Palms Post: December 2011

December 2011 Palms Post
Preparation and support are key parts of Palms Australia’s process for ensuring effective volunteer placements. Despite preparation, challenges still inevitably arise for volunteers crossing cultures and in the Director’s Report, Roger reflects on what skills might need further development.

Our Kiribati field trip stories provide volunteers’ perspectives on the value of one part of Palms’ support processes, the field trip.

Letters from PNG, Kiribati, South Africa and East Timor show both the cultural insights and effective development outcomes possible, when volunteers are able to overcome challenges to engage with their host communities.

Reflections from our Golden Jubilee demonstrate the expansive networks Palms has in Australia which exist because of the strong attachment volunteers feel to Palms’ mission.

We welcome a new board of directors and ask supporters to become more involved both as members and through various online channels.

You can view the Complete December 2011 Palms Post (1916 kB) here.

add to del.icio.us Digg it Stumble It! reddit facebook TwitterSHARE THIS PAGE

Volunteers in transition

If unchecked, our Western way of burying oneself in work can feel more comfortable than acknowledging, let alone coping with, the huge difference in cultural norms. An urgency to act, or at least get something started, can take over.

Culture, a matter of life and death

One of the great joys of volunteering is sharing in the real culture of another community. Recently, Anne Chapman in East Timor and Fran Hewitt in South Africa shared insights into family and death respectively.

AGM and Jubilee dinner

The AGM and Jubilee Dinner to celebrate Palms’ fifty years of international development volunteering was attended by 140 guests. AusAID’s Dr Gemma Edgar’s gave the keynote address, “How grassroots agencies like Palms enhance Australia’s development effectiveness”.

Mission with the vision of a revolutionary

Clair and Merv in 2011 So much has occurred over the past fifty years and like an old soldier, age has wearied me. I understand that Eileen Boylan has just celebrated her ninetieth birthday. It was her late husband, Roy, with his crumpled-up tie and carpet slippers, who led a PALMS committee that was a […]

Building houses and building capacity/Keep Palms in PNG

For security reasons, AusAID is currently unwilling to support Palms Volunteers placed in Papua New Guinea, though we remain as committed as ever to continuing our work with our partners in PNG. Our relationships and networks are too strong to abandon. Our history and knowledge of PNG are too valuable to waste.

The value of a visit

Palms undertakes to visit each volunteer at least once during their placement. After each visit, the visiting representative writes a report for members, however this year we let the volunteers themselves report on the value of a Field Visit.

Six months to go

This proved very successful; hence, the Diocese Office will be healthier when I leave in May 2012 and with the training provided there is every hope that this health will be sustained into the future.

Welcome new directors

As Palms continues its important work for our common humanity in this jubilee year, it is crucial to acknowledge the work of our amazing staff and volunteers whose determined and quiet work humbly continues. I would like to also thank Palms’ outgoing directors for their wonderful contribution in the shaping of Palms. I’d especially like […]

Returnee, donor, friend, member or all of the above?

Some loyal Palms’ supporters were surprised to discover recently that they were ineligible to vote at our AGM. Maybe the reasons for the formal process of signing on as a member have not been adequately explained. I hope I can clarify a little and those so inclined are able to complete the required formal application and participate fully next time.

Get involved online

We are now beginning to see the opportunities presented by social media. Sceptics may decry the hype and the abundance of puerile content, as they did with the web 15 years ago, but the social web offers great possibilities for furthering Palms’ mission.


Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. - Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe