Bangkok - For over 15 years the Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) programme has played a key role in preparing Australia-bound refugees and humanitarian entrants for a new life down under.
A pre-departure orientation programme delivered by IOM trainers and administered from Bangkok, AUSCO is a 5-day cultural orientation course that prepares people mainly from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa, for life in Australia.
It aims to empower those being resettled with essential information about life in their new country, while equipping them with the basic skills and tools needed to deal with initial settlement concerns and challenges that they might face when moving to Australia. The goal is to help beneficiaries achieve independence and self-sufficiency as soon as possible after they arrive.
Since its inception in 2003, over 95,000 beneficiaries have participated in the programme, which is funded by Australia’s Department of Social Services.
The Australian Government remains committed to offering refuge to people displaced by war, conflict and persecution and future generations of refugees will probably also benefit from cost-effective pre-departure orientation.
To ensure high standards in service provision and professionalism, AUSCO teams from across the globe gather to meet once a year to discuss best practices, develop standard operating procedures and improve teaching practices.
The most recent get together took place in Istanbul, Turkey in December 2018 and was IOM’s largest ever pre-departure orientation staff gathering. Participants were given intensive training on improving their interpersonal skills and knowledge of key cultural orientation issues.
Monica Noriega, an IOM specialist in gender-based violence, joined the group to facilitate a half-day workshop on how to integrate gender-based and domestic violence-related topics into class discussions. Other sensitive topics such hygiene and LGBTI issues were also addressed.