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Scholarships nominees learn about DFAT’s safeguard policies

Posted: 20 September 2023

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In preparation for their Australia Awards Scholarships, Scholarship nominees came together in Kathmandu on 15 September 2023 to learn about the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) safeguard policies.

These include DFAT’s Child Protection Policy and Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy.

The nominees, who will commence their master’s programs in Australia in 2024, participated in both virtual and in-person workshop sessions.

Ms Luna Purification, an Assistant Director in DFAT’s Human and Environmental Safeguards Section, presented on DFAT’s child and adult safeguard policies, contexts and risk mitigation and incident reporting processes.

DFAT official Luna Purification presents on DFAT safeguard policies.

Two-time Australia Awards alum Dr Neeti Aryal Khanal (PhD in Sociology and Master by Research in Women’s Studies, Monash University) delivered an interactive session on gender equality, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI) in practice. Through examples and case studies, participants learnt about unconscious bias types, direct and indirect discrimination and ways to practice inclusivity. Nominees also learnt about GEDSI practices and social contexts in Australia and how they can prepare for immersion in a different cultural and academic environment.

The nominees further learnt from two current Australia Awards scholars about making the most of an Australia Awards Scholarship. Rakshya Risal (pursuing a Master of Women’s and Gender Studies at Flinders University) highlighted her experiences and opportunities outside the classroom, including internships, networking, leadership development activities and exploring one’s surroundings. Sibjan Chaulagain (studying a Master of Agricultural Innovation at the Australian National University) spoke about establishing connections that are beneficial in one’s field of expertise with relevant Australian organisations, the importance of setting networking goals prior to arriving in Australia, making useful connections on LinkedIn and using university websites to locate relevant activities and events.

Australia Awards scholars Rakshya Risal (left) and Sibjan Chaulagain (right) share advice on making the most of an Australia Awards Scholarship.

Nominees expressed how the workshop boosted their understanding on DFAT’s safeguard policies and ways to prepare for their time in Australia. One nominee mentioned, ‘I found the workshop very informative and will use the learnings during my Scholarship.’ Another commented that the workshop “made me feel more responsible.” And a third said, ‘I am critically reevaluating myself.’

Nominees for Australia Awards Scholarships will be announced at the Award Ceremony in December 2023. In the meantime, they will undergo university placement and Australian visa processes, and will participate in comprehensive pre-departure briefings prior to their 2024 departures for Australia.