International development is “going local,” the buzz goes. And as donors ramp up local partnerships, aid groups — and their staff — are adjusting the way they do business, the way they plan their careers.
The changes are profound, and don’t always come easy.
Many governments in the developing world need help handling the influx of budget support. Civil society groups and companies in those countries struggle to add capacity and win the trust of foreign aid donors that is needed to create sustainable partnerships. Those donors are torn between a desire to empower people around the world and the fear of losing oversight or killing jobs at home. International nongovernmental organizations and consulting firms are repositioning themselves as the experts in convening nontraditional stakeholders, building capacity and taking advocacy campaigns and aid projects to scale.
And for technical experts and managers, consultants interested in temporary assignments and aid workers seeking full-time employment, the job market is changing.
To examine these trends and equip practitioners with the tools they need to succeed in today’s fast-changing global marketplace, Devex is hosting its first-ever career fair and partnerships forum in the developing world.
The two-day event will take place Oct. 16-17 in Nairobi, Kenya. The partnerships forum on day one and career fair on day two are organized by Devex with support from premier sponsor RTI International and reception sponsor Catholic Relief Services, as well as partnership engagement sponsors British Council, Deloitte and Management Sciences for Health.
The event location was chosen based on survey feedback from Devex members.
“Nairobi seemed like a natural fit given that it’s such a hub for development work throughout East Africa and draws people from all over,” said Kate Warren, director of global recruitment services at Devex.
The Partnerships Forum will feature representatives from international donor and implementer organizations as well as high-quality partners from throughout East Africa. Participants will exchange ideas and hear about the latest industry trends in a series of expert panels and workshops around issues such as conflict mitigation, global health and education. They’ll be able to showcase their work and forge new partnerships throughout the day leading up to a networking reception.
“We want to showcase what donors are doing to ‘go local,’ how that’s playing out in the field, and how this process may be improved,” Warren said.
Dozens of organizations will prepare exhibition booths in order to connect with local partners and share information about their organizations. These exhibitors include ACDI/VOCA, B&S Europe, Cardno Emerging Markets East Africa, Coffey International, Crown Agents Kenya, DAI, FTHM Madagascar, GFA, Grant Thornton, IFC, InterMedia, International Medical Corps, IT Shows, KPMG, One Acre Fund, Pact, SNV Netherlands, Tetra Tech, Transtec, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNV, URC and VSO.
Nearly 30 international organizations have so far confirmed their participation in the Career Fair. Devex is pre-screening job seekers who are interested in attending. Through a series of innovative conference features, Devex will encourage participants to network as much with the exhibiting recruiters as with their peers. Keynote addresses and panel discussions are specifically geared toward human resources professionals and job seekers.
For Devex, the event’s goal is to foster debate, encourage partnership and match employers with the talent they need.
“One of the challenges is that Devex has members that work in just about every sector in every location,” said Jamie Nishi, director of member services. “We are working to make sure the event is relevant for all who attend.”
Read more about the trend of aid “going local” as well as the Devex Partnerships Forum & Career Fair in Nairobi.