We are getting excited! In a few weeks Dr. Messer arrives back in Cambodia and our medical projects begin with OneGoodTurn. We will be working with Dr. Messer for a couple weeks in Phnom Penh at the University to help with development and implementation of her medical education program. Along with that, we will be returning to Siem Reap where Dr. Messer and I conducted a medical assessment 6 months ago at a few medical clinics. We will be fully supplying the 4 medical clinics we met with 6 months ago with proper medical equipment and conducting follow up medical clinic outreach to the same locations.
One thing I as the founder would like to address to volunteers (experts) and veterans interested in joining is the amount of work that goes into this cause and what is expected of your commitment. We have high standards and seek people with similar ambitions that are looking to solve complex problems. A lot of hard work is done by many parties to get a project like this going. It is important to address this more often in these blogs so people are aware what they are signing up for. We encourage interested individuals to make comments and suggestions on ways to better implement projects or even better yet, take our model and replicate it for their own causes.
I’ve been told before by volunteers on the ground that the projects we do look simple. I simply smile and say that’s because we are good at doing our job. If the project did not go smoothly, that would mean we did not prepare and do our job correctly. I don’t think people appreciate or understand the logistics and effort in getting these things done, unless they have worked in development before. The amount of time networking and building proposals that never reach fruition is something only people in this line of work understand. There is a need to be resilient and be able to take criticism and feedback on ideas. Also, we need people who are able to work at a high pace and in somewhat stressful environment (it is not similar to working in the US). One reason we are so specific on who we seek for volunteers now is because we have learned over the years and know what it takes to be successful with our goals – that is what is our top priority.
Over the next few months our website will be updated to accurately reflect our work and also address who we are seeking. We will be adding a section for people looking to get involved to submit proposals and in a future blog speak to this further. We are after years of hard work coming into a well-shaped organization that is more than just an idea and now has a clear and defined goal that we are confident we can achieve with the right people getting involved.
We realize everyone wants to be a part of something big, but not everyone wants to put in the hard work and do the mundane tasks to get causes underway and the goal accomplished. Not everything is like it seems on social media and the happiness portrayed is a result of lots of hard work by multiple parties. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is boring and frustrating, but also necessary. Success is like an iceberg. What people see on social media is the result of everything that goes on behind the scenes. I would say 90% of a project is planning, coordinating and other "mundane" task, while the last 10% is the fun part with the actual implementation and where the results can be seen by people on social media.
We are protective of our projects and who we allow to join us, because we have spent years building trust and relationships. We are not looking to throw these away because a volunteer or staff member can't handle themselves in a professional manner or follow through with action on things promised. When joining Expert-Exchange in a project you are in effect representing our brand and also getting the connections to locals and other people via our network. We are all for expanding and growing this with smart, responsible, and driven people who follow through with their words by implementing. Once you join us and become a part of our team we absolutely have your back and will do everything in our power to make you successful with whatever project you are working with us on.
We are actively searching for those who are go getters and looking for Quality over Quantity. We are also looking for a Project Manager to take over operations part time this summer while I am back in the US at school. Please reach out to us if you like what you hear and are up for a challenge. We want to support and assist if we can: www.expert-exchange.org
Expert-Exchange is reaching a defining moment after three years of establishing a mission and baseline of community aid. EE started as a simple idea and developed into a tangible cause set into motion by me the founder, a few Veterans downrange, some experts and locals in Cambodia, and some critical support back stateside.
We are looking for highly motivated Veterans, and civilian experts in their field, who have a humanitarian disposition, know exactly what skills they can offer and a notion of how they'd like to participate. We are not an organization that offers basic volunteer work for funseekers or someone just looking to kill time overseas, rather we would refer those volunteers to another organization. We are seeking motivated individuals with a specific plan and the requisite skills to solve a basic human-needs problem in a region of the world still suffering abject poverty and the aftermath of war.
Applicants must show they can take an idea and implement it fully. During our selection process we look for Experts with a well thought out proposal that shows an understanding of the issues in-country, a targeted problem and a realistic plan to fix it. We facilitate introductions and support the implementation, but the Expert will be expected to do the heavy lifting. You will also be required to conduct follow-through via blog entries on our website and layout a simple 6-month post project check-in schedule for the Experts following in your footsteps: therefore each Expert not only conducts their own project but exercises/accepts delegation and directive responsibilities by carrying the baton for your predecessor and passing it on to your successor. The process will challenge and stretch you but we assure you it will serve as deep catharsis for any veteran or civilian Expert seeking to utilize their skillset, benefit others and deploy for a cause.
Veterans are typically well versed in challenging environments and precarious interactions and so are well suited to the work we do at EE. That said, as a peace-time mission we are without all the typical tools and armor (physical and emotional) of a combat situation: that can make you feel vulnerable in the beginning until you develop your human diplomacy skills, and remember we will be there throughout to support you. This is a swords to ploughshares endeavor that is as transformative for you as a veteran as it is for the people who’s lives you are helping improve.
As EXPERT-EXCHANGE grows we are preparing to offer Fellowships for veterans and other qualifying experts seeking to implement well-crafted projects in Cambodia and other post-conflict regions. We are not an organization that claims we rehabilitate Veterans or directly cures PTSD, however we do expect you to discover a whole range of benefits as a by-product of your stint with us. Hands-on, compassion-based, activity-oriented humanitarian work taps into resources not typically accessed via military deployment and we predict you will find your own personal resolutions via an engagement with EXPERT-EXCHANGE.
The more projects we develop, the more opportunities there are for you in the field and in subsequent mentorship roles either in-country or back stateside. Please reach out to us if you’d like to be considered for a mission with EE.
Executive Director's Blog
Follow Macie through SE Asia as he embarks on a humanitarian adventure and assists inspirational individuals to improve their life quality.