This site is about getting your first job as a humanitarian aid worker. Whether you want to run refugee camps, micro credit programs or health programs, this is my personal opinion (not my employer’s) about ways to make the transition to international relief and development work.
If you find this site at least as useful as a coffee and a bagel, and wonder how you can possibly thank me, please consider buying my e-book on Amazon! Getting your first job in relief and development.
My take on getting a job as a humanitarian aid worker is organized by chapters (on the right-hand side under the heading Book chapters) – and is supposed to be read top-to-bottom more or less like a book. Book reviews and other pieces are posted below. Find out more about this blog here.
Please read the disclaimer, and understand that this line of work is not risk free. You need to do your own research, make your own decisions, and take responsibility for them.
If this site is as useful to you as a book you might have paid for please consider buying my new Kindle eBook, which contains much of the content from this site, thoughtfully formatted for off-line reading on a Kindle, iPad, laptop, or other e-reader. It’s $6, and honestly, what can you get for that these days? Get it here
One more thing – I would love anyone who likes this site to go to Amazon and review the e-book – it really helps me to recover some of the costs of hosting this site – thanks!
So this might be of interest to anyone still on the fence about the benefits of the Peace Corps (spoiler alert – I’m in favor of it). President Obama announced a new initiative to encourage employers to hire alumni of the programs – “Citizens who perform national service are special. You want them on your team.” he said. Awww.
Read about it here.
I wanted to introduce you to a resource that I like about a topic that frustrates a lot of people – getting a job with the UN. Elisa dos Santos is a business economics major and presidential scholar at Hofstra University Honors College as well as an intern at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Washington. Her article “Wanted: A Job Anywhere in the World With the UN” is posted on PassBlue.com here.
The site has a few good articles on employment at the UN, a task that has been compared to “trying to find a secret passageway from a brick wall”…
The Guardian posted an interview with Alp Ozerdem, who is Professor of Peacebuilding and Co-Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University in the UK. The interview is here. Professor Ozerdem taught at York when I was there, and this is a good example of the range of professions that are involved in the world of relief and development without necessarily being aid workers.
One of the huge issues for INGOs that take government money face is the bewildering array of rules and regulations that are in place. As Inside NGO puts it – “The plethora of rules and regulations associated with the management of government grants and cooperative agreements by US NGOs is a source of regular and continuing frustration to those on the receiving end. Sorting out what is required, by whom, and when, is made even more complicated by the fact that the rules seem to be constantly changing and/or subject to differing interpretation. The situation usually means that authoritative answers are hard to find.“
I want to draw your attention to Inside NGO, which, amongst other things, maintains a good list of trainings related to, amongst other things, donor regulations. One current example of this is the USAID/Federal Rules & Regulations: Grants & Cooperative Agreements, which addresses such questions as “What is an allowable cost? What procedures do I need to follow when purchasing equipment with USAID money? How much can I revise my budget without having to go to USAID for approval? How long should I retain records? What are the most common audit findings and how can I avoid being written up by my auditors?“
If you’re new to this world, or even if you’ve been around the block, refreshing your memory on these issues can be worthwhile.
The Guardian Development Professionals Network is hosting a live Q&A on international development career advice for students. It’s a topic that I get a lot of questions about, and I would encourage anyone interested to follow the chat and post questions on 21 August, 1-3pm BST (that’s British Summer Time).
The link is here, and I will be part of the panel.