Support for volunteers

Each Australian volunteer is allocated to a dedicated volunteer coordinator. Your coordinator will assist you to organise visas, flights and attendance at Briefing. Your coordinator will also help you set up your volunteer allowance payments and insurance, and access other support materials.

Travel, visa and insurance costs

Flights to your assignment and back home to Australia (at the end of your assignment) are covered by the AVID program. Standard fees for visa applications are also covered. Comprehensive travel, medical and security insurances are provided to all Australian volunteers.

Pre-departure medical exams and vaccinations

You will be provided with a comprehensive medical examination and all the required vaccinations for the country you will be volunteering in.

Please note that it is a requirement of the AVID program that you hold a current first aid certificate (HLTAID003 standard). If you don’t have a current certificate, you will need to obtain one. You will need to cover the cost of this certificate.

Comprehensive training

You will be required to attend an Australian Volunteers Briefing.  This four-day workshop introduces you to the health, insurance, security, policy, protocol and development issues relevant to your assignment. You will also meet other volunteers who are preparing to depart on assignment.

The cost of attending the Australian Volunteers Briefing is covered by the AVID program, including airfares (within Australia only), accommodation and meals.

Disability support

Support for volunteers with a disability is available throughout the volunteer cycle from recruitment to returning home. Individual support plans are designed on a case-by-case basis. Read more about the support available to Australian volunteers with a disability.

Support for partners and family

A limited budget is available each year to support dependant partners and the children of volunteers for assignments of 12 months or more.  Only dependants who are Australian citizens or permanent residents are eligible for this support.

Support for partners and family includes airfares, insurance, pre-departure medical expenses and a supplementary allowance. This allowance is equal to 25% of the volunteer’s living and accommodation allowance per dependant (up to a maximum of 50% of the volunteer’s living and accommodation allowance). Support is not extended to language training, settlement or resettlement allowances.

Your interest in this support must be indicated at the time of your initial application. Applications for supported dependants do not influence the selection process and are considered seperately on a case-by-case basis. Download the AVID Dependent Support Policy and Procedure document for more information.

In-country management teams in each country provide on-the-ground support for volunteers 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Security

Volunteer security is our number one priority. 24-hour emergency support is provided by Scope Global staff in-country.

During orientation, Scope Global staff will brief you on the security situation in country and provide advice on ensuring personal security during your assignment. The security situation in each country is constantly monitored by DFAT, partner governments and Scope Global staff. Any risks are immediately communicated to volunteers.

As the AVID program operates in developing countries, instability is not uncommon.  If the worst happens and a natural disaster occurs, evacuation may be necessary.  Following evacuation, your options may include remobilisation when the security risk reduces, mobilisation to a similar assignment elsewhere or termination of your assignment.

Health

Should you fall sick on assignment, volunteer insurance covers all routine medical costs. Medical emergencies are also covered with 24-hour assistance. Should appropriate treatment not be available in your assignment location, the program will medivac you to a suitable location for treatment.

Orientation

You will participate in a one-to-two-week in-country orientation as soon as you arrive in country so that you are familiar with all the supports and services that are available during your assignment. You will take intensive language classes during this period. Time will be allocated to sourcing appropriate longer-term accommodation.

Financial support

Financial support provided under the AVID program covers the cost of normal living and accommodation expenses in your host country. Allowances are above average local salaries and will allow you to live a comfortable, yet modest, lifestyle while on assignment.

Allowances are determined by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and are based on assessments of the cost of living. These costs vary from country to country.

Allowances include:

  • settlement allowance
  • language training allowance
  • living and accommodation allowances
  • resettlement allowance (for assignments over six months).

Allowance rates

 Allowance rates per month ($AUD) from 1 July 2016
Country Living Accommodation* Total Amount
Bhutan 620 590 1210
Cambodia 1100 553 1653
Fiji (Suva) 850 740 1590
Fiji (Rest of) 850 700 1550
Indonesia (Jakarta, Bandung, Bali) 950 300 1250
Indonesia (rest of) 700 300 1000
Kiribati 1000 1000 2000
Laos 1066 600 1666
Mongolia 950 550 1500
Nepal 1330 300 1630
Philippines (Manila, Quezon City, Cebu City) 900 340 1240
Philippines (rest of) 800 300 1100
Samoa 1140 620 1760
Sri Lanka 750 670 1420
Tonga (Nuku’alofa) 810 350 1160
Tonga (Vava’u) 1075 340 1415
Tuvalu 1100 1100 2200
Vanuatu 1500 1000 2500
Vietnam 900 689 1589

* Volunteer allowances are structured to cover the cost of longer-term accommodation. If a partner organisation provides accommodation for their volunteer, then the volunteer will not receive an accommodation allowance from the program.

Accomodation

Volunteers arrive in-country together in groups and are met at the airport by staff from the in-country management team.  Volunteers are transferred to short-term accommodation for the duration of the in-country orientation (up to two weeks).  During the orientation, volunteers are supported to secure longer-term accommodation. The ultimate decision and responsibility for sourcing accommodation rests with you as the volunteer.

Volunteer allowances are structured to cover the cost of longer-term accommodation. If a partner organisation provides accommodation for their volunteer, then the volunteer will not receive an accommodation allowance from the program.

Insurance

Volunteers are covered by comprehensive travel, medical and security insurance for the duration of their assignments.

Overseas partner organisations

Overseas partner organisations (or host organisations) provide daily support to their volunteers.  The partner organisation will nominate a supervisor and a counterpart colleague, or colleagues, for you to work with. All volunteer assignment descriptions contain information about the hosting overseas partner organisation.

Recreational leave

Recreational leave is in line with Australian workplace conditions (one week of leave per three months of service).

Counselling

A 24-hour confidential, psychological support service is available via email or phone to all volunteers. You will meet the counselling staff at the Australian Volunteers Briefing.

Support for Australian volunteers doesn’t stop at the end of the assignment. All returning volunteers are invited to join the Returned Australian Volunteers Network (RAVN), comprising more than 9,000 returned Australian volunteers.

Resettlement allowance

A resettlement allowance, granted on submission of an end-of-assignment report, is available to volunteers who have been on assignment for more than six months and is designed to help them settle back into life in Australia.

Debrief

Every returned volunteer has access to a two-day Debrief session to reflect on their experience, give feedback and connect with other returned volunteers.

Post-assignment counselling

The program’s confidential counselling service remains open to returned volunteers for one year after they have completed their assignment.

Returned Australian Volunteer Network (RAVN)

RAVN is the official volunteer alumni network. It gives returned volunteers access to networking events, professional development opportunities, newsletters, and other benefits. Read more about RAVN here.