Australia Marks International Volunteer Day
5 December 2016
The Australian Embassy in Vientiane has hosted a reception and film evening to acknowledge the important role of international volunteers in helping alleviate poverty and in strengthening people-to-people links across the globe.
The event, held on international volunteer day, included a launch of three short video profiles about the experience of Australian volunteers working in the Lao PDR.
Each year, more than 1,000 Australians volunteer in local communities across Asia and the Pacific as part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program, an Australian Government Initiative.
Over 70 people attended including volunteers, their host organisations in Laos, Government officials and representatives of international organisations.
International Volunteer Day is celebrated annually on 5 December. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, the day is designed to celebrate the contributions of volunteer organisations and individual volunteers at local, national and international levels, including their work to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s theme is ‘Global Applause – give volunteers a hand’, recognising volunteers and their commitment to making peace and sustainable development a reality.
Australia’s Ambassador to the Lao PDR, John Williams, said he was proud of the work and impact of Australian volunteers in Laos over many years.
“More than 550 Australians have taken time out of their careers to share their knowledge and skills with partner organisations across the Lao PDR,” Williams said.
“They are an important part of Australia’s broader development work here in Laos, and in helping to strengthen understanding and professional networks between the people of Australia and Laos.”
The AVID program is an Australian Government initiative, offering a range of volunteering opportunities for Australians to share their skills and foster linkages with people and organisations in developing countries as part of Australia’s overseas aid program.
In the Lao PDR, the program is delivered by Scope Global.
Volunteers are placed within host organisations and work alongside local counterparts to contribute to building capacity within the organisation and local community.
Host organisations include education institutions, government departments and other agencies.