Not all development practitioners landed their current post fresh from the academe or from a full time engagement in another aid organization. A number of them, in fact, did not come from a development background at all.
“I think there is a misconception that you need to be in development necessarily to do all assignments in development. That’s not always the case,” said Hamid Sharif, the Asian Development Bank’s chief officer for hiring consultants.
There are now multiple ways to wedge oneself into the development field.
Take, for instance, the internship opportunities the Canadian International Development Agency recently launched for young Canadians to gain work exposure right within the development hotspots.
CIDA contributed a total of $592,000 to a local college to send some 42 interns to Kenya, Tanzania, Ecuador and Peru. They will handle duties on tourism, marketing, business, health, education and community development overseas for six months.
A host of multilateral development banks and international non-governmental organizations admit interns in their operations. Unlike them, however, CIDA’s International Youth Internship Program does not require post-graduate enrollment or prior aid work experience.
Sufficient that the applicants are aged 19 to 30, citizens or residents of Canada, and graduates of a university program.
Part of CIDA’s agenda is to identify sustainable economic growth. The country devotes 80 percent of its bilateral assistance to 20 countries, including Peru and Tanzania.