The everyday life of an aid worker is equal parts frustrating and fascinating, enigmatic and entertaining — and that’s on top of a year that has seen a firestorm of political, mosquito-borne and catastrophic turmoil, to name only a few of the ongoing challenges that emerged in 2016.
This year, Devex sought to bring you — our audience of global development professionals — a mixture of content that would capture your unique lifestyles and suit the many varieties of moods and career stages you find yourselves in.
Achieving both your personal goals as well as the goals you’ve helped set with the communities you serve is extremely important and energizing to you, we know. But it’s a long, sometimes challenging road, and I think some of our coverage this year has helped prove that — whether it was about leadership or how to combat burnout.
As the editor of the Doing Good publication, more than anything I want to engage with our ever-growing audience. Is there a lifestyle topic we haven't touched upon that you want to talk about? Is there an initiative, a phrase or a movement we could dig into that would allow you to better do your job? Tweet me @kellierin.
But first, here are a few of my top picks of our lifestyle coverage this year.
1. What it’s like to live and work in…
This year, we tried our hand at writing — or recording — city guides geared especially toward global development professionals. Where should you grab a coffee to rub shoulders with World Bank staff in Washington, D.C., or take a lunch meeting in Rabat, Morocco?
2. The practical and the not-so-practical.
Whether you’re curious how your gluten allergy is going to fare in West Africa or wondering what movie to stream during your upcoming R&R, we sought to bring you the mix of practical and light-hearted content that would speak to both.
3. Real stories of challenge and success.
It’s helpful to share anecdotes among friends and colleagues — and even better if a Devex piece can connect you to someone whose story you may never have heard otherwise. Our “How I Did It” series allows a closer look at common barriers, and strategies to overcome them, from aid workers around the world.
4. Your opinions on tough — or humorous — matters.
Sometimes a story is best told in your words, and we’re glad to welcome such a diverse array of op-eds to our Doing Good newsletter. This year, Nate Rabe shared a series about “beating the addiction” of aid work — one that garnered nearly 40 comments — while Michael Bear Kleinman had us laughing with his account of one particularly absurd situation during his career in the field.
We also value how one opinion can lead to many others, as when FHI 360 CEO Patrick Fine’s op-ed, “Why we shouldn’t be working ourselves out of a job” led to Plan International USA President and CEO Tessie San Martin offering her opinion on giving up control to effectively empower others. Experienced development professional Thomas Dichter also responded with a piece on self-interest vs. country ownership.
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