Use your skills to help build healthy villages and a healthy Papua New Guinea
Volunteering aboard the YWAM Training and Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, is an adventure-filled experience where you will have the opportunity to work alongside PNG’s local health workers and other like-minded people from around the globe around a shared vision: healthy villages and a healthy Papua New Guinea.
Our model is centred upon the value of the individual and their right to lead a full and productive life. With over 84% of PNG’s population living in rural areas, the isolation and lack of infrastructure makes delivering healthcare and training very challenging.
No matter what your role may be, you will have the opportunity to play your part as we work alongside national, provincial, and district health authorities to overcome isolation, strengthen rural health facilities, increase healthcare delivery, and help build capacity in the local health workforce.
Tie in with a long-term vision
Even though you may only be onboard for a few weeks, you can be confident that your contribution is tying in to a long-term vision and strategy. We align ourselves with the goals and objectives outlined in PNG’s National Health Plan, and return to selected districts each year. Each outreach is carefully planned and centres upon serving the needs identified by relevant authorities in the district and community.
Promote Holistic Health
We recognise that there are many factors that can impact the health of an individual and community. What we do in communities is much more than delivering clinical services. Other activities may include water and sanitation projects, advocacy around gender-based violence, delivering the Community Activation and Participation (CAP) program, empowering young people, and working alongside churches and other community organisations.
Go on an adventure of a lifetime
PNG is affectionately known as the “Land of the Unexpected”. You will experience this first-hand during your volunteering experience! With over 800 languages and 1,000 tribes, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most diverse and beautiful nations on earth while helping to meet real needs and bring hope.
Whether you are an experienced health professional, a university student, an enthusiastic young person, a skilled mariner, a family, or a group of friends keen on adventure with purpose, we invite you to consider jumping aboard the MV YWAM PNG.
Our volunteers represent a range of ages, skill-sets, and nationalities; including a significant number from PNG! You will be amazed at how such a diverse group of people can work together so well around a shared vision.
Below is an overview of each of our teams, along with a list of positions available to apply for.
Many of the communities we serve are extremely isolated with diverse river systems and many uncharted coastal areas to navigate. In addition to operating the MV YWAM PNG, our crew operate the small boats that transfer teams and patients to and from the ship and villages. As work aboard allows, engineers also assist from time-to-time with repairs and installations ashore alongside locals. The days for our crew are long but very rewarding as they use their skills to overcome isolation and help some of the most remote villages in the country receive healthcare and training. MV YWAM PNG is 60m long, 1,520 GT and has 1,576kw of engine power.
Currently, the ship will be in Townsville for an extended duration, and skilled help is needed for ongoing maintenance and repairs aboard the ship. Enquire here if you are interested in serving during this period. Until international travel limitations relax, this opportunity will likely be limited to persons already in Australia.
Master – A-II/2 <3,000GT
Chief Mate – A-II/2 <3,000GT
Second/Third Mate – A-II/1 <3,000GT
Able Seafarer – Deck A-II/5
Chief Engineer – A-III/3 (<3,000kw)
Second Engineer – A-III/3 (<3,000kw)
Third Engineer – A-III/1 (<3,000kw)
Electro-technical Officer – A-III/6
Electro-technical Rating – A-III/7
Able Seafarer – Engine A-III/5
Higher qualifications or qualifications with Near Coastal limitations accepted. Related qualifications / experience will be considered.
Ideally, most crew will serve for a minimum of three outreaches – about 2 months.
Primary Health Care
The primary health care teams set up mobile clinics ashore in the villages. Each day is different! Some days the teams will operate in a local health facility alongside local health workers, and other days the team may set up under a mango tree, or in a church. Supplies are transported in backpacks to ensure the clinic is mobile and easy to set up in a range of locations. The primary health care teams have an emphasis on health education, and mother and child health care as per PNG’s National Health Plan. Teams provide well-baby checks and childhood immunisations for children, and family planning and antenatal care for women. A typical clinic day may also include a range of additional clinical care, including treatment of tropical diseases and respiratory illness, basic wound care, physiotherapy for soft-tissue injuries and therapeutic treatment and advice for individuals with disabilities. These teams also focus heavily on building capacity through peer support and training to strengthen the rural health workforce.
Health Extension Officers
Community Health Workers
Primary health care workers
Students in all above fields
With approximately 1 dentist for every 100,000 people, oral health care is a huge need in Papua New Guinea. Our dental team works primarily from our onboard clinic, equipped with four dental chairs and a sterilisation area. Depending on the location, the dental team may have the opportunity to set up a mobile dental clinic with our portable dental chair in villages, enabling dental services to extend further afield. Dentists will also have the unique opportunity to work alongside local dental workers, which provides a wonderful opportunity to exchange skills and learn from one another. Treatment provided by the dental team is primary dental care (extractions, restorations, and cleanings), often addressing issues of pain for patients. Of course, oral health and hygiene education is a big focus for this team also.
Oral Health Therapists
Similar to our primary health care team, the optometry team sets up mobile clinics ashore in the villages. The clinic location varies from day to day, whether it be set-up in a local school or under the mango tree. The optometry clinic is supported by the Lions Recycle for Sight program who grade all of the glasses that are donated to us before they are added to our database and matched with a patient. All who attend this clinic have their distance and reading visual acuity tested and then see an optometrist if eye glasses are needed or if further eye health care is required. There is so much joy watching an individual’s face light up after putting on a pair of spectacles and seeing again! This team also works to identify patients who need surgery for cataract or pterygium for our ophthalmology team, provides vision screening for school children, and delivers eye health education in schools and communities.
In collaboration with PNG’s Prevention of Blindness Committee, our ophthalmology team is on a mission to help reduce reversible blindness through provision of cataract and pterygium surgery in rural and remote areas of PNG. Many of these locations are receiving this specialist care for the first time. The team works from our onboard day procedure unit equipped with two operating tables, preoperative testing area, and sterilisation area. The transformation that the ophthalmology team are a part of is incredibly special; restoring sight for someone who has been blind for several years is a joy and a privilege to witness. The ophthalmology clinic typically runs during four of our outreaches per year.
Ophthalmic Scrub Nurses
Our clinical laboratory gives the ability to provide diagnostic services right on the doorstep of remote villages. The lab focuses on tuberculosis, a major target disease in rural PNG. The lab uses a GeneXpert system as a first line of testing, per national algorithm, in conjunction with sputum microscopy. We also focus on collaborating with rural health facility staff and strengthening their lab skills. We welcome volunteers with suitable medical laboratory experience to join in!
Our media team use their creative skills to not only capture the work that is happening on the ground, but to also share the stories and advocate for those living in rural and remote areas of PNG. The media team typically consists of a photographer, videographer, and writer who work together to capture what’s happening during the outreach. Computers with satellite internet and the Adobe suite are available on board to help ensure the stories, videos, and photos that are being captured can be shared with the world straight away – no matter how remote we are!
We believe that a great hospitality team helps build community and shows care for the individual, two of our core values! While this team might seem “behind the scenes” they really do play a critical role in the atmosphere on board and how smoothly the outreaches run. With over 100 people on board, it takes a whole team of people to keep our volunteers fed, and the ship looking ship-shape! If you have a heart to serve and care for others through cooking and housekeeping, this might be the team for you!
Our community engagement teams are the life of the party! These fun loving teams assist with health promotion education, clinical support, and community development. Through relationship, these teams demonstrate an integrated approach that addresses all areas of life: physical, social, and spiritual. Other activities may include water and sanitation projects, advocacy around gender-based violence, delivering the Community Activation and Participation (CAP) program, empowering young people, and working alongside churches and other community organisations.
Public Health Nurses
Our general volunteers are a tribe of people who are willing to put up their hand and do whatever needs to be done during the outreach. From cleaning and cooking, to registering patients, and providing practical support to clinical teams, there is plenty of opportunity and many adventures to be had! Typically our general volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in two different teams during the outreach to give variety to the experience.
How volunteering with us works
Step 1: Apply
Each of our outreaches are up to three weeks in length and you can choose to apply for one, or multiple outreaches in a row. Once you have chosen the outreach(es) you want to join, your next step is to complete our simple online application form. The application will require you to submit a reference, resume/CV, and for medical and marine professionals, copies of your relevant qualifications (don’t worry, you can submit these details in stages!) Your application will then be processed by our registration team at our headquarters in Townsville, Australia.
Step 2: Prepare to come
When your application has been successful, our team will guide you through everything you need to know as you prepare to join us. This includes guidance for your visa, travel vaccinations, booking flights, what to bring, and other important information to help prepare you for the journey ahead. Our team will be available to help answer any questions you have along the way.
Step 3: Join us!
Now the adventure begins! You will fly into Papua New Guinea and join the ship at the first port of the outreach (either Port Moresby or another domestic location). Once you arrive on board, you will be taken through comprehensive orientation and training. This will give you the opportunity to get familiar with living on the ship, getting to know your teammates, learning more about PNG’s culture, and preparing you for your role. After the orientation, together we sail to our outreach location. Your day to day schedule will depend on the role you have.
Want a clearer picture on what outreach could look like for you? Watch this video:
Dates and Cost
Due to COVID-19, our ship-based outreaches in Papua New Guinea have been temporarily suspended. Please see details here. We plan to release tentative 2021 dates soon. If you are interested in serving in 2021, Apply now to pre-register! We’ll process your application, get back to you with the result, and follow-up again as soon as the next outreach dates are available.
Also, with the ship being in Townsville for an extended duration, skilled help is needed for ongoing maintenance and repairs aboard the ship. Enquire here if you are interested in serving during this period. Until international travel limitations relax, this opportunity will likely be limited to persons already in Australia.
Each 17 day outreach is 750 AUD.
The outreach fee covers:
- Food and accommodation
- Transport costs (pick-up and drop-off at airport in closest city to outreach location)
- Outreach uniform (two collared YWAM shirts)
- Administration and resource materials
- General ship up-keep and maintenance
What the outreach fee does not cover:
- Travel between your home country and the Papua New Guinean port where outreach begins
- Visa for PNG
- Personal spending money
- Immunisations and malaria prophylaxis
- Personal travel insurance policy
- Professional indemnity insurance
Looking for more information?
“It was an inspiring, heartwarming time and I am leaving feeling that together we have made a difference!”
– Jennie, Nurse, Australia
“It was the most amazing and rewarding experience of my nursery, midwifery career. I have made some life long friends.”
– Helen, Midwife, Australia
“I appreciate the level of professionalism we manage the vessel under. This vessel is managed at a high standard and a lot can be learned. We drive to have a high level of outcome, no one just “shows up.” There are multiple interests from others in what we are trying to achieve, so therefore we work very efficiently.”
– Matt, Deck Officer, Australia
“I just enjoyed the trip with YWAM. Meeting a lot of people from all over the countries share their experiences is a blessing to me. But most of all seeing patients smile after the treatment is worth it and a blessing as a volunteer dental profession.”
– Jared, Dental Therapist, Papua New Guinea
“It has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’m so thankful I have had this opportunity to serve the people of PNG.”
– Lucy, Optometrist, Wales
“I enjoy the hands-on-learning and opportunities as I help make a difference in remote places. I have learned so much being able to work alongside others from many different nations, as I gain skills and training to eventually become a Deck Officer.”
– Alfonso, Deck Cadet, Mexico
“I enjoyed being on board and working with my team. I’ve learned how to make new dishes and gained further experience cooking on a ship.”
– Kulu, Cook, Papua New Guinea
“It was so amazing to experience this kind of practical help on the front lines. The culture on the ship is so life-giving and refreshing. I also love the partnership ywam has created with PNG, it is so beautiful!”
– Naomi, General Volunteer, Canada