There’s nothing like a lecture tour to bring home just how many bright young people are desperate to work in development, and how hard we make it for them (is this a deliberate form of institutional Darwinism, in which only the most determined survive?) So I’ve gone back over a few previous bits of advice from me and others, to produce this revamped FP2P guide to throwing your life away getting a job in development.
I won’t give advice on what to study – if you’re reading this, it’s probably too late anyway. But in any case, qualifications are not enough – you need to get involved in organising relevant activities at your university, depending on your interests (e.g. Engineers Without Borders, Amnesty International, assorted International Development committees). You’ll learn a lot, make great contacts and friends, and develop skills that NGOs prize (organisational abilities, putting on events, writing, debating etc).
Then, decide what kind of work you are interested in. Research? Programme work on the ground? Emergencies (conflict refugees, disaster reconstruction etc)? Advocacy and lobbying? Public campaigning?