Our work How we work Training and Education If any country is to become self-sufficient in delivering quality eye care services, it must have skilled human resources to do the job. To ensure quality and affordable eye care services exist beyond the support of Vision Aid Overseas, it is critical that we build the capacity of eye health professionals in the countries in which we operate. We do this through training local eye health professionals such as Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians, Ophthalmic Clinical Officers, Ophthalmic Nurses and Optometry Technicians. Using the skills of professionally qualified optical volunteers from the UK, Vision Aid Overseas provides education and training tailored to the needs and requirements of each partner country. Training Optometry Students In partnership with Universities and other training institutions, Vision Aid Overseas provides practical training to final year optometry students which focuses on developing the practical skills and competencies that are essential in their profession. The students work alongside professional volunteers (qualified/ practicing eye care professionals) to improve their practical clinical skills and knowledge. The skills learnt are then applied under supervision on outreach clinics which provide the vital hands-on experience needed to work with patients once they are employed in government health services. Mulugeta, Optometrist-Ethiopia told us; The Vision Aid Overseas volunteers taught me so much, including how to do different tests, the different steps involved in the refraction process and how best to manage my time. With increased education and awareness amongst the next generation of eye care workers, the trained graduates will be able to actively support the implementation of affordable eye care services across their communities. Scholarships for Optometry Technicians To support the strengthening and development of human resources in our programmes countries, Vision Aid Overseas also provides scholarships to Optometry Technicians in Sierra Leone to train in the Gambia as there are no training facilities in Sierra Leone. The Optometry students enrol onto a one-year diploma course in Gambia, which is then followed by a year-long internship back in Sierra Leone where there work under supervision. The 15 Optometry Technicians that have graduated are now working in the Vision Aid Overseas’ supported Vision Centres in the Eastern and Northern Provinces. Continued Professional Development Training We also provide Continued Professional Development training to local qualified eye care workers (Optical Technicians, Ophthalmic Nurses, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians) in our programme countries. Through a mixture of practical skill sharing sessions and classroom training in refraction, Vision Centre Management and dispensing, the eye care workers work alongside Professional Volunteers to build on their existing skills to improve the quality of the eye care services they are delivering.