General Volunteer Information
San Ignacio Area Hospitals ~ Medical Shadowing & Nursing Practicum
Volunteer in the rural health clinics and outreach programs that serve the underprivileged communities surrounding San Ignacio, Belize. Members of these communities often lack access to adequate health education, qualified medical professionals, and treatment resources. Prices for medical services and resources are high in Belize, but wages remain low. These clinics are staffed by advanced nurses or community health personnel who provide a variety of services including home visits and other outreach programs.
On Thursdays volunteers will have the opportunity to work with a nursing team in the mobile clinic van, which serves 9 different villages in the San Ignacio Area. This is an optional experience, but provides a unique opportunity to see anywhere from 100 to 300+ patients in a day. Pre-med students cannot attend mobile clinic days for observation.
Volunteering with the rural clinics of Belize gives nurses and medical practitioners the experience of applying community health approaches in a developing country. For students observing, this experience will give you a better understanding of patient care in a low-resource setting.
• Project Activities: Medical shadowing, nursing practicum, community health outreach, fundraising
• Duration: Medical shadowing 2 weeks minimum. Nursing practicum 4 weeks minimum. These minimums are set based on your university’s requirements. Let us know how much time you need!
• Project availability: All year.
• Arrival day: Flexible.
• Cost: Please contact us for a full package describing rates for various types of accommodation and meal plans. The clinics and hospitals require a deposit in order to reserve your place in the program. There are additional costs to volunteering with this program because local medical professionals must closely supervise all volunteer tasks.
• Requirements: Pre-med students are invited to participate in this project as observers only. All other volunteers must be certified or licensed to perform nursing/ medicine. You will need a temporary license to practice in Belize.
• Working Hours: 9am- 3pm
NMProductions has partnered with a number of local hospitals and clinics to provide opportunities for volunteer medical shadowing and nursing practicums. You will be placed in one of the following three locations:
-Georgeville Village Clinic
-Benque-Viejo Community Hospital
-San Ignacio PolyClinic
Dependent on prior experience and qualifications, volunteers may perform infant immunizations, deworming, fever control, sutures, pre- & post-natal care, and treatment of work-related injuries. The clinics also offer support for those suffering from lupus. Local health professionals at the clinics will decide what tasks are appropriate for your skill level. You may encounter minor ailments such as wounds that need cleaning, sores, and infections- but do not be surprised to find patients with diabetes, HIV, or other more serious issues. There may be as many as 20 patients per day at the clinic suffering from a wide range of ailments. Patients requiring intensive treatment are referred to the San Ignacio Polyclinic for assessment.
You may also be asked to take a lead in community health education sessions, depending on the needs of the communities at the time of your placement. Volunteers will assist in organizing and running these outreach programs- from promoting the event & event set-up, to recording patient histories and treating patients.
Certified/ Licensed nurses and health care practitioners will register with the Belizean Medical Council for a temporary medical license in order to be more involved in consultations and development of treatment plans. This process needs to be completed 4 months before arriving in country.
Volunteers and student groups are asked to fundraise before they come. Donations to the clinics will always be used and are essential in continuing the initial treatment provided at the clinics.
Volunteers in the rural health clinics must be willing to help wherever and whenever the need is the highest. This means that you need to be flexible and willing to serve where the community needs you- not necessarily where you will get the most experience in one specific skill set or personal area of interest.
Nurses, community health workers, and midwives are well suited for these volunteer positions.
Certified/ Licensed nurses and health care practitioners will register with the Belizean Medical Council for a temporary medical license in order to be more involved in consultations and development of treatment plans. This process takes approximately 4-5 months and needs to be completed before arriving in country. There is a small fee associated with getting this temporary license.
Please note that resources are limited in Belize, so if you require specialized equipment or supplies to perform your duties, we recommend that you bring them with you. For example, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and other items are not readily available in Belize. You are expected to bring an adequate supply of masks and gloves for yourself, as well as scrubs. The safety of our volunteers and students is one of our highest priorities and you will be asked to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with patients.
The organizations we work with will gladly accept any donated items or cash donations that can be used to purchase supplies. There is a particularly large need for glucose test strips and HIV rapid tests.
All volunteers must clearly state their level of education, experience, and relevant certifications on their submitted resume/CV and be prepared to attend a Skype interview.
This program is NOT for medical students to complete their international electives. Please visit http://www.medicalelectivesbelize.com for information on completing an elective in Belize.
Barzakh Falah: Home for Abandoned Youth & At-Risk Young Women
Barzakh Falah is an eco-sustainable home for abandoned young children with a transitional living center for young women leaving the orphanage system. Barzakh Falah serves a dual purpose as a source of stable accommodation for these at-risk youth as well as a source of livelihood and food security through sustainable organic farming.
As of January 2017 we are still under construction, but we hope to open and begin serving our youth by the end of 2017. To achieve this, we need YOUR help! Please consider Barzakh Falah as your premiere choice for volunteering in Belize.
Barzakh Falah heavily depends on the support of volunteers in terms of financing the construction materials through donations and the labor for the construction itself. This is a small grassroots project and we simply do not have the human-power available to make it happen without active volunteers. There is an incredible sense of momentum at Barzakh Falah. Many of our volunteers say that they wish they could keep working just to see how the whole project turns out. We hope to complete the first phase of the project, a transitional home for 6-8 teenage girls, by the end of 2017.
We won’t lie- this project is challenging work but there are activities for everyone and we can accommodate any level of ability. This is an excellent opportunity to sharpen your teamwork skills and build relationships within a team. This is one of a few volunteer projects where you get to see real, tangible change and there is a deep satisfaction that comes with being able to document the progress that you have made possible.
• Project Activities: Sustainable earth bag construction, organic permaculture farming & development, recycled tire road construction, patio construction and landscaping. Please inquire as to what projects will be going on during your desired dates.
• Duration: Require a minimum stay of 1 week, but otherwise- its up to you! The average individual volunteer stay is 1 month. Groups usually choose this project for one or two weeks.
• Project availability: Year-round. Please contact us for the details of specific projects that will be going on during your volunteer stay.
• Arrival day: Saturdays at Belize City International airport.
• Cost: Please contact us for a full package describing rates for various types of accommodation and meal plans.
• Requirements: Age 16+ unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. We welcome families with children of all ages.
• Location: Barzakh Falah is situated in the village of Georgeville, only a 15-minute drive away from San Ignacio.
• Working Hours: 6-8 hours per day. We prefer to work early in the morning as much as possible (starting at 8am) to avoid the heat of the afternoon hours.
Volunteers may participate in a wide range of activities depending on the season and current projects happening at Barzakh Falah. Groups and families are more than welcome on this project. Individual volunteers will work collaboratively with each other.
Sustainable Earth bag Construction:
Help us finish building the dorm for the transitional home for girls! This building includes a root cellar (already completed), which will allow us to make jams & canned vegetables and store them at a cooler temperature during the hot dry season. There is still quite a ways to go as this will be Barzakh Falah’s tallest structure yet- a two story, 8-bed, dormitory. It is unusual to attempt earth bag construction in the tropics, so Barzakh Falah presents a unique learning opportunity for those interested in low-cost eco-sustainable building techniques!
Focus on Organic Farming & Permaculture:
Volunteers will gain valuable cultural insight into the farming practices of the local Belizean community. You may be asked to dig, plant, and irrigate crops. You may have the opportunity to work in an aromatic herb garden preparing plots and assisting with landscaping.
Other Projects and Goals:
We are always improving and touching up our existing infrastructure at Barzakh Falah. Recent projects included recycled mosaic tile floors and white washing. In the coming months we hope to create a landscaped patio & flower garden area, a new & improved composting toilet system, and a tiled indoor shower facility.
Volunteers with specific skills and experience in carpentry, organic farming, masonry, animal husbandry, or veterinary care are particularly sought after. These volunteers can expect to utilize their skill sets but should remain willing to do other odd jobs and tasks that need to be completed at Barzakh Falah.
Nancy Marin Youth Foundation:
Enabling Our Youth to Explore Their Passions
Cayo District Village Schools:
Create Unique Educational Experiences – Music & Public Health
Belize Police Department:
Trauma Counseling for Victims & Officers
The Belize Police Department is dedicated to serving their communities with the highest level of respect. Our officers often witness violent crime scenes and work with victims of trauma. Our projects through the Belize Police Department seek to give professional counseling services to both trauma victims and police officers in a two-pronged approach to reducing mental health disorders within our community.
Qualified volunteers with provide counseling for both victims and police officers. Volunteers will also teach workshops for the police officers about recognizing the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, appropriate self-care, and developing support systems to help them better cope with the scenes they witness while working. The curriculum for these workshops has already been developed and volunteers will be responsible for effectively delivering the material.