What are you in this industry/occupation?
I wanted to spend my time and effort making the world a better place. It is wonderful that I could make a career out of it. International development is challenging, humbling and motivating. It involves understanding the complexity of inequality in the world and trying to find the best ways to overcome this inequality and help people have access to their human rights.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of international development work or any community work is that you can directly impact people’s lives in a positive way… and you still get to call it work. It is very rewarding to feel like you have helped changed somebody’s life for the better.
International development work can also involve lots of travel to remote and interesting places of the world. You get to experience and see the world in a way that tourists and other travellers do not. You get to meet people of different cultures and backgrounds and learn about their challenges.
International development work makes you very grateful for what you have. Being a position to choose whether or not you want to do international development work is a privilege in itself. Working with people who have experienced extreme hardship helps ensure you do not take things for granted in life.
What are the drawbacks?
Depending on the direction of international development or community development you choose, the salary can be low. The sector is commonly acknowledged to have lower salaries than most other private sector occupations.
The travel to remote and underdeveloped places can sometimes entail risks – such security risks and health risks. International development workers are often exposed to sicknesses and threats to their personal security that aren’t common in the developed world.
International development workers are often exposed to human tragedy. This can take it’s toll on someone if they don’t have a strong support network or good mentor to debrief with. While most development workers start out as very optimistic people, it is easy to become cynical.
Why do you encourage other women and girls to consider this industry/occupation?
I couldn’t think of doing anything else.
People often ask me how I deal with child beggars, homeless people, victims of human trafficking and other forms exploitation of on a daily basis – my answer is always “how do you not?”. These vulnerable people exist whether you think about them or not. I pride myself on thinking about them and dealing daily with the inequality that exists in the world.
There is nothing better than feeling like you work every day to try to make the world a better place. What could possibly be a better use of your time?