Impact Of The Aboriginal Volunteer Program On Aboriginal Returned Volunteers 2018


Published by: Volunteering SA & NT ( and AVI (

This study investigates the impact of the Aboriginal Volunteer Program on the daily lives of returned volunteers in 2018. From 2012 to 2017 small groups of young Aboriginal volunteers completed 10-week assignments working collaboratively with the remote community of Oodnadatta.

This ethnographic report aims to assess the ongoing impact of the Aboriginal Volunteer Program on the lives of returned volunteers, to determine if the returned volunteers continue in their role as active citizens on returning to their own communities and to assess the flow on effect of the volunteer experience in creating positive change for our world.

Returned volunteers described impacts in seven areas of their lives: values and dreams, confidence and self-worth, knowledge and skills, relationships, cultural understanding, professional choices and access to new opportunities. The study states “despite the demands of study and making a living on return home, the returned volunteers remained passionate about volunteering”. This study shows returned volunteers were actively engaged in community development activities that have brought benefit to aboriginal, wider Australian and international communities.

The passion that drove volunteers to achieve change in Oodnadatta remained strong after they left the program and continues to have meaningful, ongoing and lasting impact on their personal and professional lives.

This research concludes that the value of a volunteer program does not simply rest on the development outcomes achieved during a volunteer assignment but is also about the benefits that volunteers bring to their communities when they return home.

Full report available here.