International aid/development work
International development staff work with communities, usually in the developing world, on issues such as agriculture, education, sanitation and health. The goal is to create economic conditions and sustainable livelihoods for the people in the area.
Graduates are employed to work both in specialist (eg civil engineer) and non-specialist roles. Workers may also be involved in humanitarian/disaster relief projects in times of famine, drought and natural disasters. However, these people usually have specialist skills in areas like logistics, engineering and disease control. There is a big difference between paid and unpaid roles: graduates working overseas are often in unpaid roles where only costs are covered. Normally only experienced staff are in salaried employment.
Taking a ‘gap year’ and putting it to some social use is increasingly popular, but don’t underestimate how tough it can be. Conditions are usually basic and the situations are challenging – you wouldn’t be needed if they weren’t!
Websites with information about international aid and development work
- Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations
- Irish Aid. The Government of Ireland’s programme of assistance to developing countries (part of the Department of Foreign Affairs).
- Becoming involved in international development. A UK portal for global information on international development.
- DevelopmentEducation.ie. Development and human rights education resource maintained by a consortium of organisations based in Ireland.
- Kimmage Development Studies Centre. Education and training for development professionals.
- United Nations Development Policy and Analysis Division.
- Volunteering Options. Advice and support on volunteering overseas in developing countries.