AYAD Australians in MN

Related: AUSAID AYAD program
Australians are supporting Mongolians! Here are some of their activities in Mongolia.

From: http://www.ayad.com.au/

Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development supported by Australian Government, AUSAID Initiative


Intake 13 AYADs:
Daniela Gavshon

Daniela will spend twelve months with the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) as the Trafficking Awareness Raising Trainer. Amongst other tasks, she will review the research currently available on people trafficking in Mongolia. Her job will also include running workshops in trafficking awareness, research methodology and the collection of qualitative and quantitative data.

One of the aims of her assignment is to increase the rate of awareness on issues of trafficking amongst those who are vulnerable to being trafficked, who work with those at risk of being trafficked, and who work with victims of trafficking, as well as increasing the general awareness of this issue amongst the wider community.

Daniela has completed an Arts degree at the University of Sydney with double majors in History and Government. Also at the University of Sydney, she completed her Law degree in 2004. As part of her degree, she completed an extensive research project on trafficking women and children into Australia. She is currently working as a researcher at the University and is involved in an international study in unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

Daniela believes this is a unique opportunity for her to combine her academic skills with her interest in living and assisting in developing countries. She anticipates that her past experiences in research and facilitation have equipped her to simultaneously learn immensely from CHRD as well contribute to the aims and goals of the organisation.

Bradley Hiller

For twelve months, Brad will be based in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, working as a Land Resource Researcher at the Land Resource Management division of the Geo-Ecology Institute of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

Whilst meeting the challenges of the assignment objectives, Brad looks forward to working cooperatively with staff at the Institute to achieve positive project outcomes.
His main tasks are to conduct research on land resource and land utilisation, investigate plant cover change and its ecological degradation in pasture land, study cropland utilisation and soil erosion, initiate collaboration between Mongolian and Australian young researchers and conduct investigations to determine options to achieve effective land resource management.

In 2001, Brad completed a combined degree in Engineering (Environmental) and Science (Land and Water Management) at the University of Western Australia. Since then he has been employed at the Water Corporation of Western Australia where he has worked in the areas of wastewater treatment and reuse, research and development of new water treatment technologies. Most recently, he has worked as a Project Engineer on a proposed seawater desalination plant. Brad is active in his local community and with professional associations and recently attended a World Engineers’ Convention on Sustainability in China.

Brad has a genuine interest in sustainable environmental development. He hopes to be able to apply the knowledge and skills he has gained throughout his studies and vocational experience in Australia to contribute towards improved development and land use practices in Mongolia.

Excited at the prospect of representing Australia in the capacity of a Youth Ambassador in Mongolia, Brad hopes his previous travels to developing countries will help prepare him for the challenges and exciting opportunities this overseas posting will offer. He is keen to learn about the local culture and experience the beauty of the Mongolian landscape.

David Green

David is pleased to be working with Save the Children UK (SCUK) in Mongolia as a Community and Youth Development Facilitator in Ulaanbaaatar. SCUK is an international Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that adopts a child-centred approach to development.

With an interest in community development, David has worked as a Tutor in Community Development at the University of New South Wales, and completed an internship with World Vision India in their urban development project in Chennai. He has also worked as a volunteer with the Oxfam Community Aid Abroad International Youth Parliament (IYP); a global network that supports young activists trying to achieve change in their communities. In this role, he was a researcher and facilitator at the IYP’s 2004 conference. Most recently, David completed an internship at the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.

During his placement, David will work with the staff of a number of SCUK’s Community Based Child Development and Protection Centres. His aim is to assist in increasing community participation in the Centre. He will be planning, delivering and evaluating the training workshops for Centre staff and participants, as well as supporting the development of a Centre Advisory Committee made up of local community members.

David has recently completed Bachelors degrees in Social Work and Law and is looking forward to the big changes ahead in his first year out of University. While admitting to being daunted by experiencing Mongolian mutton and cold winters of -30 degrees, he is excited by the many opportunities the position offers.

Joanna Harrison


Joanna is excited to have the opportunity to spend twelve months in Ulaanbaatar working as a Communications Officer with World Vision International – Mongolia.

During her time in Mongolia with World Vision, Joanna will work in the Communications Department to help strengthen its communication strategy and staff expertise.

Her role will focus on implementing a number of media campaigns, training World Vision staff in media relations and effective communication as well as conducting media liaison.

Joanna has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Organisational Communication. She has spent the past four years working in communications for both the private and government sectors.

Her motivation to work in a developing country comes from a desire to work in a job that is not only challenging but provides her with the opportunity to assist other people.

Joanna hopes that a year with World Vision will enable her to effectively share her skills in communications as well as providing her with invaluable professional and personal experiences.

Welcoming the challenge of living in a different country and learning a new language, Joanna looks forward to embracing a new culture and workplace.

Intake 14:
Tanya Burkhardt

Tanya is thrilled to have the opportunity to work in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for twelve months. She will be working as the Arts Education Program Officer for the Arts Council of Mongolia. The primary focus of her position is to develop a sustainable Arts Education Program for young people. Tanya will also be involved in training Arts Council staff in arts program implementation and education practices.

Tanya looks forward to working with Mongolian artists to create a program that will promote cultural development and personal growth for young people involved in the project. Being a mosaic artist she is keen to share her skills in this area with the community as well as further develop her creative and program coordination skills.

Tanya has worked for several years coordinating community art projects for young people facing difficulties. She believes the arts offer great potential for healing individuals as well as facilitating positive social change.

She has completed a Graduate Diploma in Expressive Therapies which includes art, music, play, dance and drama therapies. Tanya recently completed a mentorship with a professional mosaic artist who provided her with skills in fabricating large scale outdoor mosaics and a greater appreciation of traditional mosaic methods.

Tanya welcomes the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating Mongolian culture. She has been completing a crash course in horse riding to prepare her for travel outside of the city and is looking forward to trying some of the many mutton dishes on offer in Mongolia!

Catherine Gearing

Catherine will be working for 12 months with the ESP Foundation (English for Special Purposes) as the Coordinator of the Youth Development Project. She will be assisting in working with the project leader to producing a strategic plan. Catherine will be working along side Mongol TV to initiate and organise various television competitions in English for children and youth. She’ll also be preparing and conducting a series of English language lessons for TV programs and establishing a framework for further development of TV English language programs in distance training.

Catherine was a Group Leader for two Youth Challenge International programs in rural communities in Costa Rica. Her first project involved assisting to construct an aqueduct to provide a more reliable water supply to the local communities and assisting with infrastructure at a National Park. Her second project involved building a Community Centre for a Women’s development group to enable them to host community meetings, nutritional programs and generate income through arts and crafts.

For the past 2 years Catherine has been working with a Children’s Hospice in the South West of England. She has been involved in community fundraising as well as working with a local radio station to run a year long appeal to help fund a new hospice for terminally ill children and their families.

Catherine studied at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and has a Communications Degree (Theatre & Media) and a Secondary Education Diploma in Drama and English. After completing her studies she worked at the Red Cross in their Special Promotions Department raising awareness for local and international work through fundraising events.

Catherine enjoys learning about new cultures and is looking forward to sharing her skills and exploring the amazing countryside of Mongolia.

Julia Chalmers

Julia will be working for 12 months with the Foundation for the Empowerment of Rural Women in Mongolia (FERW) as a Program Advisor. The FERW is a non-government organisation that is focused on the rural population where 40% of the Mongolian population live. The FERW aims to motivate women’s participation in community life, increase their independence and encourage their active involvement in self-governance at the local level. Julia will be working with the FERW to assist with the Mongolian Rural Women Development Plan and to help build the capacity of the staff and members of FERW to achieve their social, economic and organisational goals.

Julia has experience in policy and program management in working for the Australian Government of Transport and Regional Services and the national office of Greening Australia. For the last 2 years she has been working in a different capacity in the remote Roper River region of the Northern Territory. Her work as a natural resource management local level facilitator has involved working primarily with pastoralists and Aboriginal communities. She has a Bachelor Science (Resource and Environmental Management), a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration and is currently working towards a Masters of Natural Resources.

Julia is excited by the opportunity offered by the AYAD program to live and work in another culture and to offer her skills and experiences to an NGO in a developing country. She is keen to expand her cross-cultural experiences and to explore the sphere of international development work.

She is thrilled to be heading to Mongolia and looks forward to learning another language and exploring the vast landscapes on offer. She is even looking forward to eating boiled mutton and experiencing -30oC temperatures.

Alice McGrath

Alice will be working as a civil society advisor at World Vision in Mongolia for 12 months. This organization has been working in Mongolia since 1995. Its core focus is to target particularly vulnerable groups: ethnic minorities, urban and rural poor, street and working children, and to assist in the implementation of long term and sustainable community development. In her role, Alice will assist in strengthening community input, while developing programs to monitor and evaluate community progress.

Alice completed a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice from Flinders University of South Australia in 2000. In 2001, Alice worked as a Judge’s Associate in the Supreme Court of South Australia. From there, Alice went on to work as a criminal solicitor and barrister at the Legal Services Commission of South Australia. Her experiences of working with street children, and as an advisor for disaffected asylum seekers prompted her to assist in the implementation of community based programs at a local level. She has spent this year working in remote regions of Northern Territory, with Northern Australian Legal Aid Service, where she has been committed to advocating for the many people who are living in desperate and impoverished conditions.

Alice hopes to transfer the skills she has gained through her work in Australia into assisting in the facilitation of long term change for the better of the Mongolian people.

Belinda Hengel

Belinda is delighted to have the opportunity to work as a youth ambassador with Marie Stopes International Mongolia. Marie Stopes is an international non-government family planning / reproductive health organisation, who has been working in Mongolia since 1998. Her role for the six month placement with Marie Stopes International Mongolia will be to assist in improving the reproductive and sexual health services offered by Marie Stopes throughout Mongolia. This will be done through assisting with training of the staff in sexual health testing, treatment and diagnosis, HIV pre and post test counselling, contraceptive measures and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.
Belinda has completed post graduate studies in public health / sexual health and has previously been working as a sexual health nurse at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.
Her work at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre has enabled her to work with the Indigenous Victorian community which in turn has allowed Belinda to work with Marie Stopes Australia in their work with the Victorian Indigenous community.
Belinda has found working with Marie Stopes Australia extremely rewarding, and when she saw the opportunity to work as an Australian Youth Ambassador with Marie Stopes in Mongolia she anticipated this to be an amazing opportunity to extend her skills and assist the staff and clients at Marie Stopes Mongolia.
Belinda is looking forward to living in and experiencing the culture of Mongolia. She is keen to learn about the cultural and environmental aspects that affect the sexual health status in Mongolia, see the great work that is currently being done to improve sexual health awareness, and experience the extreme weather conditions!

Intake 15:
Jana Favero

Jana Favero will be working for 12 months as the Media/Public Relations Officer with a Norwegian Aid Agency (Norwegian Lutheran Mission) in Mongolia. The aid group is currently running 4 projects in Mongolia, one being the Child and Family Strengthening project which has the aim of improving the lives of children in difficult circumstances by providing access to basic social services.

Jana will be working to develop the strategy of the aid group, assist with training professionals, teachers and parents and raising community awareness on child protection and child rights.

While Jana’s working life has been in the corporate environment (in between various traveling adventures) she has always been committed to and passionate about collaborating with people in developing countries to achieve the standard of living they aim for.

Jana visited Mongolia for a short holiday two years ago and was gripped with a desire to return for an extended period to assist with the development of their society and economy through education or communication. Jana has a strong desire to use her strengths in assisting others build and maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

The AYAD placement is the perfect opportunity for Jana to couple her passionate sense of helping others with the skills she has developed through her corporate and travelling life.

Shaya Nettle

Shaya is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) as a Trade Development Officer for 12 months. Founded in 1960, the MNCCI is a non-governmental organisation, which represents the country’s business sectors and undertakes a broad range of activities in terms of business support, promotion and policy advocacy. During this assignment, Shaya will undertake strategic market development for the country’s export-oriented industries, conduct research on market access issues and assist the preparation of work plans which foster greater co-operation between the MNCCI and its domestic and international partners.

Following a one-year exchange to Japan, Shaya completed a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in International Business and International Studies in 2001. Over the last four years, she has worked with South Australia’s leading food and beverage industry association to grow South Australian food and beverage exports into Asia. During this time, Shaya acquired a range of skills in trade promotion, business development and market penetration.

Shaya was drawn to the AYAD program for its practical approach to fostering cross-cultural understanding and growth through hands-on skill development and knowledge transfer. She has worked with Adelaide Fair Trade and Adelaide Central Mission and believes that fair trade is an important vehicle for improving living conditions, raising awareness and increasing skill development and expertise in developing countries. She also recently returned from a 30 day trek in the Indian Himalayas, climbing to over 5,000 metres – perhaps a welcome initiation for the minus 40 degree winters which lie ahead!

Cerin McMillan

Cerin is heading to Mongolia for twelve months to work as an Environmental Rights Awareness Campaigner at the Centre for Human Rights and Development in Ulaanbaatar. CHRD is a non-government organisation which works towards promoting and protecting human rights in Mongolia.

She will be working on an environmental project with the objective of increasing the awareness of environmental rights in Mongolia. This will involve research of environmental issues in Mongolia, research and analysis of international environmental laws, the development of strategic litigation practices including tools to choose new cases and methods for collecting evidence, implementing training programs and drafting stricter environmental laws.

Cerin completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and Bachelor of Law from the University of Wollongong and has been working as a solicitor in the area of environment and planning law with the NSW Department of Planning. She sees this project as a fantastic opportunity to combine her knowledge of environmental issues with her legal skills in order to encourage greater environmental awareness and develop legal mechanisms to enforce environmental rights.

Cerin is excited about the prospect of living in Mongolia, experiencing a new culture, tackling a new language and trying to adapt to a new climate. She is also looking forward to using her skills and experience to assist in developing the understanding of Mongolian people on their environmental rights.

Benjamin Morgan

Benjamin Morgan is a full time Software Engineer who graduated from the University of Queensland with First class honours in 2002. He has three years experience working in the Information Technology industry, including two and a half years working for Oracle, the world’s leading database company.

As an Information Technology Officer Benjamin will be helping the Mongolian government build a Human Resource management system using current best practices. He will also aid in the development of the supporting infrastructure and skills necessary to deploy and maintain the system.

Benjamin has an interest in other cultures and has applied for the AYAD program because he believes it offers an opportunity to be involved in development of another country and experience another culture. He believes that working in Mongolia will provide a unique opportunity to mentor other developers and improve his communication skills.

The outcome of his project will be development of the Human Resources system and to transfer the professional skills required to maintain and support the system. This system will aid the Mongolian government in effective management of their public service through a web based portal. Transfer of professional skills is of equal importance to the success of the AYAD project and will involve working closely with his counterparts to ensure that best practices for development and maintenance are communicated appropriately.

Luke Miller

Luke will be working for 12 months in Ulaanbaatar, as a Business Information Systems Specialist with the Mongolian Development Gateway (MnDG) Non-Government Organisation.

The role will incorporate providing training on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications and key functions, providing technical assistance for the MnDG portal, organising workshops and facilitating communication between stakeholders in the development sector in Mongolia, as well as assisting to develop and implement upcoming MnDG projects.

Luke completed a Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Sydney in 2003. Additionally Luke is currently enrolled in a Masters of International Social Development at the University of New South Wales, which he hopes to complete when he returns from Mongolia.

Since completing Computer Science, Luke has spent his time primarily working in Information Technology in the Financial Services sector in Sydney, as well as undertaking projects for local NGO’s and the New South Wales government.

Outside his commercial work, Luke has also participated in community development projects in remote Australia and overseas through Youth Challenge Australia. In Costa Rica, he worked in one of the few remaining co-operatives, primarily assisting with development of tourist infrastructure, basic farming as well as other small community projects. In Australia, Luke was placed in Yuendumu an Indigenous Community in the Northern Territory for ten weeks. Luke worked as a tutor in the community education centre and with the Mt. Theo Petrol Sniffing Initiative.

Luke is looking forward to combining his expertise in ICT with his knowledge and interest in community development with the MnDG.

Intake 16:

Intake 17:

Anna Bauze

For Anna, the opportunity to live and work in a development setting is the realisation of a dream. Anna will take up a 12 month position as Public Health Project Officer with the Mongolian Public Health Professionals Association (MPHPA) supporting the identification and development of public health projects. The MPHPA is a small non-government organisation based at the University of Health Sciences in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

Following successful completion of her honours degree in science, Anna came to realise that her contribution to positive outcomes for the community could be best made outside the laboratory. In 2002, while working as a university research administrator, Anna commenced her Master of Public Health as a field of study which reflected her varied interests in health, social policy, research and international development. This undertaking galvanised her commitment to international health and ultimate aim of working overseas in a professional capacity.

In 2004 Anna moved from the tertiary sector to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aging. During this time she worked to progress the department’s capacity-building activities in China, Vietnam and the Pacific; an experience that exposed her to the complexities and competing priorities of governments and donor organisations in the development sector.

Anna is hopeful that the knowledge and skills she has gained during her employment in the public service, university and government institutions, together with her commitment to public health, will prepare her to make a positive and practical contribution to Mongolia’s developing public health agenda.

Anna is looking forward to exploring the varied landscape of mountains and desert in Mongolia, gaining an understanding of Mongolia’s fascinating history and traditional nomadic lifestyle, and the many challenges ahead, not least of which will be trying to learn the language and surviving the plummeting temperatures during winter.

Sebastian Fowler

Sebastian Fowler recently completed his Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia at Victoria University in Melbourne. There he designed websites, games, authored CDs and DVDs and produced an online comic.

With the English for Special Purposes (ESP) Foundation, Sebastian will be using his experience to design a website for the youth of Mongolia and train them in the use of that site. In conjunction with the English language television program, the website will provide useful and relevant information to the youth of Mongolia. Seb hopes to make an interesting, exciting, fun and informative website for the youth of Mongolia, to gain great experience and share his experience and skills with others. He looks forward to his year working with the ESP Foundation on what should be an extremely worthwhile and rewarding project.

Sebastian gained interest in the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program after his travel experiences in PNG, where he had a great time meeting the locals and a good share of international volunteers. Aside from that, Seb has always been interested in different cultures and travel. He sees AYAD Program is a great opportunity to put his skills into practice and to make a positive and sustainable contribution.

While he usually prefers warmer weather, Seb can’t wait to brave the cold of Ulaanbaatar and get to know some fascinating people in a fascinating part of the world. He also plans to document his time away online through writing, pictures, comics and drawings.

David Lipson

David is undertaking a 12 month project in Mongolia with the ESPF (English for Special Purposes Foundation), which is based in Ulaanbaatar. As a Television Journalist for English Youth Development, he will be working closely with Mongol National Television to help produce an English language TV series, focusing on issues affecting young Mongolians. The series is aimed at improving the language skills of local youth and children who may not have access to English teachers. David will work closely with fellow AYAD Sebastian Fowler, who will be creating a website for the project.

David has worked as a television journalist since 2000, first with Ten Capital News in Canberra and then with Sky News in Sydney. Most recently he has worked for Sky News in Melbourne, where he set up and directed the bureau. He has also worked extensively with various community radio stations. In 2004 he spent two months working with Wakakirri, a national eisteddfod, in which primary school students tell stories through music and dance. He spent the days helping the students with their rehearsals and hosted the event each night.

David welcomes the opportunity to work with young people again. A keen traveler, he’s also very excited about the prospect of living in a developing country and contributing to its growth. He’s also excited to work with Mongolian communications professionals. David is looking forward to spending time in the countryside, getting to know the locals and perhaps climbing a glacier or two. Strangely, he’s also keen to see what minus 40 degrees feels like.

Isabel Cane

Isabel will be working as a Social Worker for the Gender Center for Sustainable Development (GCSD) in Ulaanbaatar. The GCSD focuses on the need to incorporate gender in government policy and within the development process of local and international development agencies. By researching and collating data on current standards of living for women, Isabel will be working with the GCSD and with Mongolian women to promote greater participation and access for women within Mongolian life.

During her twelve month posting in Ulaanbaatar Isabel will be assisting the center to further strengthen the community’s mobilisation activities. By building the capacity of community groups to design, implement, monitor and evaluate local health and social services, Isabel will be assisting in the establishment of the Social Health and Education Center to operate independently from the GCSD and further strengthen networks with other organisations and community groups in Mongolia.

Isabel has completed a degree in International Studies with First Class Honours from the University of Adelaide where she focused her studies on Gender and Development and Rights theory. To complement her studies Isabel sought field experience throughout her degree working with underprivileged women in Chile for World Vision and undertook a political Internship with Amnesty International in Peru working with political prisoners. She has also previously worked within Mongolia where she walked across a part of the country for the Christina Nobles Children’s Foundation to raise funds for street children.

Isabel’s experience of the openness and generosity of the Mongolian people and their heritage made a significant impression on her. She is excited about the opportunity to work and live again within this country of contrasts.

Rebekah Plueckhahn

Rebekah is thrilled to be working for 12 months in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for the Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM) as a Cultural Heritage Education Program Coordinator. Rebekah will assist the ACM in researching and identifying rural arts and cultural organisations, implement a cultural heritage education program for children and young people and provide education training for Arts Council staff, curators, artists and musicians. Rebekah will also work to establish local and international networks for cultural heritage and arts organisations in Ulaanbaatar and rural areas.

A musician herself, Rebekah is interested in understanding and developing sustainable initiatives that perpetuate cultural heritage and identity. She completed a Bachelor of Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne in 2004 in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology. She has worked as an instrumental music teacher with young people and performed in musical groups ranging from orchestras and rock bands to Javanese Gamelan.

A strong interest in how cultural traditions sustain and perpetuate social and individual identity has taken Rebekah to South-East Asia, North-East Arnhem Land and India. In 2005, Rebekah interned at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington DC USA, assisting Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Policy development and the production of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. In Australia, Rebekah has since lectured in Ethnomusicology and worked for the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC).

Rebekah sees this AYAD assignment as a fantastic opportunity to work locally with curators and cultural practioners. She looks forward to applying cultural research and education in the development of sustainable cultural initiatives that contribute to the articulation and promotion of Mongolia’s rich cultural heritage. Rebekah can’t wait to explore rural regions of Mongolia and to hear live Mongolian throat singing.

Reisha Hartley

Reisha is looking forward to spending 12 months in Ulaanbaatar working as a Youth Development Facilitator with World Vision International – Mongolia.
In her role Reisha will work in the advocacy department with the Child Participation program. She will focus on generating support for child and youth initiatives as well as designing and implementing strategies to increase engagement and participation.

Reisha has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Sociology and Social Justice. Recently she was awarded first class honours for her thesis on the experience of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Western Australian schools.

She has spent the past few years working with young people in a variety of settings. This has included work with students who have migrated from developing countries to Australia and students at risk of disengaging and leaving school early. She has also been instrumental in the developing and implementation of family programs for parents of high school children and infants. Her experience includes work with state and local governments and the not-for-profit sector.

Reisha believes that a year spent in Mongolia will allow her to develop her skills while assisting to engage young people. She is also very excited by the prospect of what she can learn from the people of Mongolia. She welcomes the challenge and the chance to gain knowledge, share and participate in this program.

Reisha is thrilled to be able to take up this opportunity and only a little petrified of the minus thirty degree temperatures.

Intake 18:
Amy Taylor

Amy will spend nine months working as an ESL teacher trainer at the University of the Humanities in Ulaanbaatar. She will be working with the university’s English teachers to assist them in improving their language skills and increasing their knowledge and understanding of modern teaching methodology though workshops, seminars and team teaching.

Amy graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English, History and French. In order to improve her French language skills she lived in Belgium for one year, followed by six months studying at the University de la Reunion on Reunion Island. She returned to Australia to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education with a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) major.

Following her studies she moved to Japan for two years where she developed and taught an English learning program in a Japanese primary school. During her time in Japan Amy was involved as a volunteer in a short-term housing project in the Philippines. Since returning from Japan in 2005 she has been teaching English to newly arrived refugee and migrant youth in Perth.

Amy is currently completing a Master of International and Community Development through Deakin University. The opportunity to work in Mongolia will enable her to combine these studies with her background in education.

Amy hopes to experience first hand the challenges of international community development and sees this project as an invaluable insight into a career in this field.

Jane Addison

Jane will be working with the Desertification Research Center in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, assisting researchers assess desertification processes in the Gobi Desert. Jane applied for this twelve month position as she wished to compare and contrast cultural and natural arid landscapes, and the use of their natural resources, in Australia and Mongolia. She hopes that a firm understanding of the people and processes of both countries will allow her to identify gaps and opportunities for research and extension.

Jane holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management with Honours from the University of Western Australia. Her Honours project correlated quantitative indicators of rangeland ‘health’ with qualitative indicators used in an increasingly popular landscape monitoring method. This work was conducted in the arid Pilbara region of Western Australia under a variety of disturbance regimes such as grazing, fire and areas of mine rehabilitation.

She has also contributed to landscape monitoring in other arid and semi-arid areas of Western Australia, as well as in New Mexico. In the last two years Jane has been based in Darwin as a plant ecologist.

Jane greatly enjoys desert landscapes, and especially looks forward to the Gobi fieldwork. While being slightly nervous about learning Mongolian, she is looking forward to sleeping in gers and participating in some serious ice wrestling.

Alison Prior

Alison will be working for twelve months with the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) in Ulaanbaatar. Her role as a Community Development Officer will involve working with remote and peri-urban poor communities to develop action plans for creating more sustainable livelihoods. The aim of this is to raise people out of poverty whilst protecting the natural resources on which they depend.

The other major component of the assignment will be work on a project run by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) to assist in the formation of micro credit schemes for community empowerment.

Capacity building programs will also be developed for the staff at CHRD to achieve the organisation’s goal of promoting and protecting human rights and social justice in Mongolia.

Alison has recently completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and a Bachelor of Arts (Sustainable Development) at Murdoch University. Throughout her university studies she undertook various community development and leadership projects, including a volunteer project with Youth Challenge Australia in Costa Rica and community projects in remote Indigenous communities. This combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills will enable her to assist in the development of Mongolian communities at a grass roots level.

The position with CHRD was set up in partnership with the Murdoch University Environmental Technology Centre (ETC), who will assist in assessing technology options and development strategies. Alison’s assignment will form part of her Honours studies at Murdoch.

Alison is passionate about the outdoors and is eager to experience her first bareback horse ride across the Mongolian steppes, to look out at the vast expanse of stars from the Gobi desert and to stay in a ger and experience the famous Mongolian hospitality first hand. She is looking forward to the professional and personal challenges of living and working in Mongolia.

Intake 19:
Gillian Duggin

Gillian will be heading to Mongolia for twelve months to take up a role as Environmental Advocacy Office with the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) in Ulaanbaatar.

Founded in 1998, CHRD is a non-government organisation that contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights and social justice in Mongolia. CHRD conducts activities to support effective human rights advocacy, and is currently focusing on environmental advocacy. Its Australian Partner Organisation is the Environmental Defender’s Office Ltd.

The focus of Gillian’s role with CHRD is public interest environmental litigation and advocacy. Her work will include researching international public interest environmental litigation cases and training CHRD staff on these cases in terms of their relevance to Mongolia. She will assist CHRD lawyers to source and conduct public interest environmental litigation.

Gillian has completed a combined Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law at Sydney University, which she undertook with the view to practising environmental law.

After completing her studies, she participated in a volunteer project in Costa Rica with Youth Challenge Australia, and has spent the last two years working as a solicitor with an Australian law firm in the area of environment and planning law.

Gillian is looking forward to using her skills and knowledge gained in the corporate environment in an organisation that combines human rights advocacy with her longstanding interest in environmental issues. She sees her Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) role as a great opportunity to assist in promoting environmental protection in Mongolia.

Despite her fear of the cold weather, she is looking forward to living and working in Mongolia, and is very excited about the chance to explore some of the country on horseback!

Sarah Bleby

Excited by the opportunity to combine her experience in the arts with her keen interest in development, Sarah will spend twelve months with the Arts Council of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. As Advocacy Program Coordinator, she will work on strengthening local cultural networks and identifying the advocacy needs of arts organisations throughout Mongolia.

Sarah graduated with Honours in Ethnomusicology from the University of Adelaide. Her studies, including Anthropology and Linguistics, developed her understanding of the arts as an integral part of culture and society. She is looking forward to researching the vital role of cultural heritage in Mongolian social and economic development, and to linking Mongolian arts to international forums and cultural policy.

Over the last ten years, Sarah’s passion for facilitating artistic and cultural activity has led her around the world. She has worked on many diverse productions, from small-scale community projects to major international events, including the Australian Arts Program at World EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan, the ceremonies of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 in Qatar and three international Adelaide Festivals of Arts. With a background in music spanning many genres, Sarah has also directed children’s and community choirs and, most recently, was producer of ABC Classic FM’s Classic Drive.

Having spent many months in the searing heat of the Middle East, Sarah is looking forward to living in the world’s coldest capital city, where garbage trucks sound like ice-cream trucks and fast food chains dare not venture!

James Lambrou

James Lambrou is undertaking a placement for twelve months as an Economic Development Officer with World Vision in Ulaanbaatar. Working within the organisation’s Business Development Service in collaboration with Vision Fund Mongolia, he will contribute to micro-economic development in local communities. The Australian Partner Organisation is World Vision in Australia.

By providing capacity-building services and micro-credit, World Vision is increasing income generation and the overall livelihoods for over 5000 of its local members. James will be working closely with World Vision Mongolia team to deliver capacity building services to local businesses and to research new and innovative ways of improving World Vision’s business development services throughout the country.

James has spent the past year working for Cardno Acil in Australia supporting the management of AusAID funded projects from the company’s head office in Melbourne. His placement with the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program presents a valuable opportunity to work in the field and witness the benefits of development work first hand.

With a particular interest in economic development, he looks forward to the challenges of working in Mongolia and addressing the root causes of poverty to produce sustainable development outcomes.

James also plans to experience as much as possible of Mongolia’s unique lifestyle and environment.

By the end of his assignment James hopes to have contributed to the improvement of capacity building and training services and identified new and innovative strategies for implementing micro-economic development based on best practice models in similar economic contexts.

He also hopes to be fully thawed out after winter!

Intake 20 AYADs:
Gabrielle Brady

Gabrielle is undertaking a twelve month project with the English for Special Purposes (ESP) Foundation which is based in Ulaanbaatar. ESP Foundation is a non-government organisation that aims to promote social development and reduce isolation in Mongolia through enhancing the English speaking capacity of its people. The Foundation’s activities include providing courses in English for special purposes, teacher training and organising cultural activities to complement learning. ESP Foundation has also initiated a number of projects to improve distance education using the internet, television and SMS technology.

As a Television Youth Producer for English Youth Development, Gabrielle will be working closely with Mongol National Television to help produce the second series of the English language television series Voice Box. This will focus on issues affecting young Mongolians. The series is aimed at improving the language skills of local youth and children who may not have access to English teachers.

Gabrielle has been producing at Channel 7’s breakfast show Sunrise for almost two years. Gabrielle has also recently worked on The Morning Show as a producer.

Other past ventures include stage managing touring theatre shows, hosting community radio, and performing with children.

Last year Gabrielle travelled to Thailand to work for the theatre company Makhampom. This involved teaching English to Thai children and teenagers. This sparked her interest in the English teaching arena.

Gabrielle is excited to be taking on a venture that fuses both working with children as well as television producing and hosting, in a setting so far from Australia! Gabrielle is also looking forward to the chance of exploring Mongolia for the amazing landscapes and rich history.

Poh Lin Lee

Poh Lin will be working with the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV), an organisation that works to improve the Mongolian social structure in order to prevent and eliminate violence against women and children. The main goals of the NCAV are to reduce social tolerance of domestic violence; to create a legal framework that effectively eliminates and prevents violence; and to provide protection and social services for victims. Its activities are in the areas of legislation, client services, women’s shelters, men’s programs, public education and a children’s program.

The role with NCAV that Poh Lin has been appointed to is Social Worker. She will be based in Ulaanbaatar and undertaking this twelve month project to assist in building skills in the area of individual and group counselling, develop practice standards tailored to the Mongolian context and conduct needs assessments to guide service delivery.

Poh Lin graduated from Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia with a Bachelor of Social Work. During her studies Poh Lin worked in crisis services for women and children escaping domestic violence before moving into the area of individual, couple and group counselling.

Poh Lin hopes to engage in dialogue around the Mongolian experience of domestic violence that creates new territories of thinking and ways of responding to violence in the community.

Poh Lin loves to travel and is excited about the prospect of contributing to and living in a developing country. She is looking forward to immersing herself in downtown Ulaanbaatar and seeing where the journey takes her.

Rhiannon Tabaka

Rhiannon will be working with the Cultural Heritage Centre of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. She applied for this twelve month position with the hope of gaining more hands-on experience in the restoration of ancient artefacts and to broaden her cultural knowledge and understanding.

As an Art Restoration Officer she will be researching museum collections to identify items requiring analysis and restoration; conducting analysis on a wide range of materials, including ancient garments and textile materials, ancient wall paintings and plaster minerals in ancient buildings and temples. She will also provide training in relevant fields and assist in fundraising for equipment.

On completion of the assignment Rhiannon will have achieved broader knowledge of ancient museum collections and materials, plus their restoration needs. She also hopes to have adequately trained her counterparts, leaving them confident with a sound knowledge of restoration and conservation techniques.

Rhiannon has completed a Bachelor of Archaeology with a major in Classics and is currently undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Archaeology.

She has contributed to many societies and organisations including the Flinders University Archaeology Society (of which she was once the president), Flinders University Post Graduate Students Society, Greenpeace, World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Classics Association of Australia.

Rhiannon enjoys reading, going to concerts and spending time with friends and family. She is passionate for learning about new cultures, and their history and archaeology is especially important. Rhiannon looks forward to learning about Mongolian language and culture, and can’t wait to experience a unique Mongolian winter!

Stephen Tucker

Stephen will be working for eleven months in Ulaanbaatar at the Institute of Radio and Television (IRTV), Mongolia’s only public education facility dedicated to teaching broadcast journalists.

His role as TV Journalism Trainer will involve training staff and students in best-practice journalism skills and methods, as well as their social and ethical responsibilities. With journalism in Mongolia having only recently emerged from a communist system, Stephen applied for the position hoping to experience the difference between Australian and Mongolian media first hand. He also believes journalists play an integral role as the citizenry’s watchdogs and looks forward to encouraging this in Mongolia’s emerging journalists.

Stephen will have completed a Bachelor of Journalism, with specialisations in politics and public relations, from Griffith University by the end of 2007. He has worked as a broadcast journalist on a Gold Coast community radio station since September 2006, and has also trained with ABC Radio and interned in television news services. Furthering his media experience, he worked in public relations during an internship with Queensland parliamentarians.

For two summers Stephen also travelled to the United States to work with children and adults with various intellectual and physical disabilities, such as autism and Down Syndrome. In this capacity he assisted with daily living skills and developed programs to promote their independence. Following this he travelled throughout North America, Europe and Asia, gaining a love of other cultures.

Stephen is eager to use his journalist skills to promote high quality journalism. He is excited at the challenge of learning Mongolian and is relishing the opportunity to learn about a truly unique society.

Shasheen Jayaweera

Since travelling through Asia and Africa after high school and experiencing poverty first hand Shasheen has been passionate about making a difference in developing nations, leading him to a role in Mongolia through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program.

Shasheen will spend five months with the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI); Mongolia’s peak business authority which supports private sector development in the country’s transition to a market-based economy. The assignment with the Chamber is based in Ulaanbaatar.

Shasheen’s role as Business Development Officer will involve building market maps, developing trade promotion strategies, identifying key investment areas and developing business tool kits for small to medium enterprises. Furthermore he will assist with promoting best trade practices and promoting corporate social responsibility.

Shasheen will draw upon his experience with business, governments, and international organisations along with economic and social development in his AYAD Program role.
Shasheen has worked in business analyst roles in several leading organisations including Macquarie Bank, the New South Wales Treasury, Telstra and was a research assistant for the Shadow Minister of State Planning and Infrastructure. He also led a research team for the World Bank in the South Pacific Islands, has advised many non-government organisations and is currently establishing a funds management company.

While undertaking a Commerce and Economics double Degree at the University of New South Wales, Shasheen was heavily involved in many charitable and volunteer organisations, for which he was recognised as one of four state finalists for Young Australian of the Year in 2007. He has also been featured on the cover of two million Sydney White Pages directories for the theme of Young Australia – Shaping Our Future.

In his spare time Shasheen plays three instruments, writes music in a band, enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures and customs.

Tehmi Sukhla

Tehmi has always wanted to volunteer, live in a developing country and live in a country where she has to learn a new language. The Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) Program was perfect for her as it ticked all three boxes at once.

Tehmi will be working as a Business Development and Marketing Officer at the National Information Technology Park (NITP) of Mongolia. She will be based in Ulaanbaatar for this assignment.

NITP is a major non-profit government organisation, established in 2002 to develop Mongolia’s information technology sector. Mongolia’s IT sector has experienced unprecedented growth over the last three years and is positioned to be a key area of Mongolia’s development sector with extensive social and economic reach throughout urban and rural Mongolia. NITP works to: turn innovative ideas into products and services, develop scientific and technological databases, promote offshore software development, and introduce technological innovation into Mongolia’s social and economic sectors.

Tehmi aims to help make NITP a leading IT organisation through developing marketing and partnership plans, project proposals to support IT sector development; along with project monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. She hopes to achieve this by training NITP staff and IT incubator companies in business development and marketing.

Tehmi enjoys working with and learning from people with different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. She also loves to travel and is looking forward to a life changing experience living and working in Ulaanbaatar.

Tehmi is excited to learn Mongolian, to immerse herself in an ancient culture and to spend a year in the coldest capital city in the world!

Intake 21 AYADs:
Maia Williams

Maia will be working at the Institute of Geoecology – Division of Water in Ulaanbaatar for twelve months. Her role will be as an Environmental Engineer (Water).

She will assist researchers in assessing water harvesting and management techniques appropriate to the arid landscapes of Mongolia. She will participate in field work and data collection, and promote the use of geographic information system (GIS) technologies within the Institute’s research program. She hopes to expand the international resources and contacts available to the Institute and aid in the publication of work.

During her studies towards an Environmental Engineering Degree at the University of Western Australia, Maia developed a great interest in water and land management practices in different environments.

This interest has led her to work on river restoration, sustainable farming practice and land use management research projects in Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Following the completion of her degree Maia has worked in the area of dryland salinity and water resource management in Western Australia. She is now very excited about the opportunity to learn about the Mongolian landscape and the challenges faced in managing it.

Maia aims to contribute her technical skills and hydrological experience to furthering the Institute’s research work. She is also looking forward to immersing herself in the language, lifestyle and culture of the Mongolian people, as well as experiencing the physical landscapes of a fascinating country. Maia is looking forward to ventures into the desert and rolling steppe and is summoning up strength to survive the infamous Mongolian winter

Erin Richardson

Erin will be undertaking a twelve month assignment with the Gender Center for Sustainable Development (GCSD) in Ulaanbaatar.

GCSD is a leading Mongolian NGO which works to promote women’s equality and human development by integrating gender issues into the social, economic, and political spheres. GCSD’s work involves policy analysis and dialogue on key development issues, action research, advocacy training, and capacity building. Its community level activities include a health and education centre which works with poor migrant families from rural areas.

As the Gender and Development Officer, Erin will assist in building the capacity of the GCSD in social research methodologies, with a particular focus on gender analysis. Erin will also support the implementation of projects to promote local governance and civil participation, and will work closely with GCSD to build a new monitoring and evaluation model for its ongoing health and education programs.

With a long standing interest in women’s advocacy and feminist politics Erin is keen to contribute her skills to the promotion of the status of Mongolian women and is looking forward to the challenges of working in a developing country.

Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne and is currently completing a Master of Development (Gender and Development) at the same university.

For the past two years she has been active as a volunteer with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia, and the Melbourne Chapter of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) – Australia.

Benjamin Rodgers

Ben will be working in Ulaanbaatar on a twelve month assignment as a Management Officer for the Lotus Children’s Center.

Established by an Australian in 1995, Lotus Children’s Centre is a non-government organisation (NGO) working with vulnerable Mongolian families. It provides a home and education for children whose backgrounds include abandonment, sexual abuse, malnutrition and domestic violence. It houses about one hundred and forty children ranging from newborn babies to teenagers, and also runs a kindergarten and a primary school. The Centre provides services in the areas of accommodation, education, personal development and family support.

In the role of Management Officer Ben will be training management staff in marketing, awareness raising and public relations as well as service delivery and organisational management.

A graduate from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Business, Ben has worked for five years in a variety of roles for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), including two years in administration for a YMCA camp facility in the United States of America.

While running outdoor education programs necessitates playing basketball with children and four square with staff, it also requires development of strong business understanding which Ben hopes to transfer to the Lotus Children’s Center.

Ben is currently in Costa Rica leading a group of volunteers for Youth Challenge Australia. His passion for travel and languages stems from a Rotary Youth Exchange to Brazil. He has lived through winters in Northern France and the Mid West of America. He looks forward to layering up, digging out the lined boots and seeing snow on the plains of Mongolia.

Stephanie Donse

Stéph will be working for the National Network of Mongolian Women’s Non-Government Organisations (MONFEMNET). MONFEMNET is a membership based, public benefit, non-profit and non-governmental organisation. The organisation aims at fostering a strong, nation-wide movement towards gender justice and human rights. The network has a special focus on policy reform and social change towards a society that provides human rights and freedoms for all.

Stéph will be based in Ulaanbaatar and her assignment will last for twelve months. Her role is that of Public Relations Officer. During her stay in Mongolia she will be working on MONFEMNET’s communications and public relations strategy, more specifically she will be working on web content, a MONFEMNET newsletter, and organising public events.

Stéph undertook a Bachelor of Communication, specialising in Public Relations as her undergraduate Degree at the University of Canberra. She has also completed a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development at the Australian National University. While completing her masters Stéph took a particular interest in indigenous development and gender issues.

Stéph is looking forward to experiencing a new culture and the opportunity of learning a new language. She is excited at the prospect of seeing Mongolia’s wide, open landscapes and going hunting for snow leopards and marmots with her camera.

William Swanson

In 2008 Will commences working for twelve months with the Ministry of Health – Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. His role will be as a Health Program Coordinator.

The Ministry of Health is a central agency responsible for the oversight and operations of the health sector in Mongolia. Its main activities are decision making related to development of policy on various health issues, coordination of all health related issues, standard setting, oversight of health sector performance, coordination of planning and use of domestic and external resources and resource allocation.

He will be assisting with the development of staff skills in the coordination and management of the implementation process of a health sector strategic master plan; a plan that sets out strategic directions for the Mongolian health sector until the year 2015.

He will also be improving the coordination of activities being carried out by the various officers in the health policy and planning division; improving documentation of the capacity building activities to be implemented as part of the master plan; assisting in coordination of international partners, their inputs and projects; and contributing to the institutionalisation of the health sector coordination committee and its secretariat.

With Bachelors qualifications in Business and Health Science majoring Health Service Management, as well as development experience in Sudan and Thailand, Will is excited to take up this new assignment in Mongolia.

Will is passionate about development work and helping others. He is keen to use this opportunity with the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program to further extend his experience and skills in this area.

Rebecca Sirianni

Rebecca will be embarking on a twelve month placement as a Public Health Project Development Officer with World Vision International – Mongolia based in Ulaanbaatar. The Australian Partner Organisation is World Vision.

Working with World Vision’s Mongolia health department, the main aim of the assignment will be directed at initiatives focusing on nutrition, tuberculosis control and HIV/AIDs response. She will assist the team to develop and identify an appropriate and effective public health project proposal. Rebecca will also assist the development and strengthening of local and international sustainable partnerships.

Rebecca’s role encourages community action and empowers communities to make good choices regarding their own health and wellbeing. Rebecca has a strong interest in public health and in particular international health and is keen to discover how different models of public health operate when resources vary.

Rebecca has spent the past years working as a health promotion officer for local government in Australia.

Rebecca sees the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program as a great opportunity to transfer her knowledge and skills gained in local government to this exciting new venture and to make a difference to the lives of others. She is anticipating challenges however she is ready for a great adventure ahead.

The love of travelling, exploring new terrains and meeting new people has remained with Rebecca since embarking on her first overseas trip. The idea of fully immersing herself in a different culture has now become a reality. Rebecca is keen to discover the amazing landscape that makes Mongolia unique and of course to experience a Mongolia winter.

Graham Palfreyman

Thrilled by the prospect of using his experience and study in business development in the humanitarian sector, Graham is off to Ulaanbaatar for twelve months as a Business Development Officer within the Liberal Women’s Brain Pool (LEOS).

LEOS is a national non-profit organisation, established in 1992. Its activities aim to address unemployment and poverty through building community capacity to solve social problems, in particular the capacity of women to participate in the socioeconomic development of the country.

A new business talent incubator (BTI) to provide training and financial advice to support the establishment of small businesses in local communities has been established by LEOS. Graham’s focus will be to improve local staff capacity and the ability of Mongolian companies to develop project proposals and business plans.

With a keen interest in improving equality through sustainable business, Graham will endeavour to improve the business skills of the local Mongolians so that they will be in a better position to take advantage of their relatively new market economy.

After graduating from Central Queensland University with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Management and Human Resource Management, Graham has since worked for the Australian Federal Government assisting small to medium size enterprises develop and become more competitive and innovative.

Having travelled extensively around the world he would now like to use his skills and experience where there is a greater need and where the opportunities for people are fewer then in the west. This assignment will be his first step along a new career path in humanitarian development.

Graham is also extremely excited about the opportunity to see the Gobi Desert and Steppes of Mongolia, as well as having the experience of living in vert cold country after living his whole life in sunny Queensland.

More details: http://www.ayad.com.au/aspx/meet_our_ayads.aspx

Related: AUSAID AYAD program


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