GEDSI Support Hub

How we support Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) for Scholarship and Short Course Participants

Gender equality is an integral part of the Australian Government’s development policy. Australia Awards aims to ensure equal participation and benefit, to the program, by men and women. Both men and women have a vital role as transformative leaders in promoting gender equality and social inclusion in their workplaces and communities.

Australia Awards ensures that as many eligible women as possible are reached at the award promotion stage and that every effort is made to redress gender disparities across the awards cycle.

Women are strongly encouraged to apply. Australia Awards Africa has various processes in place to support women to address gender-related barriers at the application, interviews and mobilisation stages.

The following are examples of the support that we offer female applicants:

  • The program has a discretionary GEDSI Equity Fund that aims to support women and persons with a disability to bridge any barriers they experience from application to the award stage.
  • A dedicated GEDSI Manager on staff to support and advise prospective and new scholars.
  • A gender-balanced panel, who have been briefed and are sensitive to gender-specific issues will interview you.
  • Alternative Pre-departure Briefing arrangements are available for those unable to travel due to pregnancy and other care-related responsibilities.
  • Deferral is possible for pregnant recipients and those with newborn babies.
  • Female alumni from the Women in Leadership Network and different associations are available to provide encouragement and guidance.
  • Mental Health support is available for all recipients whilst you undertake your award studies.
  • You and your baby’s welfare are a priority.
  • Should you be successful in your application for a Scholarship or Short Course and you are pregnant, in most instances, your award can be deferred to a later date.
  • The Australia Awards GEDSI Manager will counsel you through the options available to you.
  • If you fall pregnant before mobilisation you are encouraged to notify Australia Awards to discuss your options; including deferral as soon as possible.  The ability to defer awards for those due to deliver during the time of the enrolled course

Financial support for those requiring the services of a childminder when attending interviews and pre-departure briefings. Mentorships, facilitated through the Women in Leadership Network, alumni association and other alumni, and by linking all female scholars to female alumni from the same institution and country before travelling to Australia.

The decision to be enrolled in an overseas scholarship program often impacts the whole family. The following support is available:

  • All Australia Awards Scholarships scholars can be supported to mobilise to Australia with their immediate family. However, the family should carefully consider the implications of going on award as a family (e.g. childcare costs, employment possibilities for a partner, balancing family responsibilities with study commitments, adjustment to a new environment, English language proficiency, etc.), as well as the implications of leaving them behind. Consider your course duration and make the requisite plans with your family and employer.
  • Australia Awards Scholarships scholars with a minimum course duration of 24 months are entitled to one reunion airfare to travel back home to visit the family.
  • The Africa Connect Facebook Group supports networking among scholars and alumni and is an ideal opportunity for scholars to connect, share and support each other.

Please contact us at should you have a specific GEDSI-related enquiry. You can also send a WhatsApp message to +254 708608580 or +27 674216340. Please note that these numbers are ONLY available to support people who need additional GEDSI-related information and NOT for general enquiries about the awards.  

Palladium started the Women in Leadership Network (WILN) in 2013 as a voluntary network of female alumni and a platform where female participants could engage. The group has evolved into country chapters. The WILN is a forum, that brings together Australian Awards alumni with the aim of developing and leveraging women as change agents in their countries. The Network connects past and present female scholars and provides leadership and mentoring opportunities for them.

Many of its members are involved in efforts to empower women in Africa, by promoting Australian Government Scholarships to potential female applicants and supporting scholarship recipients who are headed to Australia to pursue their postgraduate studies. 

Members promoted Australia Awards to other eligible women, leading inclusive change at personal, workplace, community and alumni association levels. The program links WILN chapters and members to internal and external funding opportunities, supports them in writing grant proposals, profiles members and chapters in publicity material, and advises chapters and members on planned activities and proposals. Feedback indicated that alums had enhanced their self-belief and capacity as leaders. Alumnae who participated in the GEDSI (Gender, Equity, Disability and Social Inclusions) review said that international exposure through Women in Leadership events had broadened their outlook. Women who have obtained a post-graduate qualification find themselves at an advantage. They have the potential and power, through their expertise, to become change agents in their workplaces and communities. With this goal in mind, members of the Network are also encouraged to engage in and provide leadership for gender and development initiatives in their home countries. 

Amanda Odoi

Australia Awards Alumna, Amanda Odoi from Ghana is tackling gender-based violence from a different perspective – she believes that men need to be fully engaged and involved to end violence against women and girls. 

Amanda who has been working on issues of gender equality and gender-based violence for eight years, developed an interest in masculinities studies following her 2012 Australia Awards Fellowship on Building the Capacity of African Women Leaders: Gender Inclusive Development at Flinders University. 

 “During this period, we were introduced to a lot of literature and statistics on gender-based violence and how it is being addressed.  We were further, introduced to the White Ribbon group and how they are helping with advocacy against gender violence and how to engage men in gender-based violence advocacy.  This drew my attention to the fact that in all this work I have been doing, I had never considered the fact that men must be a focus,” says Amanda. Her work at the University of Cape Coast’s Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) now revolves around the social and cultural practices that can lead to violent practices among men in Ghana. 

In addition to research, Amanda is directly involved in handling diverse issues of concern to women at the University of Cape Coast and the surrounding communities especially in the area of advocacy on gender violence. Amanda says gender advocacy is challenging work due to long-held attitudes about gender roles and the need to go against the status quo but she is already seeing positive results. “Students and other recipients of our advocacy program have come out to state the impact of the awareness in their lives. I assisted a student in leaving an abusive situation she had been enduring for over 10 years. I hope to make more impact at CEGRAD and with the people I work with.”

The Australian Disability Discrimination Act describes disability, which includes physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning disability, physical disfigurement and the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms. People with disability who are otherwise eligible are encouraged to apply for an Australia Award. They will be considered equally, on merit, against all other applicants.

Having a disability will not disadvantage individuals in the application or selection process. Applications will be equitably considered and disability support provided by implementing adjustments and/or accommodations wherever reasonable, to ensure equal participation by anyone identified on a case-by-case basis as requiring support. The disclosure of disability does not disadvantage an individual applying for the scholarship. In addition, a non-discrimination policy ensures that individuals’ rights to privacy are respected.

Australia Awards strongly recommends that applicants with disability disclose their disability when lodging an application and communicate to the program any adjustments or assistance they will need to attend and participate before attending a selection interview. The application form provides an early opportunity to disclose a disability.

Disclosure of disability facilitates the provision of adjustment support during interviews for those who require this. For those who do not require adjustment support, it opens a space for discussion on managing the disability in a new environment (Australia) if they are awarded a scholarship.

Reasonable adjustment is put in place to enable persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others. A Disability Access and Equity Fund is in place to help overcome obstacles that persons living with a disability may face across the awards cycle, where possible.

We encourage people with disability, who are otherwise eligible for an Australia Award, to apply. The program will ensure applicants with disability are equally able to access the application and selection processes by providing reasonable adjustments and additional assistance. For successful scholars who mobilise to Australia, the support may include assistance with a carer, assistive devices and mobility equipment, the purchase of adaptive technology or the presentation of study material in alternative formats. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The program will also consider providing reasonable financial assistance to applicants with a disability where this assistance is essential to facilitate their participation on an equal basis with other applicants. The program may consult with the DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Disability Support Consultant for expert advice on specific requirements.

People with disability are less likely to meet some of Australia Awards’ current eligibility criteria owing to the likelihood that because of structural barriers limiting their choices, they have usually had access to fewer educational and life opportunities, including work opportunities, compared to others. To support equity of access, people with disability are therefore required to have a minimum of three years of post-graduate work experience. This can include relevant volunteer experience but will still require an ‘Employer’ Referee Report from the volunteer host organisation.

There is a range of skills gaps relating to disability inclusion. This includes the need for increased numbers of qualified people with disability working in disability specialist areas supportive of disability rights and inclusion. To support equity of access, people with disability who want to specialise in a disability rights and inclusion skills gap area, may therefore already be undertaking a master’s degree or already hold a master’s degree or equivalent in another study area.

Australia Awards promotes equal access and opportunities for all applicants, including those living with HIV and chronic conditions. A non-discrimination policy ensures that individuals’ rights to privacy are respected.

Australia Awards scholars need to consider and plan how to self-manage their condition while in Australia. Individuals who have disclosed their condition are advised of options to consider while in Australia (such as accessing a consistent supply of medication and treatment). The program offers advice and support but does not fund surgical interventions or medication.

The Overseas Student Health Cover (the student health cover for all scholars) usually has a waiting period during which pre-existing medical conditions are not covered. A pre-existing condition is any personal illness or health condition that is known and existed before accepting the offer for an Australia Award. This is usually a chronic illness (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression), injury or pregnancy.

Emmanuel Bassey

Nigerian Emmanuel Bassey has been visually impaired for several years. Despite his disability, he won four awards, a commendation from the Chancellor and a recognition from the Vice Chancellor at Flinders University. He also became the first scholar, the first African, and the first Flinders University student to win the Study Adelaide International Student of the Year Award. He also received the Study Adelaide Academic Excellence Award for Postgraduate Course-Work.  

Emmanuel Bassey is a Disability and Inclusion advisor at the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Teaching Hospital in Calabar. He completed his Masters in Disability Policy and Practice, in 2016, which equipped him with the knowledge, skills and practice to become an agent of change in his society.  

His post-graduate research experience in Australia provided him with the opportunity to gain further skills in method development, research ethics, research project design, research data collection, data analysis, and research reporting. He returned to Nigeria and his workplace, to use his newly acquired skills and knowledge to restructure activities in the vision rehabilitation therapy unit and advocate for new elements in the program such as the construction of an environmental modification room.   He continues his advocacy and development work through platforms such as participating as a national committee member of the National Child Eye Health Project which is being implemented in 11 states in Nigeria and his collaboration with the Brien Holden Vision Institute in enhancing the quality of vision rehab therapy in the eye care system.  Emmanuel is currently undertaking PhD studies in Canada.

Please contact us at should you want to disclose a disability privately or have a specific GEDSI-related enquiry. You can also send a WhatsApp message to +254 708608580 or +27 674216340. Please note that these numbers are ONLY available to support people who need additional GEDSI-related information and NOT for general enquiries about the awards.  

Any questions?

If you cannot find the answer on our FAQs page, feel free to get in touch by emailing .