2015 Report


MESCH project summary 2015

  Name   Site  Duration   Status  MESCH           category  Co-ordinator
 Anaesthetic        machines Vanuatu 2014 Complete Welfare Mich Poppinghaus
 Raga  Pentecost, Vanuatu 2013- current Ongoing Development Narelle Cassey
 Trauma care  DaLat, Vietnam 2014- current Ongoing Development John Cassey
 VN Harvest  DaLat, Vietnam 2012- Current On hold Development John Cassey
 Massage business/Café  DaLat, Vietnam 2015 Proposed Development Narelle & John Cassey
 Orthopaedics  DaLat, Vietnam 2014  Pending Development Richard Verheul
 Anaesthetic nurse
visit to Newcastle
 Santo, Vanuatu   Idea Development Mich Poppinghaus
 Anaesthetic, nursing
& surgery
 Santo, Vanuatu   Idea Development Mich Poppinghaus
 Orthopaedics  Phan Rang, Vietnam   Idea  Development  Richard Verheul
 Paed anaesthetic,
nursing & surgery 
 Phan Rang, Vietnam   Idea Development John Cassey
 Sister School Newcastle
East (Aus) & Pentecost
 Pentecost, Vanuatu   Idea Development Narelle Cassey
 Theatre gowns   Santo, Vanuatu   Idea Welfare Mich Poppinghaus &
Amelia Ham

Raga Sewing Project, Pentecost Is, Vanuatu

Narelle Cassey, Lisa Brown, Steve Threlfo, John Cassey
Equipment (sewing machines, diesel generator, a machine repair kit, laptops), infrastrcucture (electrical wiring, lighting, verandah, shed for generator) and staff training (fashion design, business skills and
marketing) has been provided. Staff training is ongoing and needs more support. Remuneration has been changed to “piece” (sewers) and” sale” (manager) price. Potential problems are many including the lack of a MOU with the Walter Lini school and maintaining the project’s independence from vested interests and competitors. However, the progress so far has been outstanding. . It is anticipated that a further $5000 (not including airfares and accommodation) will be required in 2016 for ongoing expenses

Trauma Course, LDGH, Da Lat, Vietnam

Peter Armstrong, John Cassey
The second of these courses was run in November 2015. There were three courses – a 3 day doctors course, a 2 day nurses course conducted at LDGH, and a 1 day course for doctors and nurses conducted at a peripheral hospital in Duc Trong. These courses were conducted by Drs Sinh and Duong with support in the practical sessions from John and Peter. Lois Meyer, an educationalist from UNSW, analysed much of the data and feedback from the participants and La Cuong Vu, a biomedical engineer from St George Hospital, did most of the local negotiation, assisted the local interpreters and facilitated the audiovisual presentations. Many local issues, problems and their solutions were discussed during these courses. The courses were very well received, are 90% locally run and aim to be completely transferred to Viet control by the end of 2016. Needs video and graphics – contact Anne McGeechan re material from APLS
Explore options for videoing course, especially the scenarios – Anh Nguyen (friend of LaVu), ?Jesse Jesus ??
Likely trip in March 2016 for instructors’ course
Continued support for projected budget – mostly airfares
Funding estimated till completion of project: $15-20,000 over 3 more financial years

Lam Dong Blind Association (LDBA) Massage Business

Narelle travelled to Da Lat in November to assess progress. A property near the central market has been purchased by LDBA and advice on refurbishment was sought. Engagement of local personnel with business
and marketing skills has been initiated. Mr Trung (CEO LDBA) is interested in suggestions made by Narelle and John for business. Difficult to know which ones he rejects because of lack of funds or he perceives are
poor ideas. We feel strongly that business needs a manager. MESCH happy to support this for startup. Further details to be sorted following its’ opening in late 2015. Money for beds and steam baths given in November as part of development project. Marie has expressed an interest in assisting this project.


Orthopaedics Phan Rang Hospital, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

Visit by Richard Verheul deferred because of injury. MOU extant but not acted upon. No project proposal. John to follow up with Richard Verheul

Paediatric anaesthesia, nursing and surgery, Phan Rang Hospital, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

Medical staff at Phan Rang Hospital indicated to John in 2014 that this was an area of major concern for them. An MOU has been signed. Formal project proposal awaits initiation by MESCH member.


Anaesthetic Machines Vanuatu

Four refurbished anaesthetic machines were shipped to Vanuatu in May 2015 at a cost of $215.15 to MESCH. Dr Andy Ilo (CEO Santo Hospital) is negotiating with the Minister of Education as to their application. No word as yet.


VN Harvest

The aim here is to redistribute excess good food to the poor in return for self or family improvement. No in- country Vietnamese manager has been identified and no further funding has been allocated until this has been addressed.


MESCH has continued its’ place within a small group of credible organisations in foreign aid. We have done this through the enormous energy of members, goodwill of supporters and a consistent adherence to our principles of respect, active listening and advocacy of innovation. This may seem a strong motherhood statement and, indeed, in maintaining transparency we should not make ourselves seem to be something we are not. For anyone following the activities of many aid organisations or personal experience with them, our relative uniqueness and success is not in question. Ferdninad Lehnard is the Australian manager of “Wolfe” – a German company dealing in high end medical equipment. He recently wrote to me about some aid issues and this is an excerpt from that email:    "…not much different from many places I already was. It just shows you how spoilt we are in our "perfect civilised" world. We take too many things for granted and forget that our luxury life is often founded on the poverty of others. But does it make us happier? It seems to me pretty much the same as in Africa, were tribal rites and family business ruled the daily life. Either we adapt and accept or we are lost. Our understanding of project management, to meet dead lines and achieve within a set time, might be from high importance for us, but this people show us that there are more important things than a dead line. For many of us it can be frustrating, but is it not also something we can learn from?
…..I just like to express, that I like to combine the trip to Pentecost with the trip to Port Vila, This trip to Port Vila is already overdue, I have to follow up a training I gave beginning last year and do some maintenance service on the equipment I installed. Due to the fact that training and maintenance services were never considered in any of the contracts or tenders, I have to organise this matter as economic as possible and combine it with other trips into the region to keep the travel costs low.
That project in Port Vila was a typical so called Aid Project - donated by the people of Japan. Drop the equipment, get it running, enjoy the opening ceremony with all the celebrities, high ranked politicians and the "look how important we are", and let the people who received the donation work out, how to operate and manage the stuff. Sustainable Training costs money, and that is something what the driving companies behind such donation businesses don't want to spend. Important for them are only the sales figures in a certain region and their reputation……..
Ferdinand Lehnard
Wolfe Australia"
We have continued to successfully transition into a professional organisation deserving the recognition of DFAT, ACNC and the ATO.
We are all part of this!
You tube videos – MESCH organisation video, Raga (English),Trauma course (Vietnamese & English), VN harvest English (Vn “close”)
Support and meetings with non-MESCH contacts (alphabetical)
An Nguyễn has arranged women to do the VN voice overs for VN harvest video and translated VN/EN and EN/VN text
Dan Cox (ABC) did an interview for us pre-Rustica
Emma Cassey analysed interview answers, taught basic marketing strategies, advised on workroom setup on Raga
“Goodsync” gave us 2 licences to keep media drives in sync
Greg Hall (TAFE Hunter) has proposed and furthered association between TAFE and MESCH
Jann Barton is excellent with the working with children check interview – availability may be a problem
Jason Bradley (BodyWorx Physiotherapy) has agreed to teach massage in LDBA if it gets approval as a project
Jesse Jesus did a review of our website and has offered to assist with changes and other AV needs
Kevin Fell (ex-TAFE Hunter) has furthered the possible association between TAFE  and MESCH
Khang Võ has translated documents and powerpoints for the trauma course and assisted with the VN versions of the videos for the trauma course and VN harvest (pro bono) 
Kim Colyvas helped us understand, group and link our organisational spreadsheets – they are now up to date and functioning well (pro bono) 
La Vu Cuong has continued to liaise with LDGH regarding plans for trauma course 2015(pro bono) 
Loi Luu has done the VN voice over for the trauma course and VN harvest (pro bono) 
Lois Meyer has offered advice on the trauma course and came to LDGH in November
Luna (Seo Hwt Ktm) has been assisting with treasurer’s tasks (pro bono) 
Marie Martinelli did an extensive search of potential grant bodies (pro bono) 
Payam recovered our media at a greatly reduced price, gave us a spare hard drive
Perdi Osborne assisted with order of service for Rustica and Greek night
Peter Cassey installed generator, electrics and did a lot of building work on Raga
UON : Various members within Faculty of medicine have offered tacit support
telligence gave a free “how to” session to Hannah and John for website and have offered “how to” videos when available. They continue to offer support pro bono
Will Creedon has confirmed his “intent” to support in 2016
MESCH challenges for 2016… and possible solutions
None of us has sufficient time to devote to our organisational and specific project needs. We have been able to continue to be professional in our approach by adapting to relative deficiencies. I do not believe that projects have suffered. However, this has required an enormous amount of work by relatively few people and is not sustainable. A realistic assessment of project needs and application of rigor and honesty in evaluation is beyond our current capacity.  In order to continue to deliver meaningful project support and evaluation we need financial backing, input from individuals with specialist skills and support for both the project co-ordinators and executive. 
Financial backing
Given our focus on development and our commitment to working "with", as opposed to "for" partners, we do not need a large income. An appreciation that all significant projects require an in-country manager and that most require more than 1 trip/yr has meant that travel/accommodation and administrative costs for each project have increased. Community projects like Raga have increased costs over training projects since they generally require a greater capital expenditure. An income base is required over and above that supplied by direct donations and small fundrasiers like the trivia/ Greek nights. Rustica has been wonderful in that regard – though will not last forever. Donations-in-kind require ongoing feedback and variance of donors from time to time. 
We have lists of potential corporate, government and philanthropic organisations which need to be approached for grants. There will undoubtedly be private donors. Although much of it is “cut-and-paste”, there are specific requirements for each. We need a small group of people with the time to dissect these out and to write the grants.
Input from individuals with specialist skills
We do not have within our organisation people with skills and/or time for certain tasks. These are detailed on our website. These are both organisational and project related. Many of these are obvious, sometimes they become apparent as a project develops.
We need to foster partnerships with individuals or organisations so as to have available a broad range of skills - either ongoing or flexible input as needed. Such a network will require a great deal of planning.
Support for both the project co-ordinators and executive
There is a great deal of work done by both these groups. It is impossible with the current set-up for them to keep up (eg feedback to donors and supporters) let alone progress into new avenues.
Each project needs a co-ordinator and at least one assistant. The executive needs 2-3 assistants. 
Assistance with organisational tasks
Marie declared in interest in Raga.
Kevin declared an interest in writing and evaluating grant proposals as well as projects in Vietnam.
We need to continue to seek involvement of members and attract new members for involvement as project assistants.
VN versions of website tags and reports complete – no facility to upload!
Resource documents uploading is low priority and on hold until the website itself is revamped.
Policies and other documents
Cultural awareness – Mich has the RACS communication modules available if members wish to access these. He is happy to speak with members about any issues. He does not want to produce a 5 minute video on the subject. As this is a low priority, John will approach Jesse or Anh Nguyen (a contact of La Vu) to see if they are interested. If not, the item will be dropped.
Support documents: Amended or added - project checklist for volunteers and co-ordinators; media documents; introduction package for new members; antimicrobial use in developing countries; equipment donation guidelines for donors; MESCH donation guidelines; summary project and personal financials
Drop acronym explanation
Discussion about avoiding the perception of medical emphasis of MESCH.Many of our projects are educational and focused on building communities. Some concern about fundraising if medical explanation is dropped. Decision to adopt ‘Building communities through sustainable aid’ as the subtext under the MESCH logo.
Project and personal expenses
The previous decision at May 2015 meeting that MESCH meet travel and accommodation costs incurred by a volunteer for second or subsequent trips within a year for an ongoing project was clarified to include the phrase ”within a 12 month period”.
The previous decision that if a project needed specific skills unavailable within the organisation then the travel and accommodation costs of that volunteer should be met by MESCH was ratified.
The MESCH foundation document will be modified to reflect these decisions. For the volunteer referred to in item (ii), this will mean a newly identified gap is found in an established project the gap is identified by both our partner and ourselves
MESCH clearly has the capacity to resolve this
capacity includes BOTH the details of its' solution AND an individual who is EITHER a MESCH volunteer with a proven track record within MESCH of delivering project outcomes in an efficient and timely manner or
has this record outside of MESCH.
Major items of expenditure in the last financial year  were:-
Raga sewing project - $30,409
Dalat Trauma Course - $5,644
Accounting software will be introduced in the near future to more easily itemise expenses and income. Amelia is continuing to develop transition of our finances to Xero with our accountant  and Luna (UoN accounting
Fundraising and Sponsorship
We will approach organisations identified in Marie’s list (as above) for existing projects where we have runs on the board (eg. Raga sewing project) and as part of future funding. Marie and Kevin have expertise in this regard
Rustica Debrief
This year’s Rustica dinner was cancelled due to insufficient numbers. A variety of factors impacted including the fact that the cost was well beyond most members and their friends to meet. Will Creedon is still keen on supporting MESCH and this is a major fundraiser for us. John will contact Will by the end of January with a view to organizing a dinner by the end of March.
Greek Club
Amelia presented the outcomes from our first Greek Club night. This occasion was a dinner with music by the Raduga trio and a couple of presentations. Thoroughly enjoyable night out and Amelia was congratulated by all. Touched base with a lot of supporters and made some new ones. About $3500 raised.
Suggestions for future events include Greek Club again; a film night at the Regal (Anne to investigate) and a music night at Lizottes(Marie to investigate).
Media contacts
Contacts not supplied as yet by Will and Greg. John to follow up.
Private and Corporate contacts
Kevin has offered support in fostering contacts with TAFE. There may be some useful common interests for both organisations. TAFE have a policy of community engagement and potentially, MESCH could fit that bill. Kevin will organize a meeting with John, Kevin and the TAFE representatives to discuss this in December.
Facebook and Website
Both need some attention and clarification. Jesse Jesus, a recent media graduate from UON, John and Peter will try to get together over the holiday period to assess the situation for website.
Facebook profile will be updated by Narelle for project news and Luna’s offer to update events and general news will be confirmed by Amma.
Executive tasks
Updated project spreadsheets are needed to further itemise costs and outcomes. Many other tasks have awaited the outcome of the AGM in respect to full complement of the executive
Laptops from IT companies
Laptops are needed initially for the Raga project. Peter has spoken with his brother who is able to supply on the proviso that they are old and usually have dead batteries. TAFE may well support