Our Health And Safety Overview
OVERVIEW: OUR ETHOS Medi Trip was founded in London, United Kingdom and also registered in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania. Medi Trip as a company prides itself on having started with the ethos of wanting to prove health standards for vulnerable people in collaboration with local partners who are the experts of their community and culture. In doing so, we share ideas of mutual concern and exchange knowledge and ideas for best practice and progress. We go to great lengths to prioritise safety and mitigate risk for both our interns and the individuals in the communities that we work in. Our placements are risk assessed and agreed as viable as placement work areas for international interns and volunteers before any work takes place involving our volunteers. Once we have established placements, we have regular reviews and in person checks to ensure safety and security is maintained and provide intensive reviews with placement management and if necessary management training on our placement sites with the goal of improving standards. We have tried and tested emergency processes in the event of emergencies and regularly assess the validity of any processes we have in place, ensuring that we work in consideration of 3 critical areas: Recognised authoritative bodies i.e WHO or CDC guidelines. Government policies i.e Ministry of Health. The needs of the people in the community i.e in the form of needs assessment studies or verbal reports from community member groups. We provide ongoing placement reviews, in house training for our staff; which includes risk assessments and management plans. We ensure there is general health and safety advice provided prior to arrival and on location for every volunteer and the people we work with. Our placements and our living spaces remain safe spaces for our volunteers and interns to live and work in.
OUR SERVICE Our programs are designed to provide placements in both vocational and non vocational work placements and important distinction in ensuring our volunteers are working safely and within their scope of practice. The programs are led and structured by our Program Director and Founder Pearl Sakoane who has 10+ years healthcare experience, 7 years experience creating placement experiences and hosting medical volunteers; and is able to offer professional advice and guidance to medical volunteers. We offer tried and tested recommendations for hospital placements from expertise. We work very closely with the hospital teams communicating with them on a weekly basis and visiting monthly; we have built strong relationships with our partners which allows us to to understand both the communities needs and provide well matched placements for our volunteers/ Our team Our direction and guidance comes from a team that has extensive experience in their specific areas: Emmanuel Nogi: Co-Director / Operations Manager and Founder of Siret Trip Limited / Siret Volunteers Siret Trip Limited was founded by Emmanuel Nogi in 2017. Emmanuel was born in Simanjiro (Maasai Land), Tanzania and came to Arusha to find career opportunities where he worked in tourism for many years. Emmanuel completed 6 months of military training before finding work as a wildlife tracker (locating big game animals in the bush) in various tour companies on treks across sub-saharan Africa as an expert wildlife tracker and guide. Emmanuel was raised Masaai and Iraqw and knows the landscape well, with expert animal tracking and behaviour skills. Finally settling in the city after many hard years in the bush, Emmanuel began working with volunteer companies as a coordinator before registering his very own company and NGO Siret Volunteers and tour and hospitality company Siret Trip. Emmanuel now partners as our local receiving host in Tanzania and as well as working as Medi Trip’s Co-Director & Operations Manager leading partnerships with all of our local programs, organising our local staff and ensuring our accommodations and trips are running smoothly. He is the main person responsible for maintaining local partnerships, ensuring the security of our properties, heavy duty vehicle maintenance and upkeep and procurement of our amenities. Yusuf Kombo: Senior Coordinator Kombo has extensive experience of 10+ years in tourism, having worked on camping, safari and professional expeditions with large tour companies over many years as well as experience in hospitality. He is responsible for all orientation and transport coordination, working under Emmanuel to ensure security of our properties and vehicle maintenance, particularly on long overland tours. Kombo has first aid training, tourism security training and has extensive knowledge of the Northern Tanzania landscape, allowing him to be able to safely navigate and communicate information about travel to our volunteers with ease. Asha Mdoe: General Manager Asha has a degree in Business Administration and Accounting. Her role is to lead the coordinating and housekeeping staff in ensuring our training and protocols are implemented and improved on a continual basis. She also works under Emmanuel to ensure there is a continued line of communication between our placements and our company in reporting any issues and conducting structured weekly check ins. Asha also provides support and guidance on a daily basis to our volunteers at both hostels and is able to bridge any communication gaps (English/Swahili) between local staff and volunteers with ease. Asha provides support to the Program Director in providing overall reports and reviews on our work processes and ensures we are always working in line with regulations and meeting appropriate standards on a monthly basis, including implementing staff development and targeted training.
HOW WE REGULARLY RISK ASSESS OUR PROGRAMS AND MANAGE LOCAL SAFETY ISSUES We only work with registered and licensed facilities which pass governmental benchmarks. Further to that, we assess if there is viability for ourselves as a company to get involved and for our volunteers to work there. We meet as a team to have management meetings monthly and consolidate our information. We provide overviews as a team on a weekly basis. Our General Manager provides reports to the Program Director or Operations Manager on a daily basis. Our coordinators have weekly drop in’s to our community placements and monthly drop ins at our medical placements. We review new issues or changes i.e immigration, government regulations, hospital requirements. These are then implemented into our work, communicated to our partners and our volunteers. We assess whether a placement would be sustainable or reach sustainability with or without our involvement. We ensure that our volunteers are supernumerary and do not become a staffing resource or replace local workers. We ensure that our company does not become a source of income through our donations or contributions; we should encourage self sustainability, empowerment and enhance the talent and resources already available locally. Placement Risk Assessment Working on placement Our placements are chosen according to needs and viability for a volunteer work placement. Prior to an agreement being put into place or reviewed, the Program Director and management team visit the placement at least twice before an agreement is put in place with the facility. A meeting is held with the project’s managers/founder and the project team is assessed to ensure adequate supervision will be provided by the entire team once interns and volunteers are hosted. Our medical placements are also assessed to ensure the placement is working towards the national guidelines for health and safety and that is maintained at all times. All medical placements we work with are required by law to adhere to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) regulations including the National Health and Safety policy without deviation. As an organisation, we have no jurisdiction to introduce our own regulations within a hospital or medical space, particularly any work procedures that directly involve patients or service users, we do assess for the following: MOH work regulations and government laws are adhered to The Children’s Act (2009) of Tanzania is being adhered to Any incidents are communicated immediately and reviewed National guidelines for health and safety are adhered to in accordance to the Ministry of Health regulations All protection from exposure is strictly maintained and incidents immediately actioned, communicated and reviewed by the placement management team Any safeguarding regulations are adhered to incidents are reviewed Our volunteers and interns are strictly forbidden from performing any procedures they are not qualified to perform Patients and services users are safeguarded at all times Our volunteers and interns are safeguarded at all times That our volunteers and interns are working under supervision of a medical professional team at all times That the work culture and environment is one that fosters collaboration and is open to recommendations for improvement of work standards.
SCREENING OUR VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS Our screening process is an important assessment stage for us as an organisation. We collect several rounds of information which is then shared with placement supervisors prior to their arrival on placement. Acceptance onto our programs: A candidate will apply for our program an will be accepted, declined or referred to a more suitable program at preregistration Registration Once a candidate has been accepted, preliminary screening is commenced to ensure the candidate begins a series of background checks which includes documents and direct verbal communication. At this stage we are still able to confirm, decline or refer a candidate to a more suitable program. Screening Once the candidate is registered to our program a number of background checks are conducted including a police / criminal background check. At this stage we are still able to confirm, decline or refer a candidate to a more suitable program. Direct verbal communication is important as information can be presented on forms that do not reflect character and behaviour. This stage also allows for expectations and boundaries to be set so that everyone is working with the same understanding. If a volunteer or intern is found to be unsuitable for their placement even after acceptance and screening, we will usually refer them to a more suitable placement or excuse them from the program altogether. Placement supervisors have the right to decline or excuse volunteers or interns on their placements at any time. They also reserve the right to decline any work processes or procedures to be conducted by the volunteers or interns under their supervision at any time. Volunteers and interns work with the understanding that explicit consent should be gained before entering any work placement areas or performing any tasks while working. Any deviation from this will result in immediate removal from the program.
STAFF SAFETY We have a responsibility to also safeguard and protect our staff, partners and the people we work with. Therefore steps will be taken to ensure we do so. We take steps to ensure our staff and partners will be safeguarded from risk, harmful behaviours, discrimination and disruption at all times. Any risks, hazards, behaviours or practices that directly or indirectly result in the harm of our staff will be dealt with directly and where appropriate reported to the relevant authorities.
LOCAL TRAVEL AND COMMUTE Independent travel The aim of orientation and workplace introduction is to ensure that our volunteers and interns gain as much independence from the start of their experience as possible. This is important in empowering them to also keep themselves safe, vigilant and be less vulnerable as they move around. Our coordinators provide orientation on a weekly basis throughout the year, commutes and transport safety is assessed continuously and alternative transport methods investigated and considered continuously as options. Orientation Orientation is the means by which we begin helping our volunteers and interns to become independent and immersed in the local community. This is a critical stage of their experience. Safety rules, tips and recommendations are given during the briefing stage at orientation to ensure the volunteer and interns remain vigilant and settle into the community effectively. Coordination We offer airport pick up and drop off at anytime of the day and night to ensure our volunteers are escorted in and out of the country safely. Our coordinators are fully trained in the event of any transport emergencies including airport contacts with the immigration, health and transport offices at Kilimanjaro Airport. We also hire emergency licensed taxi drivers we know and trust in any urgent situation that requires alternative drivers. Our coordinators are instructed to only pick up volunteers who have proof of vaccination or negative PCR test. Vehicles Our vehicles are heavy duty fit for purpose transport vehicles made for overland transport. Each vehicle is serviced and deep cleaned monthly and cleaned after every ride. Each vehicle is able to safely and comfortably transport groups overland and through hard terrain with ease. Each vehicle is equipped with first aid kits, fire extinguishers and emergency repair tools in the event of an emergency.
OUR COMMUNITY We work to create collaboration between our organisation, volunteers and interns and our community. We avoid dictating or enforcing change that may be harmful to the communities customs and way of life. Therefore our organisation works to create allyship rather than fostering an environment of hierarchy.
WORKING SAFELY WITH VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND CHILDREN Working with children takes a lot of responsibility and part of that responsibility requires that we take part in protecting the children in the projects we are working with. What are our responsibilities as an organisation We feel strongly that the projects we work with at the very least abide by the Tanzanian law based on the Children’s Act (2009): A person shall not deny a child the right to live with his parents, guardian or family and to grow up in a caring and peaceful environment unless it is decided by the court that living with his parents or family shall - (a) lead a significant harm to the child; (b) subject the child to serious abuse; or (c) not be in the best interest of the child. …with the laws and procedures applicable that it is in the best interests of the child to separate him from his parent, the best substitute care available shall be provided for the child. ( 1)It shall be the duty of a parent, guardian or any other person having custody of a child to maintain that child in particular that duty gives the child the right to (a) food; (b) shelter; (c) clothing; (d) medical care including immunisation; (e) education and guidance; (f) liberty; and (g) right to play and leisure. (2) A person shall not deprive a child access to education, immunisation, food, clothing, shelter, health and medical care or any other thing required for his development. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Any children’s projects we are affiliated with should at the minimum be aimed at providing these basics for the children under their care. Any volunteers that we send to support the projects, will only be adding to what is already there such as volunteer teaching, care, playtime, donations or sponsorships. Anyone who chooses to be hosted by us to volunteer on a children’s project will be verified via: Recent police/criminal background check to show no indication of previous criminal or indecent behaviour Character references from verifiable people who can claim witness that our volunteers have excellent characteristics and behaviour to work with children Face to face meeting (usually via video) with us Detailed background information on qualifications and experience Working safely with vulnerable people There is vast poverty in Tanzania, large equality gaps and a huge amount of people who are unemployed or do not have a regular income. There are many socio economic, historical and political factors that contribute to this. This is an important consideration when we want to safeguard vulnerable people from the risk of exploitation. The most pressing concern for most people we have come into contact with is lack of income and poverty means many families cannot afford to properly take care of their most basic needs, including healthcare and other necessary life resourcesUnstable incomes create welfare insecurity, food insecurity and shelter becomes unreliable. We work with local organisations that have experienced providing support to people who fall within this category. Therefore we take great care in intensively monitoring the ongoing work with our volunteers to ensure we are safeguarding against harm and exploitation. Through years of continuous needs assessments, our organisation endeavours to safely contribute in 3 critical ways: Providing enhancement in the form of human resources; the right people with the correct skills and education in the most appropriate placement area. Providing an exchange of knowledge where we see gaps in information, progress or advancements. Providing charitable contributions on behalf of every volunteer we place. On a consistent basis, we’ve seen extraordinary growth on projects resources and sustainability once projects have acquired much needed resources, independence and stability. It is important that careful consideration is taken into working with people, particularly vulnerable women and children as they are at higher risk of exploitation, abuse and neglect. Protection from physical, emotional, mental and psychological harm at all times. There should be consideration for their health and safety at all times Their privacy and dignity should always be maintained and any information that can identify them protected There should be strict guidelines on who can access and work with these people and children i.e anyone having contact with them should always be verified and have a current background check. Immediate action should be taken when there is an incident or harm At all times, the people and children on projects should have access to clean water, meals and shelter on the project. Free access to information and education should be prioritised It is important to us that projects we work with meet these basic standards so the people and children under their care grow and flourish. It is also important that we work with volunteers who have a basic understanding of these issues and are able to self manage their role as volunteers with compassion, care and professionalism. Culture Tanzanian culture is a deeply important part of the way their society functions, right up to the way the country is governed. Culture and traditions are enshrined within their constitution, in customary and religious laws which govern the way community and public decisions are made. Therefore it is important that volunteers are aware that by abiding by their customs and regulations, they are also volunteering lawfully.
ALLYSHIP AND ETHICAL ENGAGEMENTS IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES Our allyship and ethical engagement guideline works to make volunteers and interns aware of the racial and cultural differences that exist that are important to understand in order to be effective in our communities. As an organisation that hosts foreign volunteers in African, predominantly black communities, it is important to us to ensure the engagements that happen between our volunteer and our local communities are ethical, meaningful and respectful. We want to safeguard local communities from the harm that might come from inappropriate or misguided interactions that might arise even with the best of intentions. It also gives volunteers and non black foreigners pause for thought to reflect on how their own position or privilege may come into play when engaging with black communities. Doing so almost always see incredible outcomes and strong alliances form. It remains our mission to create powerful international engagements, exchange and an impact that contributes to global health through our volunteer placements. And in doing so our volunteers become active allies within the communities they serve. Understanding what it means to be an ally Challenge own biases and prejudices Listening to Learn and Understand Become a Partner not a Saviour Empowering Recognising the Impact of Colonialism, Racism and Inequality on Black Communities Validating Local People’s Experiences
OUR ACCOMMODATIONS Safety Our accommodation locations were chosen specifically for the safety of the neighbourhood. Not all neighbourhoods in Arusha offer the same level of safety, even if they are closer to town due to vast unregulated settlement areas that disrupt urbanisation and infrastructure in the centre of town. Therefore most neighbourhoods deemed safe tend to be on the outskirts of the main city centre and both our hostels are situated in such neighbourhoods. Both properties are above local standards of living with high quality furnishings and amenities. Our accommodations are safe spaces for interns, volunteers and the staff working there. We expect all house safety regulations to be adhered to at all times. We expect all staff and guests to respect the local community and abide by local laws, regulations and customs at all times. Cleaning protocol There is a strict twice daily cleaning protocol and deep cleaning schedule at both hostels. All areas are cleaned and checked daily. Our staff have received housekeeping training which includes infection prevention and control and safety regulations, all of which are regularly communicated and reviewed by management. In the event of an outbreak or infection risk, there is an enhanced deep cleaning protocol which our staff has been trained on and have access to. Food and Water Safety Both accommodation sites use one market to source fresh food which have traceable sources to local farms and/or producers.This makes it far easier to trace our food sources and mitigate risk of contamination when we know where the food comes from. All our food is halal. Each hostel has a water dispenser with filtered water from a reputable and trusted water supplier. It is not uncommon for people to use groundwater to supply their homes, we have opted to connect and use treated government water. Security Both properties have electric fencing, high walls and guarded entry ways. Staff are present at both sites 24/7; housekeeping staff during the day and night security guards at night. This has worked well and we have accommodated our guests for 6 years without incident inside our accommodations.
MEDICAL EMERGENCIES Protocol for outbreaks and natural disasters In the event of an outbreak or a natural disaster the immediate plan will be to quarantine our hostels and evacuate our staff and guests as soon as possible. Protocol for emergencies and non urgent issues Our protocol for any urgent personal medical issue is to refer our volunteers to Arusha Lutheran Medical Center or Mount Meru Regional Hospital who are accustomed to taking care of foreign patients and provide the most enhanced levels of care in the region.The staff are instructed to transport volunteers as there is no unified ambulance service in Arusha. In any non urgent circumstance, volunteers will be advised to make their way to ALMC or MMRH, contact a coordinator and take the most available transport to seek medical assistance.
HOW WE MANAGE COVID-19 We were proudly amongst one of the first organisations to create guidelines and protocols in response to the impending COVID-19 pandemic in early March 2019. Prior to any official government protocols or other guidance. Our current protocol remains in accordance with CDC guidelines which works in tandem with the various international guidelines which our volunteers and interns need to follow. We advise everyone to arrive vaccinated for COVID-19 Any one who is not vaccinated should show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Tanzania Everyone should self report any concerns of exposure to COVID-19 and provide a rapid test. All of our accommodations have easy access to handwashing stations. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak Any one who is tested positive will be advised to isolate in a single room in the accommodation. Staff will follow our protocol of enhanced deep cleaning, meal provision for the isolated guest and using personal protective equipment. On day 5 of isolation, if the isolated guest is no longer symptomatic and test negative on a rapid test, they will be released from isolation. Days 5 to 10 the isolated guest will be advised to continue wearing a mask. If 2 or more guests are tested positive for COVID-19, all guests staying at the accommodation including staff will be quarantined for 5 days at the accommodation with a strict entry and exit policy. No guests will be allowed in or out for 5 days unless there is an immediate emergency. On day 5, guests who previously tested positive who test negative will pass the restriction. As long as no other guests are showing symptoms or have tested positive, the accommodation will end quarantine. If there are new positive cases on day 5, total accommodation quarantine will continue. Days 5 to 10 all guests and staff at the accommodation will be advised to wear masks when leaving the accommodation and while in public areas.
OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS AND AFFILIATES We work with industry leading partners who work as booking agents for our interns or volunteers. These companies go above and beyond, working as far more than just booking platforms but providing a holistic service that provides answers, clarity and high standards of practice. They have worked with us, some since the beginning of our inception, to grow their own understanding of the needs of our communities and the people affected. We are approached on a nearly monthly basis for partnership, however we work to an incredibly high standard that we demand not just from our partners but from ourselves. Every aspect of policies that we’ve put forward including screening criterias, background checks, ethical partnerships and more have been adopted and promptly enforced by our partners prior to sending any volunteer.