Transforming Lives Through Education

Since 1986, Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) has worked to increase health care access in resource-scarce countries through clinical training and education programs in child health, primary care, trauma and rehabilitation, essential surgical care, oral health, blood disorders and cancer, infectious disease, nursing education and wound management. In resource-poor nations throughout Africa, Asia and Central and South America, HVO volunteers train, mentor and provide critical professional support to local health care providers who care for the neediest populations in the most difficult of circumstances.

Core Values

Health Volunteers Overseas:

  • implements innovative, effective programs that meet the needs of the host country and institution, are sustainable and build local capacity.

  • works in partnership with other organizations, host governments and institutions, and local health

  • care professionals in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.

    is dedicated to good stewardship and lifelong learning.

Mission Statement

Health Volunteers Overseas is dedicated to improving the availability and quality of health care through the education, training and professional development of the health workforce in resource-scarce countries.


HVO will be recognized as a global leader in the design and implementation of capacity-building projects that strengthen and empower the global health workforce.

Guiding Principles

HVO projects are staffed by highly qualified health care professionals who demonstrate the highest standards of professional and personal conduct.

Sensitivity and respect for the cultural and social beliefs and practices of the host country should guide professional and personal behavior.

Projects vary according to the needs of the countries and the educational priorities identified. However, there are certain principles that apply across all projects:

  • Training will focus on local diseases and health conditions;

  • Practices, procedures and skills taught will be both relevant and realistic, and should include, when appropriate, a focus on prevention;

  • Projects will promote lifelong learning;

  • Whenever possible, projects will focus on training local personnel who will assume the roles of both educator and provider.

Volunteers are encouraged to make maximum use of locally available equipment and supplies in order to foster long-term sustainability. If donations of equipment, medications or other supplies are essential to accomplish the educational goals of the project, these donations should be appropriate to the needs of the site and meet international donation standards as established by WHO or other similar organizations.