi can make to these communities in reducing poverty and improving living standards. There are so many personal stories I have been privileged to share but the microloan program is one that certainly stands out. One of these stories is from the Long Binh Commune, Hau Giang Province. Mr Mai lives with his wife, three children and daughter in-law, in a very basic house, only accessible by boat or ‘monkey bridge’. On entry into the Anh Duong Microloan Program three years ago, the Mai household was earning just 221,000VND (US$11.50) per person, per month. They received their first interest free loan of 1M VND (US$50) to raise fish and in just a short time returned a profit of 1,940,000VND (US$9.70). After receiving training from Anh Duong on techniques and vaccination schedules needed to raise other livestock, the family were able to diversify and are now raising ducks, pigs and fish. Mr Mai recently received the family’s sixth loan of 3M VND (US$150) to buy additional livestock and trees for an orange orchard. Since then his families income has increased to 551,000VND (US$27.50) per person, per month. Mr Mai explained to me that three years ago he was very poor, but with the microloan support for capital and the training attended by his wife to raise the livestock, they have now changed their lives around. I have learnt that these rural communities do not expect something for nothing and there is a real sense of community here. Thien Chi’s philosophy to empower households to contribute to their own wellbeing; encourages local communes to take ownership of the projects delivered, ensuring sustainable development. This is a position of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
Opposite > Balancing act: Sandra Robinson on a monkey bridge in Hau Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. Above left > Mr Mai grows oranges to improve his livelihood with the support of the Anh Duong microloan. Above right > Mr Mai uses the microloan to buy and breed ducks to diversify his income. Below left > Taking a well earned break at Mr Maiâ€™s farm. Below right > Mr Maiâ€™s farm. Photos > Courtesy Sandra Robinson
Partner Organisation Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation
Improving Women’s Equality in Lebanon By Fran Noonan
Olfat Mahmoud is the Director of the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO) in Lebanon. Her organisation supports and advocates for Palestinians living in refugee camps with limited access to civil and political rights, employment, government schooling and state health services. Olfat talks to AVI Communications Coordinator, Fran Noonan, about improving the livelihoods of women and girls in Lebanon. Fran: What do you see as the reason for needing the PWHO?
Fran: Please provide an overview of what you do at PWHO.
Olfat: Almost 50 percent of Palestinians living in Lebanon live in a refugee camp. PWHO operates its services in these camps and aims to support the needs and advocate for the rights of this population by supplementing for the lack of government services. Our organisation was developed with the needs of women in mind. This is particularly important given the perceptions of women within our community are not considered equal to men. The majority of our staff are local women from female headed families. By employing members of our local community we provide direct employment and education opportunities for up to 75 women. Furthermore, our organisation is politically neutral and accepting of all women regardless of religious beliefs and practices and this is not common within the context of our work.
Olfat: As the Director I develop and manage existing and new projects as well as monitor the progress of the community to ensure our programs are adapting with their needs.
Fran: Tell us about the communities you are working with and the issues they face? Olfat: We recognise that women are part of a larger community with husbands, children and extended family so our programs aim to work with women in the context in which they live. Some of the primary issues faced by women living in these communities are: a lack of access to equal rights; difficulties accessing education and health services; limited space which has serious impact on mental health and psychological wellbeing; inadequate infrastructure such as reliable access to water and electricity; and poor representation at the government level. More recently the war in Syria has seen an increase of new people moving into the camps, which has caused additional tensions and strains on resources within the local community. In spite of these environmental and political challenges there are very strong social and communal networks within the camps. People are extremely hospitable and open to new ideas and have a great sense of humour and ability to constantly overcome daily challenges.
Fran: Can you explain how PWHO promote the rights and livelihoods of women? PWHO has a strong focus on supporting the education and employment needs of women. Since 1993 we have been operating a nursery/kindergarten for mothers living in the camp. This service enables women to go to work and carry out other familial roles with the knowledge that their children are being looked after in a safe space. Women place high value on their children having a strong education but often find it challenging to support the learning needs of their children. To address this issue PWHO operates a youth centre that provides children and youth support with their homework. The service also provides support to parents through home visits as well as recreation opportunities for youth. The centre operates both formal programs such as education sessions on various topics including: human rights and broader contextual issues outside the camp, health and parenting, beauty care, and cooking as well as a drop-in centre where women can come if they need space. Fran: What projects are PWHO currently working on and how are these outcomes benefiting women in these communities? Olfat: We implement a girls’ youth group which aims to empower young girls and educate them about their rights, as well as provide opportunities for them to learn and engage in community activities. The group is inclusive of both boys and girls because PWHO recognises the importance of changing attitudes of a whole generation. PWHO also provides a health program. Our work focuses on middle-aged women and the elderly because there is limited health and psychosocial support for women post childbearing age.
Right > Burj-Barajneh Camp, Beirut, Lebanon. Photo > Cassandra Mathie
We also operate two projects throughout Lebanon for persons with disabilities. A rehabilitation and early intervention centre in the south of Lebanon and a social activities group in Beirut. Women are usually the primary carers for children and persons with disabilities, these programs support these women to meet the needs of their family members. Given the war in Syria and the influx of new residents into the camps recently, PWHO has begun to provide relief support where it is needed. These programs have focused on providing women’s hygiene kits, food parcels, peer support and assisting women to establish networks in the community. Fran: What overall contributions have Australian volunteers made to PWHO since the organisation’s partnership began with AVI 15 years ago? Olfat: We want to continue our work and commitment to supporting our community but can’t do this without support from the international community. Throughout the years Australian volunteers have been involved in many different roles within the organisation. They have introduced staff to new practices in health and wellbeing, as well as increasing the scope of practice and encouraging staff to think broadly and holistically. Exchange experiences provide opportunities for staff to explore practices that do and don’t work whilst supporting the organisation to grow in confidence. Volunteers have also helped us to identify new service needs within the community and assist us to set up new programs. We have had a physiotherapy volunteer assist us in setting up a local physiotherapy service, and a social work volunteer at our kindergarten to support staff to understand psychosocial development and integrate this knowledge into their practices. AVI send volunteers with skills and experiences that support the needs of our organisation, so it is easy for us to include them in our work. Fran: What have you learnt from having volunteers in your organisation? Olfat: Through our experiences working with volunteers we have learnt many things. People can work together despite different cultural beliefs and values, and there are different ways to do things. Being people-centered and flexible to try new and different approaches is important. The presence of volunteers in our organisation has reassured us that people are still interested in the Palestinian issue. Sometimes as a community we feel like the world has forgotten us - volunteers remind us that people are still interested. Knowing this raises morale both in our organisation and the broader community.
AVI is working in partnership with PWHO through the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative. 15
Above > Burj-Barajneh Camp, Beirut, Lebanon. Photo > Cassandra Mathie
Above > Burj-Barajneh Camp, Beirut, Lebanon. Photo > Cassandra Mathie
Partner Organisation Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation
Sustaining a Community By Stephanie Shavin
AVI has supported the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO) for over 15 years by sending skilled volunteers to support their locally-identified programs. Returned volunteer, Stephanie Shavin, spent a year in Lebanon working as a Social Worker and shares her experience of working in Burj-Barajneh Refugee Camp.
Burj-Barajneh Refugee Camp is located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. The camp was established in 1948 to accommodate Palestinians fleeing from Israel and is now home to over 27,000 people. This number continues to swell as displaced individuals and families from Syria, both Palestinian and nonPalestinian heritage, seek refuge within the one square kilometre space. The influx of Syrian refugees is one of the latest challenges faced by the camp’s community; stretching existing resources such as food and education services and putting further pressure on unregulated and poorly maintained infrastructure and sanitation. In addition, the systematic political and social exclusion of Palestinian communities living in Lebanon has meant that it is left up to organisations such as United Nations Relief and Works Agency and local NGO’s such as PWHO to ensure that adults and children have access to basic service such as education, health and income-generating opportunities. PWHO predominantly works with women, young people and children, elderly members of the community and those living with disabilities and intellectual impairments. Most of my days were divided amongst a predominantly female staff group. We supported individuals to develop and implement new skills and provided psychosocial support to PWHO beneficiaries, both during program activities and during home visits. I was in the privileged position of working with some highly-skilled staff in the kindergarten, after school centre, disability group and women’s centre. We engaged in training and information sessions with the staff to support them in identifying gaps or challenges in their programs, so we could begin working together to overcome these issues. The other half of my time was spent working with our Programs Coordinator, Director and project staff to design new projects, and develop funding proposals intended to address emerging needs within the existing community.
together to forge relationships based on trust and support. Parents supporting their children to attend additional educational activities to overcome some of the challenges they face in school. Young people engaging in awareness raising activities within their community and participating to increase the broader communities understanding of pertinent issues, including the rights of women and children. Staff, working alongside their neighbours, families, friends and other community members to create a better future for the lives of Palestinians, and those recently displaced from Syria, in Lebanon. Most of the challenges I encountered during my assignment related to the political and security instability that characterises Lebanon. Often this instability resulted in necessary shifts in organisational priorities. This made planning too far ahead challenging as the everchanging context meant that program activities often needed to be adapted or changed completely. Many staff also lived within, and belonged to the camp community, and were personally effected by shifts in the political and security landscape. Despite this they continued to dedicate themselves to supporting the community as a whole. It is my hope that the community’s situation improves and changes so that in the future the organisation is no longer required. Until this happens I hope that the organisation continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the community, and for the staff to continue to be supported in the development of new skills and learnings so that they in turn can continue to support the empowerment of the community in which they live and work. This is a position of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
During my time volunteering with PWHO I witnessed the strength and resilience of the community to not only withstand, but fight to overcome some of the many issues arising from the systemic exclusion they experience on a daily basis. Women working 17
Restless Development By Fran Noonan
In India too many young people do not have adequate access to the health services, education and social support services. Restless Development professionally train and support young Volunteer Development Professionals to help spread knowledge, develop skills and address priority issues within their communities. Country Director, Aparajita Dhar, talks to AVI Communications Coordinator, Fran Noonan, about how Restless Development is improving the livelihoods of Indian youth. Fran: Briefly outline the history of Restless Development. Aparajita: Restless Development started as a UK charity called Students Partnership Worldwide in 1985. In 2010 we rebranded ourselves and started calling ourselves Restless Development, in reference to young people who are often restless with energy. We wanted to build on this positive energy, converting it into positive development and transformative change. I’ve been working with this organisation for two and half years as the head of the country program in Delhi, India. We are working in four states in India and have been going through huge amounts of growth and expansion. We now have 28 full time-staff in 11 offices around India. Our key area is working with young people; all the work we do is done by and for young people. We have three goal areas of focus: livelihoods and employment, civic participation and governance and young people in health, with a key focus on improving sexual reproductive health rights. Fran: Can you tell us about the relationship between Restless Development and PACE International? Aparajita: We have been working with the PACE International for a long time now. We receive four or five volunteers from Macquarie University as interns twice a year. The student volunteers actually come with a lot of skills and have contributed quite a lot to the programs we run. In return Restless Development is able to give students a good understanding of working from a development perspective, in particular how to work with young people. For volunteers with an open mind and a willingness to learn, this has translated into a good relationship. Fran: Can you provide examples of the communities you are working with and some of the issues they are facing? Aparajita: The three states we work in north India are some of the poorest in the country. We work in very remote, rural pockets where people don’t have access to information, education or sufficient health facilities. So it is quite challenging, but a huge opportunity to bring about change in these settings. 18
In south India we work in Tamil Nadu, which comparatively is not so poor, but the social problems are still immense. The caste system is very prominent in Tamil Nadu and it is often where the discrimination happens. Gender is also quite a big issue in India and often young girls don’t have the same voice as boys. We have female infanticide where the parents kill the girls before they are born, as they can’t afford the dowry system. Often girls are not sent to school, or if they do go they might finish higher studies but are then they are married off early. When girls are married they are required to live in their in-laws house, and don’t often have any say in the decision-making processes. These are some of the big issues that we at Restless Development are working with. We want to see change happening between young boys and young girls in taking up leadership roles for positive transformation. Fran: What are some of the programs you are working on to make positive development changes? Aparajita: Our philosophy is to work with young people and keep them at the forefront of change and development. When we go to a community we identify potential young leaders and provide them with a 21-day residential course focusing on life skills, leadership, assertiveness and communication. Once this training is done they go back to their communities and volunteer for 11 months with young people from their communities. They also work with parents, teachers and community gatekeepers such as community leaders, religious leaders or government officials. We believe giving young people a voice and accepting them as equal partners in development. Communities have to accept young people as having potential, not as a problem. Communities must acknowledge that they must be equal participants in the development journey. By using this method the youth are accepted as leaders today and tomorrow. Fran: Can you explain more about the work you are doing around health programs with young people? Aparajita: We start from basic health and hygiene, something that is so often neglected in Indian communities. We also work with young people around sexual and reproductive health rights. We all know that sexuality is such a taboo topic in India, so it
Macquarie University PACE International
makes a huge amount of sense to start talking when people are young, and working with their peers. We do a lot of work around this topic and use mediums such as dance and other folk forms such as music, role plays and theatre, to ‘break the ice’, so people open up, and feel comfortable to talk about all these things. It’s very innovative work we do using these informal techniques. Fran: Has this technique proved successful with young people participating in the programs? Aparajita: It has been quite an amazing journey. We have seen that people don’t really feel very comfortable initially but once the ice has been broken, through dance, music or theatre, they are more likely to open up and start talking. We’ve had some tremendous sessions where people have come up with such brilliant questions on issues around gender. We’ve then been able to talk about these issues. Adults will generally not encourage these types of discussions, but young people wanted a space to have these chats, so it has been an amazing program with very good results. Fran: What type of work have the PACE students done with Restless Development in the past? Aparajita: They have been doing a lot of work in community outreach projects and livelihoods programs, things such as: career fairs, working on health and HIV prevention programs, sexual reproductive health rights, kitchen gardens, compost making and improving sanitation. The PACE students have worked with our monitoring, evaluation and research team, and very recently we have also involved them in our organisational communications, where they have developed youth friendly communication materials. They have helped us create a lot of online material, which we can use to reach out to young people who are tech savvy. Fran: What do PACE participants generally find most rewarding? Aparajita: I think from debriefs and talking with staff, Macquarie University students find working with young people most rewarding. The young people from the communities often have the same hopes, aspirations and thoughts at the Macquarie students, it’s just that they are from a different country and different culture. So that interaction is very rewarding for them. Most importantly is the fun that we have, we work in a very happy environment, we are always smiling, joking and having fun while doing serious business as well. AVI works in partnership with Restless Development through PACE International, a Macquarie University initiative.
Above top and bottom > PACE International participants working with students for a Restless Development Dance 4 Life HIV/AIDS awareness campaign activity in Tamil Nadu, India. Middle > Health and sanitation awareness murals produced by Restless Development. Photos > Courtesy PACE International
Comment Professor Judyth Sachs
Sustainable Learning at Macquarie University By Professor Judyth Sachs Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Macquarie University
Sustainability is one of those ubiquitous terms - we read it in policy documents, strategic plans and even in marketing materials. But do we take the time to ask ourselves what it means and how it can be applied to the institutions in which we work? For some it is front of mind and these people live and breathe it, while for others there may be passing acknowledgement for compliance purposes. In this contribution I want to reflect on what sustainability looks like in practice in a University and what lessons we have learned in implementing it as a cross-university academic priority. Macquarie University has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. The work of Macquarie ensures the integration of sustainability principles into the work of academic and professional portfolios alike. Our website clearly articulates the vision for sustainable practices within the university. ‘Over time, we have come to understand that sustainability is not a program, nor even a set of priorities. Rather it requires changes to our way of thinking, decision-making and our actions. At Macquarie, we have acknowledged this and are seriously beginning to challenge our organisational patterns, attempting to work across structures and embody principles of sustainability into all that we do’. In learning and teaching, a focus on sustainability endeavours to ensure that all students become socially and environmentally responsible citizens. As one of the guiding principles underpinning Macquarie’s graduate capability framework - sustainable learning and teaching is part of our DNA. It is central to curriculum design, delivery and the student experience. In its implementation it is an inclusive concept, which emphasises participation, resource sharing, mentoring, collaboration and lifelong learning. The content of our curriculum means that sustainability is integrated into the content of what students learn and how they learn. Our PACE program builds on the traditions of practice-based learning – common in professions such as teaching, engineering and the health sciences – and also that of service learning or student volunteering. PACE projects broaden opportunities for all students and embeds them firmly within a rigorous academic framework and curriculum. This results in real and tangible learning outcomes and authentic learning assessments. Fundamental to the success and sustainability of PACE is acknowledgement of the centrality of mutual learning and how this contributes to change not only at the individual level but also that of the organisation. Systematic inquiry 20
through research provides a unique opportunity for organisations to look at how they do their work, how it impacts internally and externally and how it builds capability of people. Given that partnerships are fundamental to the success of PACE, ensuring that these are ongoing and sustainable is an ongoing challenge. So how do we do this? First and foremost it requires the development of a strong relationship between the partner organisation and the University, usually among key stakeholders. The building of trust and recognition of the value to both parties then follows. Clearly this takes time, effort and effective communication from both sides. Importantly it also demands that expectations of what is possible be made explicitly up front. The external organisations and students need to be aligned especially since students’ time constraints and assessment requirements are integral to the success of the partnership. There is no room for ambiguity and as these are formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding, clear contractual arrangements are set in place. We have worked in partnership with AVI to deliver the PACE program for nearly four years. Initially I visited AVI and talked with CEO, Dimity Fifer, to see if she was interested in working with Macquarie. Fortunately Dimity embraced the idea immediately. Like any relationship both the University and AVI had to understand the culture and constraints under which both organisations operated. Governance and advisory structures had to be founded and appropriate communication channels set up. These are now well established and their successful operation clearly demonstrates the importance and necessity of personal relationships, mutual respect and trust. In the past few years we have learned a lot about the implemenation and integration of the principles and practices of sustainability. Stewardship and support must come from the top with resources allocated to support it. Sustainability is not a stand alone activity it needs to be incorporated into the values, behaviours and practices of all parts of the institution - academic and non academic and sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. Sustainability at Macquarie is still a work in progress, but we have made great strides to incorporate it into all aspects of the organisation and will continue to do so.
AVI works in partnership with Macquarie University to deliver PACE International, a Macquarie University initiative.
Left > Returned volunteers Mara Scheiders and Christine Drew in Launceston. Middle > Returned volunteers Ian McDonald and Lina Scalzo in Bendigo. Right > Launceston CIty Council Alderman, Cr Ian Norton and CEO of Rescue Reptile Inc. Photos > Jane Noonan
AVID Volunteer Stories By Jane Noonan In November this year, Australian Volunteers International hosted AVID Volunteer Stories in two regional centres of Australia with the support of the Australian Government. The events in Tasmania and Victoria highlighted the amazing contributions everyday Australians are making to improve the livelihood of hundreds of developing communities around the globe. Capturing the traditional art of storytelling, Volunteer Stories saw Returned Volunteers from Bendigo and Launceston entertain and inspire audiences with tales of life-changing experiences gained from their overseas volunteer assignments. With many guests from the wider community attending the events, Volunteer Stories showcased the links regional Australians have built over many decades with overseas communities and AVI. Launcestonians were treated to the first of the Volunteer Storytelling evenings at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on 19 November. Two returned volunteers, Christine Drew and Mara Schneiders enthralled the audience with the triumphs and tribulations of their adventures working in Lesotho and Cambodia.
as a Secondary School Chemistry Teacher, while Lina shared her stories of working as a Finance Officer in Fiji. Despite the diversity of their locations and time of assignment, both volunteers agreed that their volunteer experience has shaped their lives and continued to have an impact long after their return home. Local volunteer hero and founder of the Bendigo for Homeless Youth Foundation (BFHY), Luke Owens spoke powerfully about the importance of volunteering after recognising a desperate need to help combat child and teenage homelessness in the Bendigo region. Luke founded a successful fundraising campaign raising over $500,000 to fund a bricks and mortar social housing project. Missed out on a Volunteer Stories event? You can hear from a range of returned volunteers from regional Australia via our online videos at www.australianvolunteers.com Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), is an Australian Government initiative.
Christine spoke of life as a Programs Adviser at the Lesotho Evangelical Church Southern Africa Women’s Program, while Mara entertained with stories of her volunteer experience as a Social Work Practicum Adviser at Cambodia’s Royal University of Phnom Penh. Launceston City Council Alderman, Cr Ian Norton, spoke passionately about how enriching volunteer work is, with a particular focus on local volunteering efforts and his own voluntary work as the CEO of Reptile Rescue Inc. Volunteer Stories travelled onwards to Bendigo and AVI returned volunteers, Ian McDonald and Lina Scalzo, inspired the audience at the Hotel Shamrock Bendigo on 26 November. Ian spoke of his experiences as one of AVI’s early volunteers in the Solomon Islands 21
Aboriginal Volunteer Program Oodnadatta
Aboriginal Volunteer Program: A Collaborative Effort By Christine Crosby
In May 2013, Alice Krakouer from Maddington, Western Australia; KhawanhaRose Powyer from Roma, Queensland; and Cristal Walters from Berkeley Park, New South Wales travelled to Oodnadatta, South Australia, to participate in the 10-week Aboriginal Volunteer Program (AVP). The AVP, a collaborative effort between community leaders in Oodnadatta, Volunteering SA & NT, South Australiaâ€™s Aboriginal Reference Group and Australian Volunteers International (AVI), provides opportunities for young Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in a group volunteer experience in a remote Aboriginal community. As the second group of volunteers to participate in the AVP, the work of Alice, Khawanha-Rose and Cristal, built on the projects and partnerships developed by the first AVP volunteers in 2012 and the community of Oodnadatta. Following is a snapshot of the outcomes of the community-led projects undertaken as part of the AVP 2013.
Vegetable Gardens and Fruit Trees for the Elders Project The 2013 AVP volunteers planted fruit trees and created more garden beds for the Elders and staff based at the Oodnadatta Home and Community Care (Aged-Care) Facility. Elders still continue to use their individual gardens developed by volunteers from the previous year. The gardens and trees have responded to the Eldersâ€™ vision of having better access to fresh fruit and vegetables, a vital source of food and nutrition. Using produce from the gardens, one Elder is now making chilli chutney for the local community. Alice, Khawanha-Rose and Cristal also ensured each Elder at the Home had the necessary tools and equipment (and access to help in the community if needed) to support the continued maintenance and use of their gardens. In 2013, volunteers worked with health centre staff to plant fruit trees in the backyard of the health centre. This provided an additional healthy food source that will be made available to the community once crops are produced. This activity follows on from work done by previous AVP volunteers who worked in partnership with the staff members to create an initial design using the local experience of arid garden specialists.
Oodnadatta Aboriginal School – Reading and Comprehension
AVP volunteers continued to support the work of local teachers to improve local literacy levels. Volunteers worked with primary students on comprehension tasks which would support the student’s ability to complete and participate in national tests.
Dunjiba Community Council – Beautification Project
The Women’s Shed Project
In 2012, with the support of AVP volunteers, local Aboriginal women instigated a project to undertake major repairs of the local Women’s Shed. It is a valuable community space, where women come together to create artwork and run local activities. With the AVP volunteers local women created handcrafts and made furniture and curtains using locally sourced and recycled materials for Oodnadatta community members. In September 2013 the women sold their first painting from the Women’s Shed.
Dust Mitigation Action
Dunjiba Community Council office and meeting centre is a space that is part of daily life for many community members. AVP volunteers worked with local volunteers to clear and decorate the Council’s entrance area. Recycled tyres were painted brightly to create colourful garden beds. For the meeting centre, AVP volunteers ran a community art project with local children to decorate the centre’s curtains with their hand prints.
Positive Role Modelling
Alice, Khawanha-Rose and Cristal have described their experience in Oodnadatta as personally transformational. Feedback from the local community has also highlighted the volunteers as having a personal impact on local youth and providing them with positive role models. The AVP volunteers involved local youth and the wider community in a range of creative activities including painting and tie-dying t-shirts.
In 2012 over 90 citrus trees were planted at the Oodnadatta Aboriginal School by AVP volunteers and community members. This assisted in creating a wind-break to separate the school grounds from the desert and providing access to a source of Vitamin C for school students and the community. In 2013, AVP volunteers worked with school staff and local volunteers to plant out more fruit trees, grapevines and citrus trees at the school.
For more information on the Aboriginal Volunteer Program visit www.australianvolunteers.com/avp
Photos > Cristal Waters
AVI Partnership The Road Less Travelled
Community at the Core of Development By James Senjura, Sarah Lansanyane and Phillip Walker
AVI’s partners in The Road Less Travelled project are laying the foundations for sustainable development in the nomadic pastoralist communities of Kenya. James Senjura, Sarah Lansanyane (both from Mothers’ Union) and Phillip Walker (Anglican Overseas Aid) discuss the introduction of the first inclusive developmental structure in these communities. At the heart of The Road Less Travelled (TRLT) project in Kenya are the Maasai and Samburu nomadic pastoralist communities. The project uses a strength-based approach, formed on the understanding that each community has its own skills and assets, and often unrealised potential, which can assist them in identifying and achieving solutions to the challenges faced. The formation of inclusive Community Development Committees (CDCs) is a cornerstone of the project. This represents a significant change process for these communities, as it is the first time they have had an inclusive developmental structure to voice their issues. Before the CDCs were formed, the TRLT Project Officers visited each community, obtaining permission from authorities and traditional leaders to proceed. They held meetings to discuss the project and its aims, along with the role and function of the committee, and the criteria for its formation. This process culminated in community-wide meetings where the CDCs were elected. 40 percent of each CDC is to be made up of women; however in the past this has been inadequate, given that cultural norms often result in women remaining silent and deferring to males for key decisions. To combat this, the TRLT project team has been working patiently to strengthen the confidence and ability of elected women to take active leading roles, as well as promoting women who already have the confidence to challenge male authority. Literacy training has helped women overcome the constraints that prevent them from being actively engaged when minutes are taken or written materials distributed. One of the first tasks of the elected CDCs was to use the strengthbased methodology to break the old development paradigm, and shift to concepts promoting a community’s self-reliance. They were taken through a simplified ‘appreciative inquiry’ process, to articulate a vision for the community and an action plan to achieve it. They took part in assets and resource mapping to identify not only the physical attributes, but also the skills, institutional linkages, and other less-obvious capacities that exist within each community.
Typically, initial action plans developed by CDCs were overoptimistic and required a reiterative process to make the plans practical. The committees then identified an initial activity that met an expressed need, fell within project parameters, and was achievable by the CDC and community. Identified projects to date have been water schemes, food gardens, early childhood development and/or literacy projects. The value of this approach is that TRLT can facilitate and support the CDC to implement a relatively straightforward development activity – resulting in increased CDC confidence, and strong bonds between the CDC/ community and the project team. This has led to a collective willingness to tackle together some of the more challenging aspects of the comprehensive maternal and child health project. The approach to project activities is also designed to lead to sustainability, as CDCs are trained to be able to replicate tasks independently. On a water project, for example, CDC members are assisted to directly engage with government departments to obtain the necessary approvals, and then skilled artisans train local people in construction techniques. In Kenya, the Morupusi CDC is an example of the success of community empowerment models, having self-initiated a sanitation construction and hygiene promotion campaign, which is carried out by Community Health Workers trained through the project. Sustainability is beginning to take root, with project initiatives and impact likely to endure beyond the lifespan of the project. The ultimate goal is to eventually have the CDC managing relations directly with the government, and also to be engaging with and managing all development interventions within their community. In this sense the CDC, as representative of the community, becomes the service delivery partner of government. For the TRLT project, the ultimate measure of success will be that the CDC is credited with substantive improvement in the health and wellbeing of women and children, and the associated benefits for their whole community. This is an excerpt from a longer article published on The Road Less Travelled project blog. To read this and other stories, visit: www.aroadlesstravelled.net/blog The Road Less Travelled is being delivered by Anglican Overseas Aid, in partnership with the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (Ethiopia), the Mothers’ Union (Kenya), the Nossal Institute for Global Health and Australian Volunteers International.
Opposite > Women must make up at least 40 percent of the Community Development Committee, and the TRLT project team works to strengthen the confidence and ability of elected women to take active leading roles in their community’s development initiatives. Photos > Matthew Willman / Anglican Overseas Aid
Reforming the Marshall Islands Energy Sector By Christine Crosby
In 2005 the Government of the Marshall Islands (RMI) recognised its nation was at risk of an economic and food security crisis if it failed to implement a program of change in the nation’s energy sector. AVI Marketing and Communication Manager Christine Crosby highlights how RMI is making significant progress towards responding to this crisis and implementing the nation’s energy vision. In the face of the 2005 economic and food security crisis, RMI was met with an Economic Emergency Declaration. This raised the profile of high costs in energy, in particular, fossil fuel based energy sources. For the 53,158 people who inhabit the North Pacific nation, their energy needs are completely dependent on imported oil. It accounts for approximately 90 percent of the national energy supply. The Government realised it not only faced a future of uncertainty around fuel prices and a growing dependence on fossil fuels, but also acknowledged a major local skills gap was a key obstacle to rolling out visionary energy reforms. According to Mr Tommy Kijner, RMI’s former Secretary of Resources and Development, one of the greatest challenges for the Ministry of Resources and Development to implement its National Energy Policy and Energy Action Plan was the lack of trained personnel. “In mid-2008, before declaring the state of economic emergency the Ministries’ Energy Planning Division (EPD) had a total of one staff member,” he said. “What became very clear during the recruitment process for new staff, was that there was a lack of trained Marshallese in the energy sector.” In response to this challenge, the Ministry prioritised the need to look beyond RMI to find the right human resources to roll out the nation’s energy vision. “While we have had ongoing funding support from a range of development partners for our energy sector through the Australian Government/RMI’s Partnership for Development, the European Union and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, there was a fundamental need to work with these partnerships to access assistance to train local Marshallese.” The Ministry recognised that Australian Government’s Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism (PACTAM), a program delivered by Australian Volunteers International, could provide the critical link to responding to the skills gap and training needs of RMI’s energy sector.
With the assistance of PACTAM, the Ministry has successfully sourced the expertise of three global energy specialists over the past four years. As a result the commitment of the partnership and cooperation with the Australian Government and the PACTAM specialists, the Marshall Islands has gained access to the specialised skills to achieve the objectives of the National Energy Policy and Energy Action Plan. In February 2012 Robert Leo was recruited through PACTAM to work in the role as the EPD’s Energy Specialist in RMI. Working alongside, Ms Rebecca Lorennij, the RMI’s current Secretary for Resources and Development, Robert has focused on achieving the objectives of the National Energy Policy and Energy Action Plan. “To deliver the objectives of the National Energy Policy and Energy Action, it has been vital that RMI can also focus on capacity building in the energy sector,” Ms Lorennij said. “Robert’s work with local staff in the EPD and energy sector is highly valued and we have seen great improvements across the industry since his arrival.” One major milestone for the EPD and Mr Leo has been their work with the Marshall’s Energy Company (MEC) to negotiate a new long-term fuel supply contract. “In improving the fuel supply contract we have saved up to USD$4 million annually for the nation and this is providing much needed funds to proceed with power plant and MEC petroleum sector improvements,” Mr Leo said. “For the EPD this was a major result, coupled with other areas such as fuel quality specification, testing, and people skills we’ve had to reform or improve. The EPD team has established a petroleum reform strategy and action plan with the MEC and played a core role in identifying areas of improvement in safety, fuel quality, inventory control, engineering standards, people development and safety and environmental management at both MEC and KAJUR petroleum and power plant facilities. All these actions, Mr Leo said, have contributed to increased skills and dialogue across RMI’s energy sector. “With this sector-wide focus and ability to work to a national energy security plan, the EPD has had the capacity to work with all stakeholders to identify skills gaps, efficiencies, cost savings, environmental solutions and risks,” Mr Leo said. “This extensive program of change that is increasing the standard of RMI’s energy sector is ultimately improving the lives of the Marshallese, which is the key objective of the National Energy Policy and Energy Action Plan and Australian Government/RMI’s Partnership for Development.” The Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism (PACTAM) is an Australian aid initiative managed by AVI.
Top left > Conducting an assessment of Marshallâ€™s Energy Company Fuel Flash Point Analysis. Top right > Office of the Marshall Islands Ministry of Resources and Development. Centre > Conducting a KAJUR Oil Waste Audit. Bottom left > (l-r) PACTAM Energy Specialist Robert Leo, National Energy Planner Angelina Heine and National Energy Officer Walter Myazoe. Bottom right > The MEC Tank Farm Project Team. Photos > Emily Cormack / Robert Leo
Friends of AVI
Friends of AVI Sharing Sustainable Ideas
IIVN Launches Blog
By Cindy Angel
By Christine Crosby
Some of Melbourne’s brightest young minds got together at AVI’s Fitzroy Office on 5 October 2013 to attend The Development Unconference, co-hosted by Friends of AVI and the Melbourne Development Circle. The day brought together 90 development professionals, students and people interested in social enterprise and international development, and gave them an opportunity share ideas and learn more about global issues and sustainable solutions. The participant-driven event saw attendees make presentations and participate in round table discussions, to critique current development processes and debate best practice opportunities. Friends of AVI Coordinator, Cindy Angel said that the day was an overwhelming success. “It is so important to get youth involved in the development challenges we are currently facing as they will be the leaders providing solutions in the future,” she said. “The dialogue from the day was really positive. We had people from very diverse backgrounds connecting with other like-minded people about issues they were really passionate about.” Friends of AVI are a network of people interested in living in a world that actively promotes global citizenship, learning about global issues, sustainable development and international volunteering. Friends of AVI has now launched in every Australian State and Territory and welcomed over 500 Friends to its network. To become a Friend of AVI: www.australianvolunteers.com/friends-signup To find out about future events: www.facebook.com/friendsofavi
Photo > Harjono Djoyobisono
To further increase engagement with the International Indigenous Volunteer Network (IIVN), the network recently launched the IIVN blog. Proudly supported by Australian Volunteers International and the Australian Government, the IIVN has been established for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share their international experiences with their friends, families and communities. Through these stories of international volunteering, working or learning overseas, IIVN supporters can highlight how a global experience can support professional, personal and a community’s development program. The blog will also provide an avenue for the IIVN to promote overseas opportunities for Indigenous Australians through programs such as the Australian Government’s Australian Volunteers for International Development. IIVN is a free network for Aboriginal and Torres Islander people. Sign up as an IIVN supporter, share your story and be a part of IIVN events and activities. Sign up or find out more at www.iivn.org.au
Australian Partner Organisation Trinh Foundation Australia
Vietnam Celebrates First Speech Therapy Graduates By Alison Ford Eighteen million Vietnamese suffer from communication and swallowing disorders, and until recently have had no access to trained speech therapists. In 2008 three organisations began partnering to develop Vietnam’s first post-graduate speech therapy course. They were the Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA), the University Pham Ngoc Thach, and the Ear Nose and Throat Hospital of Ho Chi Minh City. Since 2010 AVI has provided volunteers through the Australian Government’s Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program, to support this exciting endeavour. The Trinh Foundation Australia is an Australian Partner Organisation (APO) helping enhance the success and sustainability of the AVID volunteers’ work. As an APO, Trinh briefs new volunteers on the context of their role, mentors them and provides technical advice. The sustainable impact of this course begins with the Vietnamese health professionals’ increased capacity to deliver speech therapy, starting with the first cohort of graduates in 2012; the pool of locally trained professionals equipped to teach others grows each year; and the university and hospital are gradually taking over delivery of the course.
because of new understanding surrounding her swallowing difficulties.” Sue said. ‘It is particularly satisfying to observe that this assistance is no longer coming directly from Australian speech pathologists, but from their own countrymen and women, who are now acquiring the skills to deliver speech therapy services themselves.” Sue said that while TFA have contributed the specific knowledge and clinical expertise, AVI has provided valuable input not only with respect to selecting and supporting volunteers, but also with providing valuable knowledge and insights into the Vietnamese culture and government systems to help progress this project. Australian Partner Organisations are Australian-based organisations lending valuable support to AVID volunteer assignments and their overseas partner organisations.
Sue Woodward, a Director of Trinh, says the sustainability of the project is reflected daily. “It is satisfying to observe a young cerebral palsy child who, as a result of speech therapy intervention, has access to communication systems instead of lying on a floor staring into space, and is no longer fearful of choking at every mealtime
Events 2014 February 14-16 February Sustainable Living Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne. More information at www.slf.org.au 17 February to 18 March AVI Volunteer Recruitment Drive – hundreds of roles in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Find out more at www.australianvolunteers.com
March 7-10 March WOMADelaide, Botanic Park, Adelaide. Find out more at www.womadelaide.com.au 8-25 March AVI Information Session Roadshow – Parramatta, Newtown (Sydney), Brisbane, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart. RSVP at www.australianvolunteers.com Dates may be subject to change
Above > Students practicing keyword signing at University of Pham Ngoc Tach. Photo > University of Pham Ngoc Tach
14-15 March Victorian Local Governance Association presents Working Together for Timor-Leste: The Next 10 Years – Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre, Preston, Victoria. RSVP at www.timorlesteconference2014.com.au 24-28 March WASH 2014 Conference – Novotel, Brisbane. More information at www.watercentre.org
May 8-22 May Human Rights Arts and Film Festival – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and more. More details at www.hraff.org.au
June 10-25 June AVI Information Session Roadshow – Newtown (Sydney), Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Ballarat. RSVP at www.australianvolunteers.com
July 20-25 July 20th International AIDS Conference – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne. Find out more at www.aids2014.org
A Letter to Supporters from the Outgoing Chair of AVI, Justice Richard Refshauge Above > (l-r) Teachers David Fowler and Richard Refshauge in Papua New Guinea, 1965. Photo > AVI I would like to share with you one of the key things I will take away from my almost 50 year relationship with Australian Volunteers International (AVI). First, however, I would like to convey my deepest thanks and gratitude to you for being a supporter of AVI’s work. Thank you for your commitment to a world without poverty and for being a globally minded citizen. Thanks also from the Board, the CEO, the staff at AVI and the communities we work to support every day. Very briefly, my experience with AVI started in 1965. I was a fresh-faced and eager graduate of just 18 years of age, embarking on a teaching assignment in Papua New Guinea (PNG). I had barely left Canberra before, let alone travelled overseas. Living with locals in PNG, I learnt something incredibly valuable for my life and career. I discovered the power and importance of peopleto-people contributions to achieve our vision for a just world, free from poverty. It’s the personal interactions and connections that make us realise we are all human. We are all valuable and all have the right to reach our potential. AVI has taught me that people are the answer to solving the inequities in our world. This vision is echoed in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, chaired by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The resultant report expressed that forging partnerships is “the most important transformational shift towards a new spirit of solidarity that will underpin a post Millennium Development Goal agenda… a new partnership should be based on a common understanding of our shared humanity, mutual respect and mutual benefit in a shrinking world.” It’s validating to see many of the foundations of AVI’s approach to development gain traction in the global community. The United Nations’ leaders feel great optimism that ending poverty through sustainable development is possible within our generation. I agree, and encourage you to ask yourself; will you be an active contributor to this transformation that will enable all humans to flourish? AVI’s investment in people and partnership truly makes a difference. As I write, almost 50 years from first setting foot in PNG with AVI, it is with sadness, but great pride, that I leave the official duties as Chair of the AVI Board, a role I have enjoyed for five years. It is also an honour to introduce AVI’s incoming Chair, Kathleen Townsend, a returned volunteer to Malaysia in 1979. Kathleen’s extensive experience will ensure AVI continues to be a leader in people-centred development. Wishing you a safe and happy New Year. Please give generously to AVI if you can. Yours sincerely,
Justice Richard Refshauge
AVI WOULD LIKE TO GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE OUR AUSTRALIAN SUPPORTERS:
Australian Volunteer is AVI’s free magazine, published twice a year. Contributions and good quality photographs are encouraged. Send enquiries and submissions to: The Editor, Australian Volunteer, PO Box 350, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065, Australia. Email > firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions > If this copy was not mailed personally to you, sign up as a member at our website: www.australianvolunteers.com and choose to receive new issues. Unsubscribe > email@example.com Advertising enquiries > mystory@ australianvolunteers.com Editors > Fran Noonan, Christine Crosby Sub-editor > Dan Sybaczynkyj Graphic Design > Bree Manley Printing > David Alexander (printed on recycled paper) Distribution > Complete Mailing (posted in biodegradable plastic wrap) Cover > Australian volunteer Agriculture Specialist, Pyrou Chung, works with the Maasai Women’s Development Organisation (MWEDO). Based in Arusha, Tanzania, Pyrou also spends time working in the rural communities of Kiteto and Longido. From the classroom to the field, the work is very hands-on and practical, giving the students opportunities to learn and understand about the environment and sustainable livelihoods. Inside cover > A snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro rises up 5895 metres above sea level. Australian volunteers working in Arusha and Moshi enjoy endless views of this mountain in East Africa.
Ainaro Midwife Support Committee Anglican Board of Mission Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia & the Pacific Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Baptist World Aid Australia Blue Mountains East Timor Friendship Committee CBM CBM-Nossal Partnership Friends of Baguia Friends of Aileu Friends of Same Friends of Maliana Friends of Venilale Good Shepherd Australia Live and Learn Environmental Education Australia Marist Asia-Pacific Solidarity Menzies School of Health Research MESCH (Medical Sustainable Educational Community Help) Motivation Australia Order of Malta Centre for International Child Health Ryder Cheshire Foundation Australia Trinh Foundation Australia Ltd Zoos Victoria
Photos > Matthew Willman
Our Board Ms Kathy Townsend (Chair) Ms Alison Crook AO (Deputy Chair) Mr Robert McLean (Deputy Chair) Mr Kurt Fearnley OAM Ms Jenny McGregor Ms Sam Mostyn Mr Greg Thompson
Our President Ms Margaret Jackson AC
Our Life Members Mr Bill Armstrong AO Mrs Betty Feith Dr Bob Meyenn Mr Hugh O’Neill AO
Our Patrons Evonne Goolagong Cawley AO, MBE Dame Carol Kidu Hon E G Whitlam AC, QC Hon Elizabeth Evatt AC Hon Jose Ramos Horta Hon Michael Kirby AC, CMG Sir Gustav Nossal AC, CBE Prof Lowitja O’Donoghue AC, CBE Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC
Our Programs > Aboriginal Volunteer Program - Oodnadatta > Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) > Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES) > Cambodian Midwives Education Project > Classic Wallabies’ Exchange > Friends of AVI > International Indigenous Volunteer Network (IIVN) > Macquarie University PACE International Program > Melbourne University Community Volunteering for Change - Global > Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism (PACTAM)
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Post or fax form to AVI Melbourne office. Details on back cover. 31
BE THE CHANGE: VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS IN 2014 Lee (pictured left) worked to improve livelihoods in Fiji by mentoring staff at CreatiViti in management, marketing and income generation techniques. Like Lee, you can be the change you want to see in the world. Share your expertise overseas and be supported with a modest living allowance, accommodation and airfares.
RSVP to a free information session or SIGN UP at: www.australianvolunteers.com PHONE tollfree 1800 331 292.
Photo > Harjono Djoyobisono
Australian Volunteers International Head Office 71 Argyle Street Post PO Box 350 Fitzroy Victoria 3065 Australia ABN 88 004 613 067
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Australian Volunteers for International Development is an Australian Government, Australian aid initiative.