Q. Why did you start this blog?
A. I first worked as a volunteer peer educator for UNAIDS in Zambia in 2005. Upon my return in Uganda, with the Uganda Red Cross, many folks asked for my advice on how to get a foot in the humanitarian door a lot . I’ve also been in the position of being frustrated at not being able to get information on how to break out of the experience save the fact that I was always asked for experience when I was 13!
This site is my personal opinion as someone who has worked in the field both as a practitioner and (sometimes) on the recruiting side.
I should make clear that this blog is not the view of my current or future employers. It’s not necessarily what I think is best for the humanitarian community, and it’s not how I think the world should work. It’s simply my honest opinion on the best way to get your first job in this line of work.
Q. Can you help me get a job in relief and development work?
A. Not directly. I can tell you what I know about getting your first job, which is the purpose of this site.
Q. What do you know about humanitarian work anyway?
A. You will be pleased. I could talk about this non stop for 30 years! 😉
Q. I have read that you work as a consultant too?
A It’s all true. My first international consultancy assignment was with UNAIDS-Geneva for the CrowdOutAids Campaign in 2012. I’m listed by UNFPA as one of their consultants. My key areas are stated in the ‘home’ page of this blog. I don’t like the word ‘consultant’ because I think it is over rated and undermines my clients:-I prefer ‘Assignment Advisor’.
Q. What do I do if I want to hire you?
A Whoa..I don’t think I can be hired by anyone:-I can however be ‘Assignment Contracted’. I believe that hiring is less human yet my approach is human centred. Contact me.
Q. Would you encourage me to travel and work in emergencies?
A. I have always been a person who prefers to be challenged, to be scared! For example when I told my family I was going to work on Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, it was shocking but I was excited. When I told my former work colleagues in Ethiopia that I was going to South Sudan, they joked ‘Rest In Peace” 🙂 I’m certainly not recommending that anyone to be like me – that’s a decision that they would have to make for themselves. There are risks both for the individual and problems that unprepared volunteers cause. Having said that, the reality is that a lot of people who end up working in this field get their first job this way, and I think the fairest thing to do is to present the information as best I can. I feel it’s not fair to say that people shouldn’t do what I and many others are doing. People need to make their own decisions with the best information available. 🙂
Q. I dont agree with you.
A. Please do drop me an email, or comment on the blog. I’m very interested in feedback. Even if I don’t agree with you, we shall agree that you are right and am also right! 😀