Tips on aid worker attire, career transitions, and avoiding all-male panels: Devex's top 2017 lifestyle stories

Photo by: Viktor Hanacek

Devex Professional Membership gives readers access to the latest development buzz, innovations, and insights to help them do more good for more people. This year, Professional Members were able to participate in exclusive online events, gain practical advice from fellow development professionals, and find quick tips and in-depth guides on key issues. Here is a round-up of some of our most popular articles and events in 2017.

1. Meet the 'champions' getting tough on sexual assault against aid workers

Sexual assault and harassment is a major problem across the international development industry. According to the Report the Abuse survey, 86 percent of aid workers know a colleague who has experienced sexual violence associated with their work. Among the #MeToo movement, Devex has been investigating sexual violence in the aid industry. One of our top stories for Professional Members this year focused on a new U.N. taskforce dedicated to overhauling the way that U.N. agencies and international NGOs deal with sexual harassment and abuse of staff. Read more about the two women spearheading the initiative.

2. How to make sure you never host an all-male panel again

From seats in government to the Hollywood pay gap, gender (in)equality has been at the forefront of discussions across a number of sectors throughout 2017. In October of this year, EU Panel Watch released its third annual monitoring report on the diversity in demographics of EU panels, showing only 15 percent having an equal balance of male and female speakers. EU Panel Watch co-founder Marika Andersen talked to Devex about what organizations stand to gain from building gender diversity into their debates — and why making it happen doesn't have to mean a lot more work.

2. Webinar: How to succeed as an independent consultant in global development  

Flexible work schedules, autonomy, and freedom of choice make independent consultancy a particularly appealing career path for many in the international development sector. However, taking the first step to become an independent consultant can be daunting. So, in order to help those who are looking to take that step, Devex welcomed four experienced consultants to a webinar to discuss their tips and advice on how to succeed as an independent consultant. They discuss a range of topics such as the pros and cons of consulting, a typical day in the life of a consultant, how to get started, and things they wish they had known when they were first starting out. This online event is a must see if you are looking to make that change in your global development career.

3. Attention chiefs of party: Here's how to have a successful project launch

The chief of party plays a critical leadership role throughout any United States Agency for International Development-funded project, but no more so than during the launch stage. Devex spoke to former and current chiefs of party to find out what contributes to a successful project launch and what they would do differently next time around. Here is a round-up of their top advice.

4. How mentoring can help women get to the top in development

Mentoring schemes are gaining popularity across the board and particularly in the private sector. However, schemes within the development sector are somewhat lacking, despite great need. Men currently dominate the majority of senior management positions in the development sector and therefore mentoring schemes could be key in helping women get to the top. Working in international development can provide particular challenges for women, and mentors can advise on their experience within the professional world. This article provides top seven tips to finding and maintaining a mentor relationship in order to help women get to the top in development.

5. 3 tips for NGOs considering a foray into drone use

Overuse or misuse of drones in the past few years has left many aid groups wondering how to move forward. To find out what organizations should think about before sending a UAV into the sky, Devex caught up with the IFRC regional innovation and futures coordinator Aarathi Krishnan; humanitarian drone expert Patrick Meier; and drone services company SkyEye founder Matthew Cua

6. Top skills to succeed in global development advocacy

Advocacy is critical to organizations in securing funding, shaping programs, and creating sustainable change. Whether you work in a dedicated advocacy role or wear an advocacy hat from time to time, here are the tops skills you should hone.

7. From aid worker to social entrepreneur: 6 tips to make the leap

A corporate lawyer turned U.N. aid worker turned social entrepreneur shares her advice on how to move from aid worker to innovator. From choosing a location to developing a plan, here are top tips from those who’ve made the leap for others considering doing the same.

8. How aid workers should dress: Do's and dont's

What is proper attire in a tropical country where the temperature often creeps above 32 degrees Celsius? When is donning a country’s traditional dress considered acceptable, and when is it considered impolite? Three international aid workers share their experiences with Devex, offering insights on how aid workers can better navigate this often trivialized but contentious issue.

9. How to make the move from consultant to staffer

Consulting can be an appealing global development career path given it’s flexible nature and for many professionals, it is a way for them to break into some of the large international organizations when staff positions are hard to come by. But having been a consultant, some global development professionals look to make the move to full-time staff for more stability and career advancement. This article offers tips from development staff who have made the move from consultant to staffer on how best to do it.

About the author

  • Lottie Watters

    Lottie Watters formerly covered career and hiring trends, tips, and insights. Lottie has a background in geography and journalism, taking a particular interest in grassroots international development projects. She has worked with organizations delivering clean water and sanitation projects globally.