The Most Constructive, Sustainable Approach to Volunteering

The Most Constructive, Sustainable Approach to Volunteering

An update from Roger O’Halloran, Executive Director

A quick glance through the photos and accompanying notes on Palms Australia’s Facebook page reminds me of the extraordinary people we have recently prepared and sent to the field. How well they have engaged and been received by our partner communities. It’s a tribute to them and to Palms’ approach. Take a look for yourself here, and don’t forget that liking our posts will help more people see this wonderful work.

Over six years ago, we decided not to continue the $4000+ per annum Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) membership fee. We put that money towards supporting volunteer placements, but we continue to highly respect and adhere to the ACFID Code of Conduct. During the week, I examined ACFID’s Practice Note on Responsible International Volunteering for Development. I’m proud to say that Palms Australia meets all seven criteria and exceeds the evidence of practice described therein.

Infused with Micah

Palms’ approach to building relationships, at both organisational and individual levels, underpins our ability to provide volunteer assistance that secures a constructive sustainable impact. This is not a simple catch cry about being nice to people and all will be good. Over the years in every area of our work we have been developing and refining frameworks and related processes that are infused with our Micah based Solidarity Values schema.

Values diagram

This values infusion inspires Palms Australia to go way beyond the ACFID Practice Note. Our collaboration with partner organisations who request volunteers is based on the recommended “detailed contextual analysis”, which is augmented with thorough volunteer preparation and support. Both strengthen “the safety of all actors involved in, or impacted by, the activities being carried out”.

Importantly, our values motivate us to connect Australian communities with the international communities where those who volunteer go to work. We invite you to connect friends, family and colleagues to new friends in regional, remote communities. The importance of this is that we can remove ignorance of fellow global citizens who don’t share our opportunities.

Connect on Palms Together Day

These connections and friendships invite us to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly by removing us from the comfort zone that allows us to forget those who are marginalised. Palms Together Day provides a simple social opportunity to connect, celebrate and introduce friends to Palms’ approach to international volunteering.

Evidence suggests that communities connecting around a cause in this way are so much more enriched by the experience. Connections within one’s own community are improved by developing an interest in and contributing to a shared project. Here are just some of the projects to which you can connect them.

Your friends, family or colleagues may also become interested in volunteering. We currently have over 35 requests from our overseas partners. It would be great if you can forward this link to them with an invitation to your Palms Together Day event. If they inquire soon they can be prepared, or simply further discern the possibilities, at our 100th Orientation Course on July 7 – 14.

At the end of the course (2:00pm – 4:30pm, Sunday July 14th) we will have a special commissioning of prepared volunteers for friends and family of Orientation Course participants and our supporters. All will have an opportunity to learn an Indigenous Australian dance designed to help send them on their way. Anyone in Sydney at that time should contact us for tickets.