April 12, 2013

Australian Volunteers Network to aid in country’s development plan

This country’s Foreign Minister Dr Douglas Slater and the High Commissioner of Australia, H.E Ross William Tysoe, earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding that will see Australian volunteers arriving here to assist in a number of programmes.{{more}}

The programme, called the Australian Volunteers Network, is one designed to bring Australian professionals, who are expected to spend time in the country working with the government and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to aid in the country’s developmental plan.

“This is a new relationship and we are expecting that it will be successful, but it is for us to open our arms,” Slater said.

He said he expected the programme will have equal exchange – for the volunteers, who he said he expected would like it here, and for us to develop through the skills that the volunteers would bring with them.

“We look forward to the implementation,” Slater said, adding that he already had an idea of some of the agencies that would benefit from the program.

Tysoe, in his comments, said that his government was interested in delivering real, on the ground projects that bring value to the people of the region.

He continued, saying that the Australian exchange programme is expected to add value and leave a lasting impression and has created a lot of interest back in Australia.

The signing was part of a mandate by the Australian government to provide assistance to islands in the Caribbean.

The High Commissioner, in his first call since his appointment, said that there is not as much money involved as some of the other more conventional donors, such as the European Union (EU).

The volunteer programme is one type of aid that is people-oriented, so that there is a direct exchange between Australian citizens and people in the Caribbean.

“This is a critical part of our programme,” Tysoe said. (DD)