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Working Group on Volunteering

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Welcome to the new The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Volunteering Working Group (WG)

Terms of Reference

The WPA WG on Volunteering was convened by the 2020-2023 WPA President Dr Prof Afzal Javed to carry out work related to his 2020-2023 Action Plan, particularly capacity building. The WG started its work in December 2020 and included 2 successful pilot projects of joint training in Pakistan and Mexico. Further projects in several other countries have begun or neared completion. The current WPA President Dr Prof Danuta Wasserman has endorsed this work and supports the extension of the WPA Volunteering WG for a further triennium.


WPA member societies are invited to consider the key documents about how the Volunteering platform works, including the roles and responsibilities of both host organisations and visiting trainers. Requests for training by host organisation as well as volunteers are now welcomed.


The planned outcomes for the WPA Volunteering Programme include:


  1. Implementation of volunteering work in different countries through support for:

    • Education and promotion of volunteering among WPA Member Societies and early career psychiatrists

    • Online volunteering through digital platforms, as well as face to face.

    • In-person volunteering to countries with issues of mental health capacities through the member societies and zonal representatives

    • Guidelines on best practices in volunteering for host and recipient member societies as well as the volunteers

  2. Identification of countries willing to participate and available resources to support agreed partnership working

  3. Dissemination of educational material through publications, webinars, symposia, workshops, including online training

  4. Support in other areas including child, adolescent and youth mental health, medical student training and education, partnership with other organisations and capacity building

  5. Support for training in research and publication


Working Group Leadership Team

Working Group Members

Please click here to see the Working Group Members list​

Key Documents

The process to join the Volunteer Working Group is illustrated here:

Flow chart.jpg

News and Social Media Feed

  1. Jacques van Hoof, Marc H.M. Hermans, Roger M.K. Ng. Psychiatric volunteering in low- and middle-income countries: what have we learned from history? WCP20 e-poster. ID 1298.

  2. Jacques van Hoof, Margaret I. Ojeahere, Catherine Muburi, Roger M.K. Ng. New vistas in psychiatric volunteering in low- and middle-income countries. WCP20 e-poster. ID 1349.


WPA Volunteering Project - Whom, Where, How and When.jpg

23rd WPA World Congress of Psychiatry Symposium on the topic “WPA Volunteering Project - Whom, Where, How and When?” took place on October 1, 2023 in Vienna, Austria. Dr Roger Ng, Dr Sophie Thomson, Dr Jacques van Hoof, Dr Bernardo Ng, and Dr Egor Chumakov provided full information on the implemented projects as well as on the future plans of the Working Group.

Resources & Publications

  1. Jacques van Hoof, Sy Rato, Cor Sennef. Mental health care in Cambodia: history, status and a personal report. MT BULLETIN OF NVTG 2020, Vol. 58, Iss. 4, 12-14.

  2. Royal College of Psychiatrists 2020 International Strategy

  3. Thomson S, Chumakov E, Van Hoof J, Ng B, Ng RMK. WPA Volunteering Programme: a pilot project in Mexico. World Psychiatry. 2022;21(1):161-162. doi:10.1002/wps.20952

  4. Imran N, Hamdan QU, Thomson S, Hermans M, Javed A, Ng R. Training beyond borders: A WPA pilot project for Child and Adolescent Mental Health course in Pakistan. MedEdPublish 2022, 12:71

  5. Chumakov E, Thomson S, Allan J, Hermans MHM, van Hoof J, Hughes P, Ng B, Savage M, Ng RMK. WPA Volunteering Programme: lessons learnt so far. World Psychiatry. 2024;23(1):171-172. DOI: 10.1002/wps.21181

News from our Working Groups

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