What you should know
What it’s really like being ‘in-country’ and working on a business in the developing world in 2017.
Projects are typically four weeks, however some range from three to eight. All projects are held during university breaks so students are able to work around their degree structure. Please see the specific Project you’re interested in for the upcoming dates here.
Please note you are required to be in country for the dates of your chosen project, meaning you must be present for all days, inclusive. You are not to fly in on the project start date or fly out on the project end date, but rather on either side of these.
Leaders are in country sometimes weeks beforehand to set up. You will need a few days to meet up with your team and acclimatise.
Accommodation is very basic, generally comprising a small kitchen, bathroom, outdoor workspace, and bedrooms. The bedrooms are a bunk-bed layout with average mattresses and pillows. The kitchen may have basic appliances, including a stove cooktop. The bathrooms are likely to be cold-water only and be aware that some areas operate with bucket only showers. The standard of cleanliness is nowhere near what you may be accustomed to in Australia. We operate within the communities of which we operate. Not in a hotel, not with air conditioning.
The electricity and water frequently cut out or are at low capacity due to poor infrastructure. The water pipes are often closed during periods of heavy rain or due to overuse. Laundry facilitates may be available, however, be aware that you will probably have to hand wash your clothes.
Your workspace is not an office and is often located at the accommodation site and may be outside. Chairs, tables, and limited power sources are available.
Accommodation is covered from the first night of project. No accommodation is provided after the final dinner. You will be required to find your own on the final evening.
All students are required to obtain a local SIM card on arrival and top this up with pre-paid data and call credit. There are areas without signal.
Internet is available in country, however, expect dial up speeds and it to be expensive. Some areas do not have WIFI at all. Power and water is included in your fee. Filtered drinking water is provided for you at the accommodation.
Breakfast and dinner on project days are included. Food is based on the traditional cuisine. Vegetarian options available. We will always endeavor to cater to food allergies, so please inform us as early as possible. You will need to provide your own lunch always. Across all locations expect carbohydrates, curry and local fresh produce.
Standard breakfasts include toast and eggs. Milk is usually in powdered form or long life. Meat can be scarce in some locations, so may only be available in limited amounts. In some locations you’ll make breakfast yourself, however dinner is cooked for you. Food is not provided on the weekend.
Accommodation, food, and resources for your two-day training is included in the price. You just need to get yourself there. Trekker Training runs for two days, usually around five weeks before project commencement. You meet your team, Team Leader, 2IC, Group Leader, receive your project brief, handover documents, view your hand over videos, receive training on social business, exponential technology, crisis management, team dynamics and personality profiling. It is highly practical, experiential based learning. Specific dates can be found on the website as each month has different dates.
Training is compulsory. Your assessment for suitability continues during Trekker Training, thus your attendance forms part of your application. If you are identified as unsuitable during Trekker Training, refunds minus your deposit will be available.
You will start the Project with an in country induction. You may also run through activities such as public speaking, and stakeholder pitch practice, design thinking workshops, impact assessment activities, risk assessment activities and leadership activities. This is all designed to focus on your development and the success of the team and the project.
Virtual workspace ‘BASECAMP’ (Powered by CROWDICITY)
Basecamp is an online platform where the Project Everest community can discuss, collaborate and further develop the projects into thriving, scalable and, most importantly, socially beneficial ventures.
Alumni, academics, and consultants will especially be encouraged to provide commentary on new ideas posted by Trekkers throughout the course of their time in-country so ventures can benefit from their experience and knowledge.
By exploring the platform, you’ll all be able to see ways in which you can interact with challenges, submit new ideas, and collaborate on the development of what will hopefully immensely successful social businesses.
Ultimately, we want to open the platform to the public (think Kaggle).
Access to consultants
While on Project you are able to communicate with the entire Project Everest team, including R&D, Business, Impact and People consultants. Skype sessions can be arranged to check on progress and receive support through coordination with your Team Leader if consultants are not in country.
All Leaders have had considerable training and hold current First Aid certificates. All countries are thoroughly assessed by ISOS and DFAT with Risk Assessment and Evacuation documentation updated periodically. A reconnaissance of the area is completed by Senior Leaders before the start of each Project. In some locations, a security guard is stationed at the accommodation from sunset to sunrise. While we do operate in developing countries, and there are elements that are outside of our control. The local population are welcoming,
While we do operate in developing countries, and there are elements that are outside of our control. The local population are welcoming, and recognise Project Everest. We are located in relatively safe areas, and would not accept or encourage situations of high risk.
You will need to obtain a First Aid certificate before arriving in country. If you have a current First Aid certificate with your CPR component (renewable every 12 months) up to date, this is adequate. If you hold a Bronze Medallion, that will also be adequate. When you are on Project you want the people around you to know what to do in an emergency. That means you need to be in that position too. You’re there as a team.
It’s important to consider the country you are interested in and conduct research on the current situation in general. Look at DFAT Smartraveller, Lonely Planet, …Google. Your Team Leader will guide you at Trekker Training and in country. Do not be offended if leaders ask you to wear loose clothing, or that something isn’t appropriate. It’s not about you – it’s about the community. There are cultural events included during Project for you to be able to understand the context and history behind the issues we are there to address.
Uniform and Clothing
You will receive a Project Everest polo for Project (see photo), and we expect you to wear comfortable, conservative, and breathable clothing (it’s hot and humid). You should also expect to dress slightly more formally for meetings with stakeholders. Bring enclosed shoes (not just runners), jeans and active wear (possible team activities, weekends). Your Team Leader will make you aware of any specific cultural clothing you may need to obtain. You can talk to your Team Leader about what else to bring, however, there is nothing we would say is out of the ordinary for international travel to a developing country.
Timings and hours are determined during your in-country induction as a team and month cohort, however working hours are typically from 0800 morning meeting (gym, shower and breakfast before hand) to 1800 finish. Monday – Friday. Weekends are yours to explore (with security and safety limitations). Often Trekkers work overtime to achieve their daily and weekly goals. Ultimately, it’s only a few weeks of hard work – it’s worth leaving feeling accomplished, having really moved the project forward.
Health and Safety
Project Everest has a high degree of support from International SOS, who provide live updates on country conditions across environmental, political, social, and economic factors via email and an iOS and Android app. ISOS have 24/7 medical advice available, where Project Everest members may speak to a medical professional over the phone and receive immediate advice, support and direction to ISOS approved medical facilities. ISOS also provide evacuation support and can coordinate with local and international partners to ensure a smooth response to health and safety issues.
Facts about ISOS:
- Assistance Centres take over 12,000 calls a day (annually only around 1% are emergencies).
- On average, ISOS perform 1,600 air ambulance missions and fly 12,000 flight hours (eight million km) per year. This means that any given day ISOS have an average of four to five flight missions active.
- The largest site project ISOS support has over 20,000 workers.
- Through the ISOS contract with TRICARE, ISOS provide medical care, education, case management and assistance to more than 500,000 US military personnel, retirees, and their dependents in 207 countries and territories.
For further information see their website: https://www.internationalsos.com/
We thoroughly encourage you to travel before, during the weekends, and after Project. The countries in which we operate are stunning, and it’s important to experience the culture and enjoyment of a new environment. This is not coordinated by Project Everest or your in-country Leaders. This is entirely on you. You do need to consider the risks involved in regards to medical facilities in your decisions.
Your leaders may provide you with a list of areas you may be able to travel to, given their experience.
You will be a Trekker in a team of four to nine, with one Team Leader. You may also have a Second in Charge [2IC] and a Group Leader [GL]. You may be living with other teams in country as they complete separate Projects. There may be Projects running at different times to your Project with some overlap. Teams may also be located across separate locations or regions.
Your Team Leader will live with you. Your 2IC and GL work together across all projects and are primarily there to provide direction and work closely with you on certain aspects. They will also deliver on logistics and work closely with your Team Leader to move projects forward.
It is the intention that your experience with Project Everest will continue after Trekking, with the opportunity to gain a paid leadership role.
During your in-country project, those who excel are able to apply for Leadership Training. The leadership training is split into immersion, workshops, and culminates in leading a team in a foreign context. The week long immersion period is focused on the four types of leadership: people, project, pressure, and personal.
Should you be successful, you are then able to return as an Experienced Team Leader – a paid role. Additional to this is Senior Leadership Training, which can result in positions at the Second in Charge and Group Leader level. The autonomy and responsibility will grow as the roles progress.
Public transport is the main method of travel whilst on project, it’s a great way to experience the country and people, and this is covered within project fees. Senior leaders with international driving experience have access to vehicles for use in emergencies and larger logistical operations.