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Volunteering in Ethiopia

Trip DatesTrip FocusRoles NeededSign-up Deadline
Sept. 28 - Oct. 13, 2017

General Surgery
Podiatry
Dental
Vision Screening

General Surgeons
Anesthetists
RNs
Surgery Techs
Podiatrists
Dentists or Oral Surgeons
Dental Assistants
Individuals to support vision screening

June 1, 2017
Feb. 2018

Obstetrics
Podiatry
Dental
Vision Screening

OB/GYN providers
Podiatrists
Dentists or Oral Surgeons
Dental Assistants
RNs
Surgery Techs
Individuals to support vision screening

Oct. 1, 2017

Each trip requires participation in several orientation sessions, which will prepare volunteers to encounter the culture, travel, language and other aspects of the volunteer service trip. Due to the community-based nature of our program, in-person attendance is required at these sessions and preference is given to volunteers from the local region (vs. those from outside this region). Details about these sessions will be sent out via email to the volunteers signed up for each trip following the sign-up deadline.

If you are interested in learning about opportunities to volunteer in Ethiopia, please complete a volunteer form.

Volunteers in Ethiopia must be able to endure long days (10+ hours) of physical activity, which may include standing, walking, light lifting and sitting. Volunteers must be age 16 or older. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Travel: Trips are typically two or more weeks in length. The group will leave from La Crosse, Wisconsin and travel for approximately 36 hours to arrive in Ethiopia. Project Mercy, where most teams work, is in the Yetebon region near the community of Butajira, which is located approximately 3 hours south of the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Cost: Flights to Ethiopia range greatly depending on multiple factors, but are typically around $1,500-$2,000+. Additional costs to cover lodging, in-country transportation, meals, and other shared team expenses for the trip is approximately $700-1000 per person. These volunteer costs will be paid to Global Partners and can be considered a charitable contribution for volunteer service work, per the IRS code. Additional expenses which will be each volunteer's responsibility to cover (i.e. these are not paid to Global Partners) include pre-trip immunizations, passport costs, visa and paperwork expenses, and medications (e.g. malaria prophylaxis). Total estimated cost per volunteer is $3,000-3,500.

Gundersen employees may apply for a Global Partners grant to help offset the costs of volunteering in Ethiopia (up to $500).

Medical Issues: Your trip leader will inform you of needed vaccinations and medications for travel to Ethiopia. Vaccinations need to be up-to-date. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Volunteers - please do not make an appointment to get your vaccines at Gundersen until AFTER your first orientation meeting.

Communication: Amharic is the primary language in Ethiopia. However many of the medical staff at Project Mercy speak some English. Interpreters will be available as needed. Learning phrases in Amharic is a helpful and friendly way to meet the Ethiopian people.

Passport: Your passport cannot be within 6 months of expiration or you will not be allowed into the country. If you are a frequent traveler, please check and see that you have enough pages available in your passport.

Time off: This is a volunteer experience for which you will not be paid. You may choose to take PTO or unpaid time off - you need to make arrangements with your manager. Gundersen associate and medical staff may also use CME time (but not CME money) to participate in a Global Partners trip.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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