Some of the question we are often asked are listed below; if there’s something we haven’t answered here for you, please contact us!
- How long has YWAM been operating a ship?
- How can I volunteer?
- It’s great that you use volunteers for medical services, but do you pay large salaries for your staff?
- Does YWAM MSA only offer short term assistance?
- How does YWAM MSA address the culturally specific health and social needs involved in this sort of venture?
- Does the ship just turn up wherever it pleases?
- What happens when the ship needs to leave and patients still have needs?
- Who supports YWAM’s work?
- What structure and accountability does YWAM MSA have?
Q1. How long has YWAM been operating a ship?
YWAM has operated around the globe now for over 30 years in shipping with some of the largest ships of mercy in the world, operating in the Pacific since 1991. The MV Pacific Link is operating out of Townsville Australia since 2010; prior to that New Zealand to service the Fijian Islands.
Q2. How can I volunteer?
Simply click here to sign up to volunteer. We are always looking for medical professionals, marine professionals and a variety of crew support team members who are willing to do anything!
Q3. Its great that you use volunteers for medical services, but do you pay large salaries for your staff?
No, actually all of our staff – even including our CEO – are 100% volunteer. This is a great way to ensure that everyone is in it for the right reasons and also to make your donations and contributions have a maximum impact on the work done!
Q4. Does YWAM MSA only offer short term assistance?
YWAM MSA has a development model that builds on cooperation and collaboration at a grassroots and National level. This means that while many of our volunteers come for a short time, it’s in the context of a long term strategy that has been organised with locals to best meet their needs. Where possible, we encourage our returning volunteers to consider volunteering in the same village or region so they can build long term relationship as these real person-to-person relationships are key to the long term capacity building we aim to achieve.
Q5. How does YWAM MSA address the culturally specific health and social needs involved in this sort of venture?
YWAM MSA works according to the PNG National Health Care plan and standard. All volunteers are briefed on these standards and experts in each field oversee clinics so that treatment plans are of a nationally approved standard. Volunteers are oriented to the cultural and social standards of the communities we work with, and work in partnership with local translators and contacts that help navigate the complexities of language and culture.
Q6. Does the ship just turn up wherever it pleases?
YWAM MSA has been building a network across the Gulf, Western and Central Provinces, which build out of relationship and understanding of local needs. To this end, we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the PNG Department of Health to deliver services according to the National Health Care Plan. We also have partnership agreements with key stakeholders including provincial health administrators, current service providers, and village leaders. One of our requirements for visiting a region is to have the support and invitation of key stakeholders so that we are able to have a long term, capacity building approach. Our visits are planned cooperatively and communicated in advance, which helps to ensure we have the right patients and bring the right supplies to maximise the effectiveness of each outreach.
Q7. What happens when the ship needs to leave and patients still have needs?
Because we work alongside rural health workers, our services are just as much about capacity building and up-skilling locals as it is about delivering services. Each case is unique and we do our best to ensure we provide as much care as possible; however, we also do our best to ensure that the local health worker is informed and equipped to deal with cases after our departure.
Q8. Who supports YWAM’s work?
YWAM works with a vast network of partners: YWAM Institute of the Nations, Honeycombes Property Group, Steamships Trading Company Ltd, 1300SMILES, Lions International, Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM), Henry Schein Halas, Ok Tedi Fly River Development Program, PNG Sustainable Development Program, Papua New Guinea Department of Health, Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea, InterOil, Townsville Bulletin, North Queensland Cowboys, Port of Townsville, City of Townsville, Surgical Eye Expeditions International, Australian Relief and Mercy Services, United Church of PNG, BUZZ-OFF Malaria Campaign, and Alcon. In addition to these, we have two Patrons – the Right Honourable Sir Rabbie Namaliu CSM KCSG, former Prime Minister of PNG, who serves as the PNG Patron, and the Honourable Mike Reynolds, AM, former Speaker of the Queensland Parliament. We also have a grassroots support network of individuals across Australia and PNG.
Q9. What structure and accountability does YWAM MSA have?
As a Company, YWAM MSA has a Board of Directors which is accountable to its members. YWAM Medical Ships – Australia LTD is a signatory with the World Relief Australia Code of Conduct which is a voluntary code that sets minimum acceptable standards for smaller Non-Government Organisations that work in the international relief and development sector. YWAM is also a member of Missions Interlink and all medical volunteers carry PNG medical registration. There are a number of external accountability bodies as well, which cover our ship and medical operations. All services and findings are reported to the PNG Department of Health