Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering at Maluk Timor
Maluk Timor is an NGO that aims to transform healthcare in Timor-Leste’s community health centres, so that people get great quality care, when and where they need it.
Here’s an 18-minute video orientation for potential volunteers and partners:
Maluk Timor raises its money through both fundraising appeals and through developing partnerships with other charities and development agencies, and it spends almost every dollar raised on work in Timor-Leste.
The drive for Maluk Timor does not come from large government funds or large salaries: our international staff are almost all volunteers, and the only salaries being paid to them are very small living allowances, comparable to Timorese salaries.
Check out our annual report for more details.
‘Maluk Timor’ (MT) is made up of two independent NGOs. One is Associação Maluk Timor (AMT) and the other is Maluk Timor Australia (MTA). They work together through a relationship agreement.
AMT is a Timor-Leste registered NGO accredited by the Timor-Leste Ministry of Justice with its own Board.
MTA is incorporated in Australia and is subject to oversight by the ATO and the ACNC and so is fully accountable within a jurisdiction where any concerns about financial, administrative, clinical or ethical governance can be effectively addressed.
MTA raises most of the funds which enable AMT to do its amazing work.
We often use ‘Maluk Timor’ loosely, referring to both AMT and MTA, or just to AMT.
International volunteers are critical to our operations.
Volunteer positions come in several permutations:
Role: Consultant, Mentor, Clinical Tutor, Remote Volunteer
Department: in Management, or one of our Programs
Our most common volunteer position is that of in-country Mentor, to one of our Programs.
Unfortunately, we are only able to take on a limited number of volunteers at a time.
We are actively recruiting for the following in-country roles:
Communications and Media Mentor
English Language Teacher
IT solutions / Business Process Improvement (BPI) Mentor
We consider volunteers to help with many core functions that keep MT going. E.g.:
Support our Timorese staff.
Our Mentors bring experience in gold-standard clinical care, specialised health expertise and management skills.
At Maluk Timor we find certain volunteers make a larger, more positive impact than others. Here are some characteristics that tend to separate these volunteers from the rest:
1. Staying for a longer period of time. When you stay longer, you are able to better understand the workings of the organisation, see projects through to completion, and collaborate more effectively with local staff.
2. Learning the language. Although you can achieve a lot in English, most Timorese people don’t speak it. Learning some Tetun makes a volunteer more effective in every respect. We have an online Medical Tetun course available which you can study before coming (please ask us for the voucher code) and we encourage you to undertake at least one week of language intensive when you first arrive (US$120/week).
This is an unsalaried role.
However, volunteers may be given a monthly living allowance. Also, most volunteers will be offered a place in one of our shared Volunteer Houses for free, and may have access to a shared Volunteer Vehicle.
Some volunteers are supported by volunteer sending agencies such as AVI (Australia) and VSA (New Zealand).
Varies. Typically 8-15
We consider each applicant independently. If there is a good fit between both applicants and available volunteer positions, then yes.
Mentors, typically 6-12 months.
Consultants, typically 2-6 months.
This may include quarantine upon arrival (duration varies with vaccination status).
Mostly based in our main office in Dili. May involve being at one of our program field sites or partner organizations’ sites such as primary healthcare facilities, the national or referral hospitals, in the community in Dili or the districts, or in partners’ facilities.
All international volunteers must have valid travel medical insurance, including coverage of medical evacuation to your home country.
There are currently no options for professional indemnity / “malpractice” insurance in Timor.
Maluk Timor is focused on strengthening the primary healthcare system of Timor-Leste.
Volunteer positions are NOT primarily “front-line” healthcare service delivery roles, like running medical missions clinics.
Volunteers are responsible for arranging their own housing.
However, most volunteers are offered a place in one of our shared Volunteer Houses for free. (They may contribute toward shared living costs such as gas, electricity, and minor household consumables…)
There are various public transport options available in Dili – taxis and mikrolets (mini-buses).
MT Office vehicles with drivers are available for work-related travel. They are shared by all staff and need to be booked in advance.
Volunteers may have access to a shared Volunteer Vehicle.
The major expenses you should budget for are:
Food and drink
Mobile and personal internet
Unless otherwise agreed, volunteers are responsible for all the above.
Our working language within Maluk Timor is English. However, social conversation and most interactions with patients and partners is in the local language, Tetun.
We certainly don’t expect volunteers to master the language in the months they typically spend with us. But we do expect volunteers to work to attain at least basic fluency within their first 3 months.
Yes, but Maluk Timor will sort this out for you after your arrival.
To start off, everyone* obtains a Tourist Visa (valid for 30 days) on arrival at the airport.
*Portuguese passport holders are exempted. See http://www.migracao.gov.tl/html/sub0501.php for more details.
Yes, we will issue you an end-of-volunteering letter when you leave us.
For updated information on Covid-19 situation and travel information in Timor-Leste, see:
US Embassy in Timor-Leste https://tl.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
National News Agency http://www.tatoli.tl/en/tag/covid-19/
Government of Timor-Leste media releases http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?cat=10&lang=en
Government of Timor-Leste List of legislation related to the state of emergency http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=27184&n=1&lang=en