Volunteer with the Greece Response Program
All volunteer positions in the Greece Response Program are in-field. In Greece, NPI provides qualified, skilled volunteers who provide technical one-on-one infant and young child feeding (IYCF) support and counselling, as well as basic antenatal, and postnatal care to pregnant women, and women with children under 2. We provide general reproductive health counseling and conduct women’s health group education and support sessions on a regular basis. We also provide psychosocial support and fill in gaps in humanitarian situations within our scope of programs.
NPI also provides supplementary foods to pregnant and lactating women, and to children 6-24 months. When possible, NPI also distributes basic necessities, such as water, warm clothing, hygiene kits and diapers. NPI also provides refugees with information and educational materials regarding the identification of acute and chronic malnutrition.
Provision of breastmilk substitutes is made for women with children 0-12 months of age after assessment and confirmation of need by a lactation consultant and in accordance with NPI’s IYCF-E pathway, which is based on the International Code of Marketing of BreastMilk Substitutes and the Operational Guidelines for Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies. Support of re-lactation is a cornerstone of our work in Greece.
NPI teams in Greece work within temporary accommodation sites (camps, hotels, flats, apartments etc.) by setting up mother and baby tents (where possible, such as in camps), or mobile units (for example in hotels, flats and common shelters). NPI strives to provide mothers a safe, welcoming, and peaceful environment where they can get technical infant feeding support to feed their babies.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHO CAN APPLY?
Our organization accepts applications from women all over the world, aged 18 and over. Whilst English does not need to be your first language, basic English is necessary when working with us. We look for specific qualifications to support the needs of women on the ground.
Lactation Specialists: IBCLCs and LLL Leaders are the two main and most common lactation specialists who volunteer for NPI. However, we do accept certain other lactation support certifications. Lactation volunteers must be current on their certifications.
Midwives: Midwives must be certified and licensed to work in the country where they currently live.
General Volunteers: Professional women with a certification that focuses on any of our areas of work. This includes medical professionals such as nurses and dieticians. Other professions include doulas, childbirth educators, nutritionists and some breastfeeding support certifications. Final year midwifery student placements and student IBCLCs are also included here. All certifications and licenses must be current.
We are always actively recruiting for Arabic and Kurdish translators.
WHO WILL I BE WORKING WITH?
It is important to understand that you will be working in a multicultural environment with volunteers from around the globe. You will be along side women with years of experience as doctors, some with experience as mothers, others as doulas, as infant feeding specialists, as humanitarian aid workers and some lay volunteers.
HOW LONG DO I GO FOR?
Assignments vary. We request a minimum of a 2 week stay on assignment for short term volunteers. This allows for relationships to be developed, skills to be passed on to the community and exit plans to be implemented. Because of the nature of our work, we cannot have any assignments which are any shorter than this. Ideally, we would like you to stay for a month or more.
If you are able to be on assignment with us for six weeks or more you may be able to become a coordinator. This is dependent on your skills, qualifications and technical expertise.
CAN I TAKE MY PARTNER OR CHILDREN?
Volunteer housing is very limited, therefore our rooms are mainly shared by two people and our housing is for women only. Minors are not allowed in the communities we work in under any circumstances, but if you have a caretaker with you to be with the children while you are working, there are a lot of beautiful locations to visit and fun activities to do while you are busy. If you do decide to bring your family, you must be able to commit to working 9-5 six days a week with NPI and you must find your own accommodation.
I AM A MAN - CAN I VOLUNTEER?
Not generally. Due to the nature of our work there are very few specific cases where we can have men working on our team in field. There are, however, many opportunities to volunteer with our virtual team if you are a man.
CAN NPI PAY FOR MY TRIP?
Volunteers are responsible for all of their travel costs including flights, housing, meals, visas, and travel insurance. We have limited funding and are generally unable to assist with travel costs. If you have specific technical expertise in infant feeding, if you are a long term volunteer of six weeks or more, or if you are a translator there is the possibility of a sponsorship for partial coverage of your costs and waiving of accommodation fees. Please speak with our volunteer coordination team regarding a sponsorship if you believe you fit the criteria.
WHERE WILL I STAY?
We have a volunteer house for our women on assignment. Rooms are generally shared by two people at a time. Accommodation is 10 Euro per night. If you choose to fundraise through our website for your housing costs you are most welcome to do that. Fundraising is based on 10 Euro per night. Any extra funds can be used as a donation to the camp or our organization. We can assist you with fundraising if you need. Our fundraising coordinator can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
IS IT SAFE?
Safety and security is of the utmost importance to NPI. We provide a detailed security assessment of your site upon registration as a volunteer. Our project sites are located across Northern Greece and within the city of Thessaloniki. Although this is a generally safe area, many of the sites we work in can become unstable at times. It is important that you remain vigilant with regards to safety precautions, and as outlined in the Code of Conduct, you must not join in with groups that are demonstrating or protesting.
It is recommended that you register with your government’s travel advisory communication system if one is available. Additionally, it is important to keep your emergency contact details up to date with your volunteer coordinator at all times.
WILL I RECEIVE TRAINING?
It is important that you be familiar with the work that we are doing on the ground. No matter what your background is it is important that you know about the work you will be supporting and the reasons behind our programs. There are many complex and specific issues to infant feeding in emergencies and we must know that you understand this in order to comply with our policies and procedures. We require that all our volunteers to complete a training package prior to departure. This will be outlined further once you decide to commit to volunteering with us.
In addition to training in our work we recommend short courses in stress management and psychological self support which is imperative in this line of work.
DO I NEED VACCINATIONS?
NPI does not allow interaction with any beneficiaries without the required vaccinations. You can volunteer with us virtually but we do not allow risk to our beneficiaries from communicable diseases. Required vaccinations for Greece are MMR, polio, meningitis (meningococcal conjugate vaccine), Hepatitis A and pertussis. Hepatitis B is recommended. You will be asked about your vaccination status on our waiver of liability and health record.
IS THERE IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT?
Depending on the nature of the work at the time you arrive, you will be surrounded by 3 or more of the following persons: Regional Field Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Infant Feeding Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator and Camp Coordinator. They will be with you during your time with us. In addition, we have our Virtual Volunteer Coordinators and Volunteer Director who are available online. There is a weekly therapy session conducted for those who wish to attend.
WILL I RECEIVE A CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION FOR MY WORK?
We are able to provide a certificate of completion upon request.
CAN I BRING DONATIONS WITH ME?
We strictly ask that you please do not send, or bring with you, any physical donations such as clothes, carriers, food, toys, etc. Physical donations are difficult to store and hard to coordinate. This includes any donations related to breastfeeding such as nipple creams, perinatal creams, breast pumps, bottles, cups, formula, etc. These items are strictly prohibited.
The main way you can help us fundraise is by helping us raise money. Money enables us to purchase what we need locally in Greece, which allows us to be flexible and give back to the local economy.
CAN I FUNDRAISE FOR THE PROGRAM?
NPI is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on your support. Fundraising is crucial and enables us to meet the needs of refugee mothers and their babies.
You can help us fundraise by organizing events in your community, from a picnic to a dinner. You can be creative in how you choose to fundraise for NPI.
If you are interested in setting up a fundraising page on our website to raise money for mothers and babies or to help cover volunteer housing costs please visit the fundraising page for more information.