Australian Volunteers International

December 17, 2020

Happy Holidays from AVI

As 2020 draws to a close, I want to thank you, our valued supporters and partners for your ongoing commitment and engagement.

I hope you are able to connect with loved ones you may have been separated from and that you can find some time to rest and rejuvenate.

While 2020 will not be forgotten for the challenges it presented, it will also be remembered for the many ways we came together to overcome adversity. In our homes, our communities and the workplace.

For AVI, the obstacles were immense, but our drive was stronger. Our team has worked hard to reorganise the delivery of all of our programs to virtual platforms, at the same time navigating the myriad ways in which COVID-19 has affected our ability to work in 22 country offices.

In March 2020, building on a history of emergency responses, AVI rapidly enacted its Pandemic Plan and Crisis Management Team, recalling volunteers and mentors leading to the successful repatriation of 476 Australians in two weeks.

This was not an easy decision, and the way our teams managed the logistics and continue to manage the return care for this group is to be commended.

Our country teams and partner organisations have harnessed AVI’s new volunteer management system to develop and implement remote volunteering, a service that continues to grow with over one hundred active assignments while university students are forging ahead with virtual internships and masterclasses.

For the foreseeable future, we will continue leveraging innovative technologies to ensure AVI’s rich history of enabling skills exchange endures. We know nothing beats the people-to-people connections formed in person, but we also know our relationships will emerge from this experience stronger than ever.

I feel deeply honoured to step into this new role as CEO of AVI and look forward to connecting with you in 2021.

Kind regards,

Melanie Gow