As COVID-19 sweeps the Pacific, Emergency Response Officer Sharin works with Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health to help protect the population. Photo: Island Roots and The Greenhouse Studio.

Close up of a woman’s hands in blue latex gloves, drawing liquid from a vial into a syringe. A person’s shoulder is visible in front of her, and two more people are out of focus in the background.

Partnerships for Recovery

(COVID-19 Preparedness, Response and Recovery)

Program Summary

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Deployment Months
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Host Organisations

In FY21, Australia Assists delivered on the Australian Government’s new Partnerships for Recovery development policy. Program outcomes were directly aligned with the Policy’s two areas of Focus and four Actions.

Areas of focus

1. The Indo-Pacific, particularly the Pacific, Timor-Leste and Southeast Asia.

38 of the 44 COVID-19-focused deployments (86 per cent) were in the Indo-Pacific, with 27 based in the Pacific (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu) and 11 in Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Laos, Indonesia, Pakistan).

2. An effective global response and recovery.

Six COVID-19-focused deployments (14 per cent) were in Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Liberia and Latin America. The remaining two were based in Geneva with a global focus.

Areas of action

Health security

Reducing COVID-19 transmission through public health awareness, clear guidelines and standards and strengthening local capacity with medical training and supply chain logistics.

In Papua New Guinea, Abby drafted national guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control, and developed and delivered training for medical personnel, including 78 PNG Defence Force Medical Corps officers, 21 nurses and 32 lab technicians. Chiedza concentrated on disease surveillance and control by establishing a national dashboard and an algorithm that helped to identify, determine and provide recommendations to mitigate the risk of importing COVID-19. Shannon assisted the National Department of Health communicate risk and engage the community to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, these deployments supported a more efficient and effective provincial and national response to COVID-19 to safeguard the health of the population.

“One key component of the work was the emergency set-up of facilities around WFP’s COVID-19 response. [Valeri] has been instrumental in ensuring that the new market facilities were created in a practical and fast manner to enable safe markets.”
Deputy Country Director, WFP Uganda, on deployee, Valeri.

Stephen and Rowan provided supply chain and logistics support to WFP Fiji and the Department of Water Resources in Vanuatu. As nationals of their respective countries, they leveraged and strengthened existing capacities and networks for local and regional procurement. Stephen oversaw the movement of essential goods throughout the Pacific and organised a warehouse from which to freight personal protective equipment and relief supplies, while Rowan supported the Department of Water Resources and the Ministry of Health to create a tracking system for medical cargo for distribution to local hospitals.


Building social cohesion and stability by investing in national capacity to maintain essential services while developing and implementing effective COVID-19 response and recovery plans.

  • Three Indonesian Provincial Officers, jointly recruited by RedR Indonesia, facilitated engagement between provincial and national government actors to support the assessment of humanitarian needs. Together they identified and articulated the serious concerns of more than 1000 individuals relating to food security, health worker availability and medical supplies, which informed the drafting of recovery plans. This directly resulted in provincial hospitals receiving medical consignments, including much needed ventilators, to help save lives but also help maintain critical community trust in provincial and national government COVID-19 responses.
  • COVID-19 Management and Coordination Response Adviser, Christine, was embedded in the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services where she advised the Under Secretary of Health on long-term COVID-19 response planning and sustainable resourcing. She identified and prepared public facilities for infection overflow and facilitated partnerships with national UNICEF and Red Cross offices to promote public health.
  • Two COVID-19 Information Management Officers, Greg and Rod, created dashboards with real-time updates on COVID-19 responses in more than 30 countries, helping decision-makers and donors to allocate global resources equitably.

See Regional Program Snapshots (Africa, Middle East, Asia, Myanmar and Bangladesh and Pacific) for more examples of COVID-19 preparedness and response.

Economic recovery

Bridging the humanitarian-development-stabilisation gap through civilian leaders who are experts in coordinating and facilitating joint programming to keep communities safe and support locally led recovery.

Five COVID-19 Coordinators worked remotely together in support of the UNDP Resident Coordinator’s Office across the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Vanuatu to inform national decision-making on economic recovery.

One deployee undertook rapid market assessments of sanitation products (hand sanitiser, soap, water trucking and chlorine) to understand their availability and affordability for COVID-19 response throughout 36 Latin American countries.

As a Logistics and Supply Chain Consultant, David provided new perspectives for the AHA Centre to find innovative ways to manage ASEAN humanitarian warehouses to prepare and respond to humanitarian crises.

Protecting those most at risk, especially women and girls

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate existing inequalities across every sphere – from health and the economy, to security and social protection – maintaining the wellbeing and resilience of those in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls, remains a strategic priority for the Australia Assists Program.

Five dedicated Protection and Gender Specialists focused on the Indo-Pacific, and two on the Middle East, to advance, mainstream and safeguard protection and inclusion in their respective host agency programs.

Jess prepared a Risk Communications and Community Engagement Strategy for the regional Joint Incident Management Team and organised toolkits to guide community workers on COVID-19 related risks, including gender-based violence, wellbeing in isolation and mental health and psychosocial support.

See Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion.

Program Snapshots

Download FY21 Deployment Data