A recent trip to Madang and Kiunga provided many insights into the importance of our volunteers and our approach to volunteering.
At the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga, Paul Tan, Esther Sim and John Gartner are sharing their skills in human resources, finance and project
management, respectively, to build the programs and the capacity of local staff. The nearby Ok Tedi mine and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects assist a small handful of people, while inflating local prices beyond the reach of others, but the programs of the Diocese reach into the community and address the education, health, economic, social and spiritual needs of the people.
- Ongoing partnerships between Palms Australia and our partners allow volunteers to build on the work of each other.
- Clustering volunteers, particularly where their skills complement each other, can increase their effectiveness, not just their security.
- Volunteers must bring useful professional skills, requested by the host community, but also a willingness to be flexible, open to their own learning and cooperative.
- Volunteers who engage in the community fully are more able to build relationships which both make them more effective in their work and increase their safety in their new environment.
- Our partner organisations, who bring years of experience on the ground, are very capable of caring for volunteers and driving their own development.
- By the end of the first year, the volunteer is ready to be truly useful to their host community.
As we have long said, relationships are central to our approach to volunteering – not just for their own sake, though they are intrinsically valuable, but also because they enable all other aspects of our mission.