Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nyaya Health


Volunteer in Nepal

Why Volunteer with Nyaya Health in Nepal?
Volunteering with Nyaya Health can be an immensely rewarding and challenging experience. As the district of Achham in the Far Western development region of Nepal moves forward with a vision of peace and security; Nyaya Health is fortuitously poised to be a piece of that hope. We commend you for your dedication to social justice and commitment to support our mission to help those with a great need.

Who should volunteer?
Priority is given to those with skills needed for our programs in Achham (medical, engineering, public health, etc). As we do not have interpreters available, volunteers involved in clinical or community health programs should have working knowledge or Nepali or Hindi, although exceptions are possible for individuals with skills that are in particular demand. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer with Nyaya Health in the US in technical assistance, operational planning, and fundraising. These activities make a tremendous impact on our programs in Nepal, and the majority of our volunteers work in this capacity. See our page regarding volunteering from outside Nepal.

Volunteering with Nyaya Health may not be for everyone. We are a rapidly growing organization in the midst of recruiting extremely motivated volunteers with excellent technical skills, relevant experiences, and enthusiasm to take ownership of and develop new programs. These are particularly exciting times for us; however, we realize that such an environment may be a cause of frustration for many individuals who may benefit from discrete and formal positions offered by large and old organizations. Individuals who are highly self-motivated, self-directed, and willing to take on new challenges will appreciate our organizational culture.

What skills does a competitive applicant typically have?

Please note that volunteer opportunities in Achham are limited and available typically only to individuals with significant public health or medical skills, have some level of language skills in Nepali or Hindi, and can work in Achham for at least 12 weeks (longer is required if skill level is less). It will significantly increase the likelihood of acceptance for a Nepal trip, if you work with us on any of the outside-Achham volunteer opportunities.

I am a medical resident. Can I do a rotation at your clinic?
Yes. The primary role of the resident will be as a clinical consultant, in which s/he:
1. deploys new technologies or new applications of existing technologies, such as ultrasound;
2. assesses the clinical skills and operations of the Nyaya clinical team and provides feedback to program improvement;
3. reviews clinical databases and makes improvements to data collection and reporting practices;
4. develops training materials and administers them to staff and health workers.

Note that although our residents will have extensive exposure to patients, they will primarily play an attending physician-type role, advising and training our Nepali staff rather than directly treating patients themselves. This is designed so that these short-term rotations can have the greatest potential long-term and sustainable impact. We are flexible and pragmatic in this regard, however, particularly with regards to emergency and surgical cases.

A competitive applicant for the 3-12 week resident rotation at our clinic in Achham would be a third or fourth year resident in an accredited residency program. Previous medical experience in a resource-deprived setting is required. The applicant would also have an interest in social justice, healthcare for the poor, and rural health service delivery. The challenge for residents is to quickly incorporate themselves into our team in a remote and difficult environment and provide long-lasting and sustainable insight into our clinical operations. The opportunity is to shape our clinical work in fundamental ways and to work with a young and dynamic organization that is innovating in rural healthcare delivery.

Is it possible for me to be involved long-term following my trip?
We in fact strongly desire any volunteers to be involved long-term. Please apply only if you find our organization compelling and could potentially envision yourself working with us long-term. Long-term involvement can mean being engaged in any aspects–planning, fundraising, technical assistance, procurement– of our organization. It certainly does not mean we expect you to travel to Nepal regularly. Any meaningful work requires rigorous follow-up and follow-through over several years. There are many challenging and frustrating aspects of working with a young organization in a very rural place, and the experience is definitely not for everyone.

What are the logistical details of traveling and working in Achham?
You need to budget at least five days round-trip to travel to Achham. Living quarters in Achham are simple but clean with reliable water and electricity, phone service, and internet. Achham is an unstable and impoverished place, and there are significant risks of infectious disease, motor vehicle accidents, and death by other causes. The risks of political violence or other crime at this time is minimal, however. Click here for more details about living and working in Achham.

How do I learn Nepali?
Click here to see our wiki on learning Nepali page.

Does Nyaya Health pay for my travel and living expenses?
To maximize our supporters’ donations, we expect short-term volunteers to pay for all travel and living expenses. We enthusiastically provide grant writing, fundraising, and marketing support to any volunteers’ efforts to procure the resources necessary for their trip. Click here for more information about financing your work with Nyaya Health.

How does working with Nyaya Health compare with working with other organizations?
We highly suggest that you still look very closely at several other organizations and consider very strongly the definite risks involved. Our warning to you is that we are a very young organization and there will be numerous challenges along the way. You may find that working with a more established organization is better for your career goals and educational interests. Working with a young organization can be exciting, but it is not for everyone.

Interested in volunteering in Nepal? Apply Now!

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