AMBASSADORS for DEVELOPMENT
- AYAD -
You might think I am always banging on about the great unwashed. Well, you're right. Just bear this in mind:
1. Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations in the world - 150 million people in a nation that would fit into the State I live in. My state, Victoria, is one of the smallest States in Australia and we have about 5 million people. Yep, Bangladesh is two-thirds the size of my State.
2. Trafficking children is the second biggest trade in the world - second to drug trafficking! Did you get that? Gob smacking, eh?
Anyway, lots of good work is being done by many, especially young Aussies who volunteer their skills. Today I introduce you to a great program that involves young Australian ambassadors who do great work - AYAD - Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development.
Fantastic opportunities to volunteer abroad! The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program provides skilled young Australians the opportunity to volunteer overseas in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
The AYAD international volunteer program is an Australian Government, AusAID initiative supporting the Millennium Development Goals. Its volunteer work is committed to achieving sustainable development through capacity building, skills exchange and institutional strengthening.
To be eligible for the AYAD Program you must be an 18-30 year old and an Australian Citizen or Australian Permanent Resident.
As an AYAD you will need the specific skills, experience and personal attributes required to do the assignment for which you apply. Because AYAD assignments are diverse (ranging from project officers to mud crab aqua-culturalists and everything in between) that means that each AYAD is unique.
So how do you know if you would make a good AYAD? The first thing to think about is your motivation for becoming an AYAD. Do you have a passion for development? Are you looking for international experience? Are you looking for ways to challenge and stretch yourself and, at the same time, give something back to communites in need?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then the AYAD Program could be for you. The Program is a fantastic opportunity to see what you're capable of and get some of that much needed experience. It's also an amazing way to live and work overseas and see how your skills and knowledge can help others.
From the 1st December 2012, all volunteers who are successfully recruited for a volunteer position with the AYAD program will be required to obtain a first aid certificate, compliant to Australian Standard HLTFA 301C ‘Apply First Aid’. This cost is not covered by the program, and the certificate will need to be provided prior to the mobilisation date. Certificates can be obtained through the completion of short courses with either St John’s Ambulance or Australian Red Cross. For course information or dates, candidates can contact their local branch.
Living in a developing country is not as easy as living in Australia. It can be a challenging and, at times, extremely uncomfortable experience. Regardless of whether your assignment is in an urban, industrial or rural area, you should expect basic accommodation. This could quite likely mean limited electricity and hot water, shared facilities including bathroom and toilet, and probably mosquitoes and other 'wild' life.
You may have to do without some of the entertainment you are used to - DVD, stereo, nightclubs, latest films. Entertainment may revolve around sporting activities, shared meals with friends and colleagues, occasional local festivals or time spent catching up on those books you always meant to read.
In the workplace your way may not be the only way or even the 'right' way and communicating across cultural and, in some cases, language barriers can be frustrating. The AYAD Program can give you some tools and training to overcome these but in the end it comes down to you - your flexibility, adaptability and understanding of your new environment.
You should also be aware that instability is common in many of the developing countries where AYADs are placed. While the AYAD Program takes every precaution to ensure the safety of AYADs, you should be aware that you could be evacuated if the situation in a particular country becomes unstable.
It goes without saying that living and working in a developing country is a very rewarding experience, and gives you the unique opportunity to contribute actively to the development needs of the region. However, living and working in a country that is less developed than Australia can be very challenging so take the time to do some research before you apply.
Now, watch a great video about some of the ambassadors:
Clancy's comment: There are a lot of awful things happening around the globe, but let's praise these young people who have great vision and compassion. Wow, so generous with their time and skills.
Love their work!