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   Five Tips for Starting A Humanitarian Career

Pursuing a career in the humanitarian sector can be a challenging task if you don’t know how to approach it. Fundraising activities or local volunteering can be options but undertaking the matter as a full-time occupation takes more effort.

If you are passionate about contributing to the recognition of human rights, community development projects, and poverty-related issues here some tips you can get inspired by.

Tip 1: Check your motivation

There are many professionals and NGOs who are experts in the specific areas they operate in. Therefore, it is important to be clearly aware of your motivation and reasons to get involved. This way you can be sure exactly what value you will add to the cause and how you can best do it.

Remember that “just wanting to help” or “make the world a better place” is not really realistic or enough. Humanitarians need strong reasoning and understating of the situation they are trying to be involved in.

Passion and will are just the first steps.

 

Tip 2: Personality and grit

Openness, tolerance, understanding, cultural sensitivity, patience, acceptance – essential skills in the belt of every humanitarian.

You need to be well-aware of your personality and be prepared to come face to face with not-so-pleasant situations quite often. Your endurance and persistence will be tested often.

The realities of abject poverty, corruption, and various forms of injustice can be shocking at first and being mentally prepared and ready to utilize the above-mentioned qualities will do you a great favor. Don’t forget those are things you don’t have to be born with – you can learn and improve in those fields with enough practice and dedication.

 

Tip 3: Relevant Skills

Practical skills are key to humanitarian work. Covered by a degree or not competencies in the fields of food security, health care, construction, teaching, management, communication, leadership, agriculture, social work, and many others can be of enormous help.

You must be aware that the reality might be different from what your education (or your expectations) prepared you for. However, if you keep your cool and focus you can achieve a lot.

It is important to be prepared – different climate conditions, environment, culture, and accepted behavior can get in your way so investigate in advance and get in the right mindset.

 

Tip 4: Field experience

Humanitarian positions in major international organizations such as the UN, Oxfam, or the Red Cross often have a tough selection process. Without prior experience, it will be a huge challenge to get noticed regardless of any university degree.

Having field experience by engaging in internships or volunteering in advance will boost your chances to land a job greatly. Preferably, strive for long-term projects which allow you to get a real idea of the situation and nature of work. Not to mention this type of work cannot be grasped in a few days or weeks – cultural differences, shocking environment, a different type of work – it takes time to get used to all of that.

 

Tip 5: Languages and mindset

Language knowledge (basic or intermediate) will be of great help in your humanitarian career. The field of work often requires relocation and operating in different parts of the world so the more languages you know the easier your communication will be.

It’s good to remember to also keep the right mindset and be mentally prepared for what you might encounter. Open-mindedness towards problems, their solutions, teamwork, and communication with people can also benefit your adjustment to the field of work.

 

Kick-starting your humanitarian career

If you are interested in finding out whether a career within international development is for you, you could consider joining the Take 10 Volunteer experience, which is a 10-month study / project work / reflection programme.

 

What skills can I develop as a Take 10 Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management
Do I need a college degree or field experience to join the programme?

No.

Neither a specific experience nor a degree is needed.

Our programmes are designed to equip you with the relevant knowledge and skills you will need for the project period abroad – the rest you will learn along the way.

Humanitarian Career
What kind of certifications do I get?

Can I get an internship?

It is possible. It all depends on your skills and how well they fit the needs of the organization. Also, it depends on the current need the organization has – if your skills match with their requirements and needs you can land an internship.

Can I get a valid reference?

Yes, you can get a valid reference.

Read more…

Is a gap year the right choice?

Is a gap year the right choice?

Taking a gap year before diving into higher education has many benefits for your future personal and professional development. Here are some of them.

Skills, Experience, Qualifications

Skills, Experience, Qualifications

Looking for a way to practice what you have learned and take your first steps in the humanitarian sector?
There are many ways to get hands-on experience and acquire the qualifications you need for a good start. Check our resources to get some inspiration and useful information.

Is it worth taking a year out?

Is it worth taking a year out?

What can you do to make a gap year absolutely worth it? There are lots of options and you can get a lot out of it as long as you have a good structure.

10 months structured volunteer experience

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out

Humanitarian Career

Pursuing a career in the humanitarian sector can be a challenging task if you don’t know how to approach it. Fundraising activities or local volunteering can be options but undertaking the matter as a full-time occupation takes more effort.

If you are passionate about contributing to the recognition of human rights, community development projects, and poverty-related issues here some tips you can get inspired by.

Cooperation and development

Tip 1:
Check your motivation

There are many professionals and NGOs who are experts in the specific areas they operate in. Therefore, it is important to be clearly aware of your motivation and reasons to get involved. This way you can be sure exactly what value you will add to the cause and how you can best do it.

Remember that “just wanting to help” or “make the world a better place” is not really realistic or enough. Humanitarians need strong reasoning and understating of the situation they are trying to be involved in.

Passion and will are just the first steps.

 

Tip 2:
Personality and grit

Openness, tolerance, understanding, cultural sensitivity, patience, acceptance – essential skills in the belt of every humanitarian.

You need to be well-aware of your personality and be prepared to come face to face with not-so-pleasant situations quite often. Your endurance and persistence will be tested often.

The realities of abject poverty, corruption, and various forms of injustice can be shocking at first and being mentally prepared and ready to utilize the above-mentioned qualities will do you a great favor. Don’t forget those are things you don’t have to be born with – you can learn and improve in those fields with enough practice and dedication.

Can I get a valid reference?

Yes, you can get a valid reference.

Tip 3: Relevant Skills

Practical skills are key to humanitarian work. Covered by a degree or not competencies in the fields of food security, health care, construction, teaching, management, communication, leadership, agriculture, social work, and many others can be of enormous help.

You must be aware that the reality might be different from what your education (or your expectations) prepared you for. However, if you keep your cool and focus you can achieve a lot.

It is important to be prepared – different climate conditions, environment, culture, and accepted behavior can get in your way so investigate in advance and get in the right mindset.

 

What skills can I develop as an International Development Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership 
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management

Tip 4: Field experience

Humanitarian positions in major international organizations such as the UN, Oxfam, or the Red Cross often have a tough selection process. Without prior experience, it will be a huge challenge to get noticed regardless of any university degree.

Having field experience by engaging in internships or volunteering in advance will boost your chances to land a job greatly. Preferably, strive for long-term projects which allow you to get a real idea of the situation and nature of work. Not to mention this type of work cannot be grasped in a few days or weeks – cultural differences, shocking environment, a different type of work – it takes time to get used to all of that.

 

Field Work
What kind of certifications do I get?

Tip 5: Languages and mindset

Language knowledge (basic or intermediate) will be of great help in your humanitarian career. The field of work often requires relocation and operating in different parts of the world so the more languages you know the easier your communication will be.

It’s good to remember to also keep the right mindset and be mentally prepared for what you might encounter. Open-mindedness towards problems, their solutions, teamwork, and communication with people can also benefit your adjustment to the field of work.

 

 

Can I get an internship?

It is possible. It all depends on your skills and how well they fit the needs of the organization. Also, it depends on the current need the organization has – if your skills match with their requirements and needs you can land an internship.

Kick-starting your humanitarian career

If you are interested in finding out whether a career within international development is for you, you could consider joining the Take 10 Volunteer experience, which is a 10-month study / project work / reflection programme.

 

What does it take to become a Take 10 Volunteer?

In order to enrol in the 10 month International Development Volunteer programme, you need to meet the following requirements:

    • You are 18 years old or older.
    • You are ready to leave your home for 10 months to volunteer in a community environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • You have decided not to drink alcohol or take drugs for the entirety of the program.
    • You are eager to experience a multidisciplinary and collective training programme, which includes theoretical and practical activities.
    • You are ready to immerse yourself in a multicultural and diverse community.
    • You are ready to volunteer where you are most needed.
    • You look forward to engaging with the Humana People to People projects in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and respect.
    • You are committed to learn about people, cultures, values and traditions, and to share your knowledge and stories with the public after your travels.
A structured gap year as a volunteer can start of your humanitarian career.

Develop your humanitarian skills

As a Take 10 Volunteer you spend six busy months at a well-established project in either Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia or India, run by a local Humana People to People NGO.

Read more articles

Is a gap year the right choice?

Taking a gap year before diving into higher education has many benefits for your future personal and professional development. Here are some of them.

Skills, Experience, Qualifications

Looking for a way to practice what you have learned and take your first steps in the humanitarian sector?
There are many ways to get hands-on experience and acquire the qualifications you need for a good start. Check our resources to get some inspiration and useful information.

Is it worth taking a year out?

What can you do to make a gap year absolutely worth it? There are lots of options and you can get a lot out of it as long as you have a good structure.

Education’s Importance

It is important to recognize inclusive education and put effort into improving the situation. See what Humana People to People India is doing.

Living and working together as a team

Long-term volunteering greatly relies on community and teamwork. This boosts the individual’s communication and management skills in a beneficial way.