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Volunteer overseas

Photo: Australian Red Cross/Conor Ashleigh


Important update about international volunteering at Red Cross:

Australian Red Cross is changing the way we approach international volunteering.

We are transitioning out of the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program. Under a new partnership with the Australian Government, we will integrate international volunteering with the rest of our humanitarian and development work.

The AVID program remains a central and valued part of Australia's aid program. It will be delivered by current partners Australian Volunteers International and Scope Global.

In principle, where possible we are working to enable all volunteers currently managed by Australian Red Cross to complete their assignments as planned.

Red Cross remains committed to international volunteering. In the last five years, we have seen its incredible potential to change lives through new ideas, connections, knowledge and resources. We will build on the successes and lessons learnt from our time in the AVID program to pursue new and innovative models for volunteering.

Why did Red Cross make this decision?

This was a very difficult decision for us. Due to a change in the AVID total budget from $56.6 million to $39.6 million, Red Cross chose to integrate international volunteering within its broader humanitarian and development partnership with the Australian Government.

Our transition from AVID enables the program to continue in a sustainable way with other partners, but also allows Red Cross to align international volunteering directly with our humanitarian and development work and countries of focus.

Does this affect other Red Cross programs?

No. Other Australian Red Cross programs in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond will continue as planned.

Can I still volunteer with the AVID program?

Yes. Visit for updates.

The AVID program will have a greater focus on the Indo-Pacific region, with anticipated volunteering opportunities in the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Indonesia, Laos, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

When will Red Cross exit the AVID program?

We will transition out of the AVID program in 2015/2016 in a staged process. We are no longer sending new volunteers through the program, and will close program operations in each country as most volunteers come to the end of their assignments. This means all program operations will have closed by the end of June. We are working closely with the Australian Government to limit the impact on our partners and volunteers.

What happens to volunteers supported by Australian Red Cross?

Red Cross and the Australian Government are doing everything we can to ensure as many volunteers as possible complete their assignments as planned. All support provided to volunteers - including living allowances, insurance and psychological support - will remain in place until the end date for each assignment.

When will Red Cross start sending volunteers again?

Red Cross and DFAT have established a partnership that will embed international volunteering within the humanitarian and development work we do with the Australian aid program.

The design process for Red Cross' new international volunteering program has started. We hope to have the final design completed by the end of May. We anticipate the first volunteers will be deployed between September and December 2016, though this is still to be finalised. We will provide further updates on our website in the coming months.

How are we documenting lessons learnt through the AVID program?

We are documenting and sharing the successes and lessons learnt from our AVID partners and volunteers. This includes an evaluation our programming in Kenya and Uganda, and research into the contributions of returned volunteers. This is helping to shape new and innovative models for international volunteering. More lessons learnt will be published on our website in the coming months.

To our partners and volunteers

Our sincere thanks to all our volunteers and partner organisations. We are grateful for your support, understanding, patience and commitment.

Australian Red Cross is proud of our time with the AVID program, and what has been achieved through 509 volunteer assignments with 209 partner organisations across 15 countries. This is not the end of our commitment to international volunteering - it is the start of a new phase.

Stay connected with us

Australian Red Cross will not send any new volunteers overseas through the AVID program. However, we'd still love for you to stay involved with Red Cross. Here are some options 

• Check out our training courses on humanitarian aid
Follow our podcast show, How Aid Works 
• Volunteer in Australia
Become a member 
Become a Young Humanitarian
• Get the latest stories from the field


Got a question or some feedback? Email us.