Public Health Project Manager
Volunteering at Warm Heart is an opportunity to immerse yourself in both authentic Thai culture and the beautiful mountains surrounding Warm Heart’s location in Phrao, northern Thailand. Local villagers will welcome you to share in the simple pleasure of day-to-day life, while Phrao’s north central location provides the perfect base camp to explore not only Thailand, but Laos as well. Phrao is also conveniently located just 89 kilometers north of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, where all the comforts of Western culture can be found.
Warm Heart seeks a Public Health Project Manager to assist with the day-to-day operations and planning of its public health programs. Warm Heart operates a wide and changing variety of public health projects-- a day program for the elderly and disabled, eye testing and eye glasses for school children, vitamins for pregnant and nursing women, Clinic in the Clouds, EMT and first aid trainings, and direct nursing support to public health clinics. The volunteer may work on various aspects of any one of these projects, and while expertise in any specific program area is a plus, Warm Heart welcomes applicants with a general public health, management, or program design background to assist with one or more of its health projects.
The projects that currently require the most attention are the elders and disabled program, the direct nursing assistance program and clinic-in-the-clouds.
The Warm Heart day program for the elderly and disabled is the only such program in the district. It has just opened its doors. There is considerable work left to do to complete the development of its programs. Looking forward, there is also work to be done to open similar programs in additional sub-districts of Phrao, as well as to develop lower-cost interim measures such as visiting programs of a meals-on-wheels variety.
Phrao is served by 17 public health clinics, each of which is overwhelmed by the daily press of patients. Experienced nurses and 2 nd or 3 rd year nursing students make a huge difference to these clinics, which also provide an extraordinary learning experience.
Our clinics-in-the-clouds offer the space and materials to provide emergency medicine in isolated mountain villages, but without local people well trained in first aid, they serve no purpose. There is a major need for individuals with advanced first aid/EMT training skills to run trainings in the mountain villages that surround Phrao.
Specific Requirements for this Position
This position requires a passion for public health, and a willingness to undertake a range of duties, from analyzing data to visiting communities. The ideal candidate will be:
- A nurse, or 2 nd-3 rd year nursing or medical student
- A community public health official
- A graduating Public Health major or an MPH candidate
- An EMT or EMT/first aid instructor
- Someone with previous experience with the disabled and/or elderly
- Basic knowledge of epidemiology a plus
General Requirements for all Positions
Working for a start-up NGO in a foreign country, especially one located in a small town, places special demands on volunteers. Volunteers will work with a small team of international volunteers in a Thai organization and community. The work is demanding and may be frustrating at times due to linguistic and cultural barriers.
Volunteers must therefore understand that Warm Heart requires individuals who have excellent interpersonal and diversity skills, lots of patience, perseverance and endurance. Warm Heart also requires initiative-taking individuals who are self-starting, flexible and self-managing.
Other than being reasonably fluent in spoken and written English, there are no language requirements for volunteers, but Warm Heart encourages volunteers to take an active interest in learning basic Thai words and phrases of day-to-day courtesy. Warm Heart suggests that interns planning to stay longer than three months attend an intensive Thai course prior to starting work. Several such programs are readily available in Chiang Mai and last four weeks.
A 2-3 month minimum commitment is required, but a longer commitment is much preferred. You will really begin to feel at home and know your job only after a few months, and Warm Heart will be able to give you much more responsibility if we know that you are not just passing through.
Why volunteer at Warm Heart?
Warm Heart does not need you to paint playground equipment. We have more important things to do and we expect volunteers to help us do them. If you are not ready to accept a lot of responsibility, volunteer someplace else, because we can’t use you. We serve 54,000 people who share four doctors. We provide vitamins to 1,500 pregnant and nursing women in a world where goiters are still common. We teach business skills in a district where the average monthly income is $123. We care for minority children from isolated villages so that they do not drop out of school at 12 like their peers. We teach coffee cultivation to mountain people to improve land / water usage and to create alternatives to sex work for their daughters. We promote reforestation to restore the watershed and save the rice paddies of the valley. Bottom line: We serve real people with real needs and we need only volunteers ready to accept the intellectually, professionally, and personally challenging work we offer. Being a "volunteer" at Warm Heart means only that you are not being paid for your work; it does not mean that you carry any less responsibility for the promises we have made to the people of Phrao.
So why work at Warm Heart?
- You will make a real difference. You will meet the people whose lives you are changing and the changes that you will bring will be big: jobs, sustainable incomes, better health, and a brighter future.
- You will leverage your university experience. It is one thing to learn about global markets or grassroots development; it is an entirely different thing to do them yourself. What you have already studied will take on new meaning; what you study next you will learn in a whole new way.
- You will acquire professional skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Every survey shows the same thing: companies think that their new employees are well educated, but lack interpersonal, teamwork and diversity skills. Warm Heart is a university of this stuff; you will return with amazing cross-cultural, multi-lingual teamwork and management skills. You will gain invaluable insight into how an NGO operates.
- If you are already a professional, you will have the pleasure of discovering that your professional skills have applications you never dreamed of! Volunteering at Warm Heart is not about unskilled labor; we need skilled professionals, whether database architects, graphic designers, accountants, operations managers, you name it.
- You will grow. You are on your own in a strange place working with a staff of Thais on the real problems of real people. It’s like human growth hormone for the soul.
- You will meet cool people. Warm Heart volunteers come from everywhere from Australia to Vietnam. You will have the chance to develop close-knit friendships with other volunteers as well as the locals. Join in the spirited arguments about the true nature of the EU, whether Japan’s future is pan-Asian or pan-Pacific, who has the best - and the worst - food, art, architecture, weather, or people in the world. Fly home via Beijing or Seoul or Calcutta or Perth or any other destination you’d like to stop by.
Unlike many volunteer programs, Warm Heart does not charge a participation fee or require a donation. Warm Heart does provide volunteers with a low cost housing, transportation and services package. (Phrao is too small for short-term volunteers to locate inexpensive housing and transportation on their own.) The Warm Heart package for those staying up to three months is currently $240 per month (subject to change, of course). It includes:
- Housing: Single or double in Warm Heart house with screens, western toilet, hot water, kitchen and internet.
- Transportation: Motorbike, car or shared transportation with Warm Heart staff.
- Services: Document preparation and translation for work permits, required health documents, visa extensions, etc.
Volunteers should expect to spend about another $250 per month on food, gas, telephone and entertainment. How much more you spend will depend on how often you go to Chiang Mai for the weekend.
Warm Heart provides volunteers with assistance in obtaining necessary visas.
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- minimum 2-3 months