Connecting people, changing lives, reaching our region

Strengthen disability-inclusive development in Fiji and Laos

Thank you for your interest in the Laos/Fiji DESE team. Applications to join the team have now closed.

Please visit DFAT’s website on the first of the month for new volunteer opportunities in inclusive development.

For further information, contact Alexandra Kay, Disability Development Officer at or 08 8364 8500.

Download the DESE pilot report
DESE Pilot Report


Skills for employment in tourism and hospitality

Enhance the participation of people with disabilities as leaders and decision makers in West Fiji by empowering young people and students with a disability.  As part of the Fiji DESE team, you will assist students living with disabilities by engaging with the Fiji Ministry of Education ‘Work Ready Program.’ This program enables people with disabilities in Fiji to access employment and internship opportunities in the local tourism and hospitality sector.

The Fiji DESE team needs individuals with advocacy, capacity building and mentoring skills. This team will be made up of people who are passionate about developing inclusive programs that generate young people’s education and employment opportunities. There are five positions available and more details can be found below.

Fiji Disability Empowerment Team Leader

Encourage and support DESE Officers to exchange their skills with students and vocational teachers of the Work Ready Program.  As Team Leader, you will also facilitate an inter-agency consultation on disability and the work force. You will help collect monitoring and evaluation data that will assist with the continual development of the DESE model for inclusive international volunteering.

Disability Empowerment Officer

(4  positions available)

Work with vocational teachers and other Australian volunteers to develop teaching packages and resources that will assist students of the Work Ready Program and remove barriers preventing young people from accessing employment opportunities.


Disability inclusion in sports for development and employment pathways

Help prepare the Lao National Wheelchair Basketball team for the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur in September. The Laos DESE team will work with the Laos Disabled People’s Association and the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre to create and promote inclusive sports initiatives.  These sports initiatives will pave the way for participants to explore employment opportunities in Laos.

The roles suit  people with experience in sports coaching, inclusive sports development, strategic planning, communications or project management.

There are four positions available and more details can be found below.

Laos Disability Empowerment Team Leader

Support your team to share their skills with local counterparts in Laos. You will help develop and facilitate meetings with stakeholders in the disability sector. You will also contribute to the collection of monitoring and evaluation data that will support further development of the DESE model for inclusive international volunteering.

Project Development Officer

You will be based with the Laos Disabled Women’s Development Centre. You will work with local staff and share knowledge about how best to increase the post vocational opportunities for young women with disabilities. This assignment will build on lessons learnt through existing employment programs by Disabled people’s organisations in Laos.

Wheelchair Basketball Mentor

As Wheelchair Basketball Mentor, you will be based with the Lao Disabled People’s Association. You will work with, and coach, the Lao National Wheelchair Basketball team in the lead up to the ASEAN Para Games. You will also promote inclusive sport initiatives and develop fundraising strategies for the Lao National Wheelchair Basketball team.

Communications and Advocacy Development Officer

Share your media and communication skills with DESE. You will build on existing communication strategies and offer new ideas for marketing and communications products. Your assignment will support the development of new content for the radio, television and online platforms of the Laos Disabled People’s Association.

Important dates for applicants to consider

1 March Applications open
7 March DESE Information webinar, 3pm-4pm ACDT. Register.
For applicants who use screen reading software, download the GoToWebinar By Citrix app for free from the app store on your phone.
9 March DESE Information webinar, 10 -11am ACDT. Register.
For applicants who use screen reading software, download the GoToWebinar By Citrix app for free from the the app store on your phone.
6-10 March National Relay Service calls to provide information to applicants who use this service.
Email Alex Kay at to schedule a time.
21 March 11:59pm Applications close
10 April Recruitment day for shortlised candidates
May / June Team buidling day for successful candidates
15-18 June Pre-departure Briefing (Canberra)
June/July Mobilisation to Fiji / Laos
Assignment duration is 28 days
August/September  1-day reflection workshop

Frequently asked questions


Disability Empowerment Skills Exchange (DESEis an inclusive volunteering model connecting skilled Australians with a disability or knowledge of the impact that disability has on participation in society with partners in Asia and the Pacific. Volunteers share knowledge and develop leadership skills for disability empowerment across the region.

The core premise of DESE is that people with disabilities are active agents of social change and development, in line with the Australian Government’s ‘Development for All 2015-2020’ strategy. Through DESE, we engage with people with disabilities, following the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’.

DESE is an Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) initiative.

How does DESE work?

As with all AVID volunteer assignments, roles are based on a capacity development model and created out of locally identified need. Applications are reviewed and successful applicants are selected based on merit and skills applicable to the role. The selection process is inclusive of people from all backgrounds, race, sexuality, gender, age and ability/disability.

DESE participants deploy for 28 days, an assignment timeframe aimed at meeting the needs of people who are currently on the disability support pension in Australia which restricts travel out of Australia to 28 days. The program provides pre-mobilisation preparation, orientation in country and opportunities to debrief after the experience. The whole process from recruitment to debrief is similar to the main AVID program, but customised to be more accessible. A dedicated disability development officer from Scope Global provides training and support to both the deploying volunteers and to the hosting organisations.

Read more about the 2016 DESE pilot here.

Who can apply?

Skilled Australians with lived experience of disability, or knowledge of the impact that having a disability has on participating in society. Successful applicants must be interested in experiencing another culture, passionate about promoting another mindset towards disability, and keen to learn from counterparts as well as share how they have overcome barriers and challenges in Australia.

Is reasonable accommodation provided for applicants that self-disclose their disability?

Yes, applicants that self-disclose their disability during the application stage have an opportunity to inform Scope Global of any additional access requirements. In the first instance, this may be access requirements related to the application process (for example, an Auslan interpreter for the recruitment day). Successful volunteers with a disability are linked with a dedicated Disability Development Officer, and an individualised support plan is created to forecast any access requirements that may be needed for the volunteer in country. This support plan becomes an ‘action plan’ and controls are set up in the country the volunteer is going to maximise safety and participation and minimise risk. All costs associated with reasonable accommodations and adjustments are covered though the program. Please click here for more information about what types of reasonable accommodations can be provided.

Is there training provided before the team mobilise?

Yes, the successful DESE team will participate in a team building day before they depart. During the team building day, DESE volunteers will learn about their unique roles within their team, how to communicate together, and will start preparing a standard presentation that will be required for in-country stakeholder meetings and engagements.

DESE volunteers will also take part in a 4 day briefing, alongside other Australian volunteers about to mobilise with the AVID program. This briefing includes topics such as safety and security, staying healthy overseas, cross cultural communication and capacity building, looking after your mental health, insurance, child protection and inclusive development. During this briefing, volunteers also meet up with returned volunteers who share insider knowledge into what you need to prepare for going to your country.

What expenses are covered by the program?

Flights, insurance, medicals and all costs associated with pre departure trainings are fully covered by the program. Please see information below regarding allowances for time in country. Please see the Scope Global AVID website for more details about what is supported through the program.

Are volunteer provided with an allowance while they are away?

Yes, as with all Australian volunteers on the AVID program, a living and accommodation allowance is provided to the volunteer while they are in country. This allowance is based on local costs and is transferred into the volunteers account in Australian dollars. Please note that for DESE Scope Global will find accommodation to suit the access requirements of the DESE team and will cover the costs of this accommodation as part of the project, which means the volunteer will not receive their accommodation allowance as they do not need to pay for it themselves.

The living allowance per month for the DESE countries of mobilisation

Laos: $1066 AUD

Fiji: $850 AUD

What expenses are not covered by the program?

A requirement of the AVID program is having your first aid certification and obtaining this training is at the volunteers own personal cost. More information on the first aid requirements will be provided to successful DESE volunteers.

Where will the volunteers live while they are in country?

The Scope Global In Country Management Team will source appropriate accommodation for the DESE participants.

*Please note, this FAQ relates to DESE applicants. For more information on the AVID program generally, please visit the AVID website.

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

This website has been developed by Scope Global, a delivery partner for the AVID program.

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