Thirteen new Australian volunteers have arrived in Solomon Islands to begin their placements with government ministries, schools, non-government organisations and community groups.

The volunteers, funded under AusAID’s Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program use their skills and expertise to help build their host organisation in Solomon Islands to improve the lives of Solomon Islanders.

Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Matt Anderson said the new group also includes seven Youth Without Borders (YWB) volunteers.

“The Youth Without Borders volunteers are part of a unique, one-off initiative to deploy young people on short-term international development assignments,” Mr Anderson said.

“The seven YWB volunteers will spend the next three months working as teacher's aides at the Shamma Christian School, Anglican Church of Melanesia Education Authority, Honiara City Council and the Zion Christian School in Honiara.”

“I know the volunteers learn as much from their host organisation as the training and skills they share with local counterparts, so there are mutual benefits for everyone. And through their participation in work, sport and community, they also promote links and friendships between our two countries,” Mr Anderson added.

The new Head of AusAID in Solomon Islands, Ms Sue Connell said around 60 Australian volunteers are placed in Solomon Islands every year.

“All the volunteers make a great contribution to local organisations through sharing their knowledge and skills, and they also play a big role in helping tackle poverty in Solomon Islands,” said Ms Connell.

The volunteer program in Solomon Islands is in addition to Australia’s annual SBD$780 million (A$104.1 million) provided through the Solomon Islands - Australia Partnership for Development.

The new volunteers and their Solomon Islands placements are:

Rose Byrne - Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
Amanda Peakes - Helena Goldie Hospital, Munda
Tim Barker - Transparency Solomon Islands
Lauren Baird - South Seas Evangelical Church
Chris Leach - APHEDA Union Aid Abroad
Michael Daly – Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce

Youth Without Borders volunteers
Brianna Murphy and Laura Bryant - Zion Christian School
Wendy Xiao - Anglican Church of Melanesia Education Authority
Catelyn Richards and Skye Clayton - Shamma Christian School
Marijke Vaughin and Chloe Dempsey - Honiara City Council


Source: Press Release, Australian HIgh Commission