Frequently Asked Questions - About the Australian Volunteers Program
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How are assignments created?
Assignments are created in-country, when an organisation requests the assistance of a volunteer in consultation with the in-country team. Driven by local needs, each assignment is aligned with good development practice and the country’s development priorities. Volunteers do not replace local jobs. They are committed to developing local capacity where a skill, knowledge or experience gap has been identified.
When are assignments advertised?
Assignments are advertised every Wednesday for a minimum of one week.
Where are assignments advertised?
On the Australian Volunteers Program website. Assignments are also promoted on other jobs boards such as Ethical Jobs and LinkedIn.
All applications must be submitted online through the Australian Volunteers Program website.
How long are assignments?
The duration of assignments varies depending on the requirements of the role. Assignments can vary from one to 24 months.
What’s involved in the recruitment process?
Check out How it works for an overview of the steps involved in applying to volunteer.
What happens if I do not complete my assignment?
We acknowledge that occasionally assignments do not work out. There can be changes in your personal or professional circumstances, changes within your partner organisation or the work may simply be completed early. If volunteering in-country, there may be emergencies at home, or in the country you are volunteering in.
These situations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the in-country team.
Should I expect my assignment objectives to change?
The program recognises that like any organisation, circumstances and priorities in the partner organisations can change. When this occurs, it’s important to be flexible, and to keep your in-country team informed of any significant changes to your assignment objectives.
Can I volunteer if I’ve volunteered before?
Many people show interest in undertaking multiple volunteer assignments. The benefits of applying the learnings, relationships developed and language acquired from previous volunteer assignments is well recognised – many of our volunteers have completed multiple successful assignments. However, in the event that a position attracts multiple candidates who meet the selection criteria and needs of the partner organisation, preference is given to new applicants. We aim to give as many people as possible the opportunity to participate.
Can I do more than one assignment at once?
No – you can only volunteer on one assignment at a time.
What are my responsibilities as an Australian volunteer?
You will be expected to work fairly and cooperatively with your partner organisation and colleagues. In addition, all volunteers must sign and comply with the Australian Volunteers Program Code of Conduct, Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct, and all other program policies.
What if I’m asked to go on radio or TV?
Volunteers are actively encouraged to share their stories by participating in media, publicity, social media and community engagement activities.
Public comments while on assignment should focus on volunteer activities and experience, and need to be approved by your partner organisation and in-country team first. The program will provide advice to volunteers participating in publicity activities to help them share their experiences and promote the work of their partner organisations.
What kind of reporting do I have to do about my assignment?
All assignments are aligned with our monitoring evaluation and learning framework which includes preparing an assignment plan, an end of assignment evaluation and an exit interview. Volunteers on longer in-country assignments will also complete a mid-term monitoring update.
Will my work be assessed?
You will have a detailed assignment description with set objectives. You and your partner organisation will develop an assignment plan to meet the objectives of the assignment. The in-country team will hold regular review sessions with both you and your partner organisation to get feedback on the progress of your assignment and how the benefits from your work can be sustained.
Accessible and inclusive volunteering
Can I volunteer if I have a health issue?
A health problem does not exclude you from volunteering.
Some in-country locations can be challenging and may have limited medical facilities. Volunteers must go through a medical clearance process. Any existing health issues and their potential management will be considered during pre-assignment medicals. This may include being referred to your GP or specialist to prepare a health management plan for the duration of your assignment.
Can I volunteer if I have a disability?
We actively support and encourage people with disabilities to participate in the program.
We aim to make the program as accessible and inclusive as possible to people with a wide range of disabilities. Access and inclusion plans are available for volunteers with disabilities to ensure their assignments and living and working arrangements are made more accessible.
People who identify as having disabilities or who would like to find out more information about the program’s disability-inclusion approach, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I volunteer if I'm LGBTQI+?
We actively support and encourage people who identify as LGBTQI+ to volunteer overseas.
We have supported hundreds of gay, lesbian and queer-identifying people to participate in the program. There are things you need to factor into your planning, such as different legal contexts and cultural norms. We encourage you to talk to our team if you feel comfortable self-identifying – please contact email@example.com.