Student Spotlight: Ally Lynch

As Engagement Coordinator for the Australian Volunteers Program, I connect people with opportunities to volunteer overseas in 26 countries and contribute to Australia’s Aid program.

Alexandra Lynch 1
Ally with rector of the Dili Institute of Technology (DIT), Timor-Leste, Alvaro Menezes Amaral (left) and staff member Estanislau Saldanha.

The Australian Volunteers Program provides Australians with the incredible opportunity to live in another community and support that community to remove barriers to development. If you’d like to learn more about the program and the support provided for volunteers visit We’re always looking for urban planners, architects, engineers, environmental science specialists, communication specialists and everything in between.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Queensland. I developed a passion for inclusive community development after working for Jesuit Mission in Sydney and Queensland’s peak-body for community housing and homelessness.

In 2016 I moved to Adelaide to work for Scope Global. I supported several Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade programs including Australian Volunteers for International Development, Tonga Skills, Sri Lanka Skills and the Kiribati Institute of Technology.

Alexandra Lynch Alola Foundation
Ally with Alola Foundation staff in Dili, Timor-Leste.

In my current role, I work with a diverse range of organisations in 26 developing countries. While each community has their own unique challenges, there is one common threat: climate change. If we do not learn to manage and mitigate the impacts of climate change we risk losing the remarkable social development gained over the last three decades. Increased incidence of natural disaster, food insecurity and pollution are just a few of the many destabilising climate breakdown-related forces acting on vulnerable communities around the world. Globally, these forces are felt first and hardest by those living in poverty, people living with disability, members of the LGBTIQ community and other groups marginalised from traditional international and local support structures.

Alexandra Lynch 3
The International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019 march in Dili, Timor-Leste.

My study through RMIT’s Master of Disaster, Design and Development is helping me bridge the divide between international development and humanitarian response. These two sectors need to work hand-in-hand, engaging local actors and mobilising international support, to ensure vulnerable communities not only endure, but thrive.