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Year in Review 2013-2014

Voluntary service is fundamental to Red Cross. Our approach to volunteering recognises people's right and capacity to lead their own development.

This year, we are proud to share the significant achievements of our volunteers and partner organisations, through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.

Our approach to international volunteering

It's time to put local communities and their needs first. Red Cross focuses on people-centred development through government and civil society organisations, as the way to build stronger communities and economies. With many of our partner organisations, services are delivered not only for their communities, but with each community and through community members.

We focus on a few target sectors in each country of operation. This requires a long-term approach: cumulative volunteer assignments strengthen host organisations over time; while multiple volunteer assignments in different host organisations can strengthen their collective impact within a single sector, such as disaster management or maternal and child health.

Here are five principles that guide our approach to international volunteering.

Impact of our work

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Philippines: Helping communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters

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Cambodia: Increasing access to health services for the poor

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Fiji: Reducing the spread and impact of non-communicable diseases


A study commissioned by Australian Red Cross explored how international volunteering has an effect. Four key findings emerged:

  • Volunteers inspire others to do the same
  • Volunteers contribute to long-term organisational capacity
  • Volunteers immersed in local communities deliver greater results
  • Volunteers promote local ownership

Based on these findings, Red Cross called on the Australian Government to invest strongly in volunteering as the cornerstone of a people-centred development approach; measure its contributions to addressing poverty and strengthening economic diplomacy and civil society; and fund the AVID program sustainably as an integral part of Australia's development agenda.

Read the research report » 

Photo: Australian Red Cross/Mareike Guensche

Case study: A cumulative approach

A structured and long-term approach to volunteer placements leaves host organisations better placed to serve their communities.
Read the case study.

Case study: Commercial first aid

First aid training is a path to financial sustainability for humanitarian organisations.
Read the case study.

Case study: Vanuatu and volcanoes

How volunteers are helping communities to prepare for and recover from natural disasters.
Read the case study.

Case study: Professional communication leads to stronger organisations

Using communication specialists in East Africa to improve accountability and advocacy.
Read the case study.