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IS professionals play a crucial role on board our hospital ships

Behind-the-scenes, technical crew enable our state-of-the-art hospital ships to operate in challenging technical environments in developing nations’ ports. Tech volunteers play a hidden, yet vital role, in the provision of free essential surgery – helping Mercy Ships run a more efficient and advanced surgical service for people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our ships are surgical specialty units, but are also floating small towns, requiring all the services and utilities a hospital, or a town needs, including internet and computer services. Our Information Services department is crewed by professional IS staff, meeting the needs of the hospital, the ship, and the staff who live here.

There is a spread of professional, challenging and technical opportunities for volunteers to spend two months or more on board our hospital ships Global Mercy and Africa Mercy, assisting with a broad range of IT work. Volunteers find using their skills and experience to help provide life-transforming surgery, is personally fulfilling.  Whatever your professional experience and availability, there’s a place for you on board. 

It’s the toughest tech you’ll ever love!

Tired of ordinary tech? For the adventure of your life, volunteer your tech skills on board our hospital ships in Africa.

Vounteer Jennifer Epp

We provide a tier 1 and 2 IS service desk on board, supporting users, end devices, systems and network, and work closely with the head office IS team, based in the US, on supporting business applications, and tier 3 support.

We also manage and maintain the Audio Visual systems on board and provide Audio Visual services to facilitate organisational events through management of a team of volunteers from other departments.

We have adopted the Microsoft M365 suite, and we work with market leading hardware vendors (Dell, Lenovo, HP, VMWare, Cisco, Aruba, to name a few).

We are a diverse, multi-cultural team, and have a wide range of services we support. So whether we are troubleshooting the medical imaging application in the hospital, deploying mobile devices to medical screening staff, updating the Ship Navigation Software, or the supporting students from the on board school with their systems, every day offers something different.

Good communication across the organisation helps Mercy Ships achieve its goals and be more efficient and effective in what we set out to achieve – our internet connection is what we rely on daily. Our Information Services team set the ship up with the best possible land-based connection in each of our host countries, and also maintain the regular satellite connection to keep the ship online wherever she may be. So whether it’s video conference calls, emails, sending radiology images to surgeons around the world, or simply calling family and friends at home, our Information Services team keep us connected to the globe.

Information Services role details

Our Information Services team plays an essential support role for the smooth operation of our hospital ships.  

Minimum volunteer period: 3 months

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a related field of study, professional experience, 2 years of relevant work experience. 

Information services opportunities on board

Icon IS Manager
AV Technician

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 3 mths

Icon IS Manager
Endpoint Administrator

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 1 yr

Icon IS Manager
Endpoint Analyst

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 3 mths

Hospital Informatics Manager

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 yrs

Icon IS Manager
IS Manager

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 yrs

Icon IS Manager
Service Deck Administrator

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 1 yr

Icon IS Manager
Service Deck Analyst

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 3 mths


No, all equipment is provided by the ship.

  • All volunteers must be over 18 to join, must be in good health with a BMI <35, and be aware of both the physical demands of living on board and in Africa, as well as any physical demands of the role for which they want to join. For example, our volunteers may be required to sleep in a bunk-bed, sharing a cabin with other volunteers of the same gender.
  • The ship has multiple decks, and crew members could climb about 30 flights of stairs per day.
  • A married person can serve up to three months without their spouse. 

All of our volunteers work with the local people to some degree. Some, for example, those who serve in the hospital, will likely have more direct contact, but there are opportunities throughout the week made available for crew to participate in during their time off from work. Our crew also work alongside 200 or so local Day Crew who work on board during the field service. Our Day Crew are vital to our mission, and are an integral part of our community onboard.

Responsibilities shared across IT roles include (but are not limited to)

  • collaborate in the design, implementation, support, and monitoring of Client Infrastructure computing solutions, to support and manage Endpoint computing devices such as Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices that are used by the crew.
  • specifications to install, configure and monitor desktops, mobile devices, and other network attached devices commonly used by the ship crew.
  • operation and maintenance of audio and visual (AV) equipment in the venues and video conferencing across the ship. You will recruit, train and schedule volunteer AV operators for the main meetings and events from the crew.
  • leads the use of the hospital information systems through the Mercy Ships’ mission, vision and values. This position is responsible for participating in the planning, development, training, implementation, evaluation and maintenance of the hospital information systems.


Mercy Ships is an international humanitarian organisation based on Christian values. Our mission is to improve access to health care in low-income nations. 

By deploying the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy, Mercy Ships works with host countries to help them improve their health care systems.

Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 60 nations donate their time and resources to support the Mercy Ships vision.

Mercy Ships’ surgical specialties include maxillofacialplastic reconstructiveorthopaedic, ophthalmic, general, and gynecological (obstetric fistula) surgery.

Simultaneously, we provide training and mentoring to upskill local health professionals, strengthening the host nation’s health care capacity. 

I love talking to people about finding their fit on board, and I’m here to answer your questions about volunteering.

Chief Medical Officer

“Five billion people in the world live without access to safe, timely, affordable surgery. Our family is proud to be part of an organisation working to change the global surgery crisis by transforming lives and extending dignity to thousands of people in great need.”


Computer systems are vital for every department on board. It’s not just a single department that deals with computers and devices, it’s at the core of all services on board.

The information technology systems run the surgical hospital, and meet the information technology and computer communication needs for hundreds of crew members’ work and personal lives on board.

In additional to the usual computer technology, the Global Mercy will use training suites and simulator rooms with mannequins, and virtual and augmented reality, to help mentor and upskill partner health care workers while in field service in sub-Saharan Africa.