Want to be a Development Rookie too – a few tips…

Many people have emailed me asking how to get into international development. Though I do not claim to be an expert or particularly successful in this endeavor, here are a few of my tips.

First and foremost, learn French, if you are reading this blog then I presume that you speak, at least to some level, English, which is a good start. However, for rookies and newbies in international development, who can bring little experience to the table, a language skill is a good place to start. And yes I know that colonialism ended many years ago and that there are many places that do not speak French. However, to work in international development you must be, at the very least, bilingual in two of the UN languages  (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin) and many agencies still publish most of their material in English and French. Moreover, to qualify for many of the young professional programs offered by international institutions you are required to be fluent in English or French and have a working knowledge of the other (eg. African Development Bank Young Professionals Programme). This is not to say that languages like Swahili, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Portuguese, Mandarin, etc. are not absolutely key for working in some regions, but as a basic rule go with French, as it will open more doors for you. Note that I do not speak French, but opted for Spanish and Arabic instead, much to my own regret.

I would recommend having a look at Wanderlust’ s series on “Becoming an Aid Worker” part 1-5  – http://bit.ly/FF6jo

As well as, “Better Ways to find Humanitarian Employment”  on http://bit.ly/nZsv4R


Celebrities and charties…

Did anybody else read this piece http://nyti.ms/mOHKaj in the New York Times?

The article is about Wyclef Jean, his presidential bid and his charity Yele Haiti. I think that this article highlights some of the issues associated with people (not just celebrities) starting charities to “help people” without having the necessary experience, skills and know how to undertake such a task (in Yele Haiti’s case even basic accounting practices seem to be missing).

Helping people, or as we like to call it “Development”  is not a simple or easy task. There are many reputable agencies in the international development sphere who have spent years attempting to perfect models of development that have been proven to work. These agencies are by no means perfect (see http://bit.ly/qdNhJW) and are far from having unlocked the secret to creating utopia for the worlds poorest. What these agencies do have going for them is a proven track record in navigating and operating in volatile and tricky environment and delivering essential services to some of those who need it the most. And that my dear Wyclef is an achievement…

A day in the life of a development rookie

Since accepting my job and actually arriving in the country, many many months have passed, pretty standard for a UN contract but still. Nonetheless, many things have also changed since my terms of reference was developed, and I therefore have the pleasure of essentially developing my own job role. After the team lunch and cake that is!

A grad student’s guide to the international development blogosphere (via Find What Works)

a great post about why blogs are important to understanding development.

A grad student's guide to the international development blogosphere Several friends have recently asked me which blogs I read and how I manage my reading. This post is targeted at my fellow international development grad students, but other young professionals should find it useful as well. Let's start with why to read blogs, then move on to the how, and finally the what. 1. Why should I read blogs? I do plenty of reading for class/work already… I'm a fan of reading blogs. No big surprise there. Reading blogs s … Read More

via Find What Works

I’m an international development blogger — and you can be too! (Or: Why development students and professionals should blog) (via Find What Works)

great blog that inspired me to start this very blog.

I started this blog almost exactly one year ago. It's time I stopped thinking of myself as someone who blogs, and instead admit that I am a blogger. Yes, it's an identity. Now that I've fully embraced it, I want to recruit you into this world. In a previous post, I tried to hook you on reading more aid and development blogs. If you're also thinking about starting your own blog, I definitely encourage you to do so! Here are some tips on the why, t … Read More

via Find What Works