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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Clive Mellor our volunteer in Myanmar (Burma)


Clive on a visit with Dr Hein Latt Aung (Project Officer) to see the work in the Delta area hit by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.

Clive Mellor, 45, from Lancashire is volunteering with Doctors of the World in Myanmar (Burma) where he is working as a Finance and Admin Coordinator overseeing two projects in the country.  He is living and working abroad on a year long mission with his wife Jackie who has also been volunteering for the organisation.

Clive spoke to Frontline Diaries about his experiences and why he decided to go to Myanmar.

What was your background experience leading up to volunteering with Doctors of the World?
I had over 22 years work experience mainly in Finance and Health Services, working at a senior level. I worked all over the UK but never overseas, but have travelled widely.

I’m a qualified accountant with 22 years experience including 13 years NHS experience working as a Director.
What projects are you working on in Myanmar?
Doctors of the World have been working in Myanmar since 1995. They work in Yangon (the capital formerly Rangoon) and in Kachin near the Chinese border. Since 2008 they also work in the Delta area hit by Cyclone Nargis. I started in December 2009 and will be based in Yangon.

In Yangon Doctors of the World works on Aids prevention and treatment for sex workers (i.e. the highest risk groups) and does outreach work using peers to talk to those at highest risk and promoting the use of our Drop in Clinic. The prevalance of Aids is highest in these risk groups. Our work in Kachin is similar but targets Intravenous Drug Users.
The work in Pyapon in the Delta area is community health work, where we help train community health workers, who are villagers in remote areas, keeping them supplied with medical supplies and supporting their work. Most of these villages can only be reached by boats taking up to 10 hours to reach them.

Why did you decide to go to Myanmar?
My wife Jackie and I had been to Asia many times and love the people, so this opportunity seemed ideal for us to experience a different culture for a longer period and make a contribution towards improving healthcare in Myanmar.

What is your role and day-to-day job in Myanmar?
My role is as head of Finance, HR and Admin. Key aspects of the role include bidding and reporting to donors. Also we have the regular monthly financial reporting to do to HQ in Paris and ensuring financial procedures, plans and budgets are adhered to. A new HR policy has just been implemented for local staff and so there is some work in ensuring it is delivered effectively.
My wife Jackie has started helping an AIDS self help group which is run by locals involved with Doctors of the World. They make and sell bags to raise funds and she has been helping them with their costings and marketing.

How do you think it will impact on your working life when you return to the UK?
Difficult to say – I think it will add something to my CV, but this is more about an experience that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

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