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Australian volunteers win International Volunteer Award in Fiji

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A group of Australian volunteers have won an International Volunteer Award in Fiji for outstanding work in the areas of special education and allied health.

The Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program's Allied Health team of 2015, managed by Scope Global, were presented with the award as part of International Volunteer Day celebrations in Fiji. The International Volunteer Award is a great achievement recognising the team's tireless efforts and the work they have achieved with and for children with disabilities in Fiji. It's also an acknowledgement of the work of all previous volunteer teams that have contributed to the project.

The Allied Health project commenced in July 2013. It focusses on a collaborative approach to the introduction and implementation of a standardised Student Profile Package and Individualised Education Plan (IEP) across schools for special education in the western and northern division of Fiji. The project's innovative cluster approach has allowed for stronger team liaison with the Ministry of Education, and its impact has been felt across a range of different schools, in contrast to the traditional 'one volunteer in one school' approach.

To date, 16 Australian volunteers in the areas of special education and allied health have contributed to the project. They have worked with eight Special Schools and more than 500 children with special needs. Sixty teachers have been trained in how to develop and implement the Student Profile Packages and IEP's. There are now 20 IEP focal point champions in each of these schools, and more than 200 parents have been directly involved with the project activities.

In February 2016, Phase 4 will commence in the central and eastern district of Fiji, and four new volunteers have been selected to work on the project, focussing on replicating training and engagement with 10 new schools for children with special needs. By 2017 it is hoped that the Student Profile Package and IEP process will be rolled out across every school for special education in Fiji.

The Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program is an Australian Government initiative.

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