Caroline Benard tells us about the medical volunteers coming to support Cedar Tanzania.
‘We are very grateful to The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for allowing us to share our story at their NGO forum which we were able to attend twice this year. The NGO forum is a biannual event for graduates and students and an excellent platform to those who are interested to work abroad with NGOs and to find an organisation that will benefit from their knowledge and skills. After presenting at the NGO forum, we received positive feedback with many students sharing interest in volunteering with us - we even reached our capacity of hosting volunteers until May/ June next year.
How many volunteers are coming to Cedar Tanzania and when?
Our first volunteer will start this November. Sian is a GP from Liverpool with expertise in maternal and reproductive health. She will volunteer with us for six months in total.
We have another three volunteers who will be starting their placement in the beginning of 2019 and two volunteers who are interested in coming to Kamanga Health Centre in the second half of 2019.
What qualifications do these volunteers have?
Most of the volunteers are qualified doctors in different specialty fields. Students are also welcome to apply, but they should be in their last year of their studies. In general, we are looking for medical or public health professionals, nurses and midwives who are interested in obtaining work experience abroad. And we are also open to individuals who would like to conduct their own research in partnership with teaching hospitals in the region, for example Sengerema District Hospital, CUHAS or Bugando Medical Centre are all well known for supporting research programs.
How far in advance do the volunteers need to apply for a placement?
Sian and the first interested volunteers contacted us after the first NGO forum had taken place, about six months ago. We advise to apply at least 6-9 months in advance, especially if the volunteer is not as flexible regarding dates and wants to volunteer during in a very specific time frame. However, a spontaneous application might be successful, depending on current capacities.
How long is a volunteer placement with Cedar Tanzania?
The minimum stay for a volunteer placement with Cedar Tanzania is 3 months due to a rather complex process of obtaining visas and permits. Volunteers must be aware that the process of settling in to a new culture and context may take more time for some. We therefore recommend that volunteers try to stay for longer than 3 months. This will allow them to experience Tanzanian culture and the local medical system at a gentler pace, hopefully leading to deeper relationships with local medical staff, and a greater appreciation for their new environment
That fully depends on the volunteer’s expertise and interest! Every volunteer will have a Skype chat with our team to find out more about their knowledge and skills. They will also get an opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what is expected of them. Based on that, we will tailor a role for the applicant at Kamanga Health Centre– we want to ensure that both parties fully benefit from the placement and that it’s a good experience for all involved.
What does Cedar Tanzania offer volunteers as part of the placement?
Cedar Tanzania provides housing in the volunteer house on the premises of Kamanga Health Centre, and pays for visa-costs and any work-related expenses, including an allowance to cover daily lunch costs.
What do you hope they will take away with them from their experience at Kamanga Health Centre or CBR program?
Every volunteer and every helping hand makes a great difference for a small NGO like us, and we hope to provide the volunteers with a great experience that will benefit them for a long time to come: Apart from gaining a unique experience in a developing country with different social issues and challenges, and different medical conditions unlikely to be found in their home countries, we hope that the volunteers will be able to advance in their professional skills, and also further their own personal development.’