AAWC Global Volunteers Program

What is the AAWC Global Volunteers program?

The AAWC Global Volunteers Program aims to improve the quality and availability of wound and lymphedema care in low-resource countries through the education, training, and mentorship of health professionals. Created in 2006, the program is a partnership between AAWC and Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. HVO is dedicated to improving the quality and availability of health care in resource-scarce countries.

Volunteer, doctors without borders, HVO

Who is eligible to volunteer?

Qualified volunteers are health care professionals who are actively providing advanced, evidence-based wound care including edema/lymphedema management or are working in an academic setting, a clinical practice, research, or infection control. Previous clinical or academic teaching experience is preferred but not required. Clinicians must have a current professional license and all volunteers must be members of both AAWC and HVO. 

How can I submit an application for volunteer consideration?

Volunteer applications are available on the Health Volunteers Overseas website. Once you submit your CV and application, HVO will be in touch with you concerning the next steps. Applications are reviewed by project directors who are wound care professionals and members of both AAWC and HVO. On-site coordinators at each project site also review volunteer applications. 

What sites are available for volunteer visits?

HVO has project sites in Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Kampot), India (Raxaul) and Haiti (Deschapelles). Up-to-date information about project sites is available on the HVO website.

What do volunteers do while overseas?

Volunteers train local health care providers, giving them the knowledge and skills to make a difference in their own communities. Volunteers are involved in a variety of activities – teacher training, developing or updating curricula, providing continuing education workshops, and mentoring students and residents. They may lecture, serve as clinical instructors, conduct ward rounds, and demonstrate various techniques in classrooms, clinics, and operating rooms. The ultimate beneficiaries of the volunteers’ efforts are, of course, people in need of health services, both current and future patients. Click here for HVO and AAWC wound care projects.

When are volunteers needed?

There is no schedule of trips. Instead, the program works with individual volunteers, and sometimes a small team of volunteers, along with the project site to determine the optimal time for your assignment.

Who goes on an overseas assignment?

Most volunteers travel by themselves or with a few other HVO volunteers to a project site. First-time volunteers are often concerned about heading to a remote part of the world alone, but HVO does considerable planning and preparation with each volunteer prior to departure to ensure a successful trip. All projects have on-site coordinators who will meet you when you arrive on-site, provide a brief orientation and handle initial introductions. Your travel, visa or other registrations (if required), and housing arrangements will be organized with HVO staff support before your departure. You will have the opportunity to speak with the project director, the on-site coordinator and previous volunteers before you go.

What are the financial responsibilities of the volunteer?

Volunteers pay for roundtrip airfare, lodging, meals, and local transportation. On average, volunteers spend approximately $2,900 per one-month assignment. Some sites provide free or low-cost room, board and/or daily transportation. Most travel expenses and related costs are tax-deductible.

Confirmed volunteers may apply for a travel grant generously funded by AAWC. More information is available here. Other opportunities to fundraise to support travel are also available. Please contact the HVO office for more information (202-296-0928).

What about Insurance?

Volunteers, in their capacity as teachers, should not find liability insurance an issue. Travel health insurance and provisions for possible medical evacuation are strongly advised.

Are there expectations of the Volunteer?

Volunteers are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of professional and personal conduct at all times. Sensitivity to cultural and social beliefs and practices of the host country should guide behavior. Volunteers are expected to submit a trip report to HVO following their assignment and will debrief with project directors and HVO staff.

Can family members come too?

Spouses and family members sometimes accompany volunteers on assignments depending on the project site. Volunteers should contact HVO staff to discuss the feasibility of their families accompanying them overseas.

How can I support the AAWC Global Volunteers?

You may support the AAWC Global Volunteer by spreading the word about the program as well as by making a tax-deductible contribution at Donate.

AAWC Global Volunteers