OT Frontiers is a UK-based network of increasingly international OTs who have either worked in low income countries or have an interest in such work. Our primary activity is to support individual OTs and groups of OTs who are contributing towards the development of the profession in low and medium income countries. We hope to support in particular therapists or students who are thinking of practising in low or middle income countries for the first time and have questions regarding how to go about this, thereby promoting ethical and sustainable practices.
OT Frontiers is not a sending agency and does not arrange for OTs from the UK to go and work in low or medium income countries, but we are readily available with advice, support and a platform to share your ideas and plans. As we aim to provide information and support for OTs planning to work in low and medium income countries, we also aim to do the same for OTs already working in these countries - both those who are locally trained and those who are there as development workers. Find more information here and here.
We support each other by attending regular meetings, via our website, social media, informal contacts, and participating in Working Groups together. We wish to share information about what it is like to live and practice in low to medium income countries. Our website is not only our digital forum but is currently being developed as a virtual library packed with web links to useful organisations and projects, summaries of relevant literature and reflections of OTs who have worked in low or middle income countries. We also try and update our News section with relevant information as it comes in.
Under the ‘Our Work’ section of our website there is information about projects which might be of interest, some of which come from OT Frontiers members' personal experience. Our other main regular activities are the OT Frontiers meetings held four times a year. These rich, varied conferences are an excellent platform to meet and exchange ideas. All are welcome; we are grateful for the fresh ideas newcomers bring. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have welcomed online participants and include regular breakout room slots to allow people to chat informally, meet new people and share ideas.
We have a programme of ‘Distant Partnership’ relationships, along the lines of professional pen-friendships, with OTs in low income countries. Distance partnerships take longer-term commitment; they provide opportunities for anyone, but particularly those who cannot travel substantially, to make a contribution. Those who have participated have found distance partnerships rewarding personally and professionally.
OT Frontiers History
OT Frontiers was initially formed by a small group of OTs who, in 2005, went out to Uganda to contribute to a training week for qualified OTs in this country. The returning therapists all agreed that the knowledge and experiences they had gained was something they did not want to lose in their daily work back in the UK. They also wanted to maintain and develop the links they had formed with the OTs in Uganda. As a result OT Frontiers was ‘born’ and the network has grown ever since.