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I want that global development job

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Devex takes a look at some of the unusual, adventurous, and awe-inspiring global development jobs we have come across last year — from artisanal chocolate in Côte d'Ivoire, to sea life conservation in South Africa to sustainable tourism in the Andes. Meet some of the global development professionals doing work that will make you say, “I want that job.”

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I want that global development job

  1. 1. Devex takes a look at some of the unusual, adventurous, and awe- inspiring global development jobs we came across last year — from artisanal chocolate in Côte d’Ivoire, to sea life conservation in South Africa, to sustainable tourism in the Andes. Meet some of the global development professionals doing work that will make you say, “I want that job.” I want that global development job
  2. 2. Sam Williams is based in Medellín, Colombia, as director of a social enterprise called Project Cordillera. The organization uses sustainable tourism to create a positive impact on the communities it works with across South America. Helping vacationers travel with impact, Project Cordillera’s mission is to “connect the life-affirming experiences of adventure with the life changing actions of local people in their own communities,” says Sam. The travel agent to impact seekers
  3. 3. The team at Project Cordillera is made up of social entrepreneurs, development professionals, and travel experts who love discovery and mountain adventure. They focus on education for development, protecting mountain ecosystems, and developing standards of service, safety and sustainability within tourism. The social enterprise supports local guides and services and donates 50 percent of profits to community initiatives.
  4. 4. “One of the things we set our sights on from the beginning was how people and communities are represented to the outside world,” says Sam. “We promote beautiful, wild, and sometimes unusual places for people to visit but, for us, people are always central to even the remotest places.” Sam now spends a lot of his time in the office in Medellín but was previously based in remote mountain areas of Peru where he enjoyed regular trips to the local climbing spot and spending weekends in indigenous villages or on high icy peaks.
  5. 5. “I think we’re all really proud of the work we do,” says Sam. “By supporting locals in their own fight for survival and improving the life chances of their children, and encouraging pride in and respect for sacred mountain areas, travelers will always go home with unique and inspiring moments, as well as the knowledge that their impact truly was a positive one.”
  6. 6. The Ivorian Willy Wonka Instant Chocolate is a company specializing in manufacturing chocolate from cocoa bean to chocolate bar and with personalized packaging. Founded by three young Ivorians, its mission is to promote the local processing of cocoa and to promote the “Made in Africa” brand.
  7. 7. Axel Emmanuel is an artisanal chocolate maker and one of the founders of Instant Chocolate. The cocoa processing market represents billions of dollars but Africa receives very little of that after exporting African-grown cocoa beans to the rest of the world. Emmanuel says that through example they hope to encourage more Africans to transform the continent’s raw materials, not only cocoa beans. The trio have already started a cooperative, and believe that in five years they could create 40,000 jobs for women in rural parts of the country by replicating their model.
  8. 8. The company hopes to establish rural chocolate shops and train women farmers to make their own chocolate and increase their own incomes. The three founders also hope to encourage the production of other products derived from cocoa such as butter powder, soap, and infusions. Emmanuel’s artistic creations are even displayed at viewings in Abidjan. “I really appreciate the artistic aspect of my craft because I sculpt the chocolate and I reproduce African objects of art in chocolate,” he says.
  9. 9. Building dreams through ice cream Alexis Gallivan is one of the social entrepreneurs behind Blue Marble Dreams which she founded with her friend in 2008. The nonprofit venture aims to create jobs and happiness through building ice-cream shops, and focuses on working with women in areas recovering from conflict or natural disaster.
  10. 10. Blue Marble Dreams has evolved from their first venture with Ingoma Nshya — a cooperative in Butare, Rwanda. Together they built the town’s first ice-cream shop which is now a fully self-sustaining enterprise and owned and operated by the cooperative. Blue Marble Dreams launched their second project in Port au Prince, Haiti, in 2016. Bel Rev – which comes from the Haitian Creole meaning “sweet dreams” – was built from repurposed shipping containers, and trains and employs local women.
  11. 11. After many years of travelling back and forward to Rwanda and Haiti, Gallivan now supports the ice-cream shops in grant writing, press inquiries, and capacity building from afar, while local staff and partners take care of the operations on the ground. Gallivan fondly remembers the looks of joy and those simple moments when people took a “little fantastic joyful break” from their hard lives and were transported through ice cream, and says that’s “what it is all about.”
  12. 12. When your work friends speak whale Barry McGovern spent some time working with the Namibian Dolphin Project and Sea Search Africa as a Ph.D. student. He was mainly based in Cape Town, where he focused on the analysis of the data he collected during his research in Namibia.
  13. 13. The Namibian Dolphin Project is a research and conservation project working in Walvis Bay and Luderitz in Namibia. Founded in 2008, the focus of the organization is research on coastal dolphins and whales in Namibian waters with the aim of producing high- quality data for use in both science and management. NDP works with local NGOs, the marine tourism industry and the Namibian government, and is managed as part of Sea Search Africa.
  14. 14. McGovern moved from Ireland to join NDP in 2015, and ran their organization’s operations in Walvis Bay where he collected data for his Ph.D. project. He says has always been fascinated by wildlife and marine mammals. “The more I’ve worked in this field the more the main perk has changed from just seeing them to actually being able to do something that can help their future. That’s why I particularly loved working in Southern Africa as many of the species aren’t so well known and the worry would be that by the time we know more about them it may be too late to stop a potential decline,” says McGovern.
  15. 15. The sustainable coffee connoisseur Sara Mason is the founder and principle consultant at SHIFT Social Impact Solutions, a consulting firm that focuses on supporting collaboration across the coffee value chain. Mason had previously worked in consulting for private sector companies, and with international development NGOs and donors. She explains that the idea for SHIFT was to help the two worlds work better together.
  16. 16. Mason now works entirely in coffee and sustainable agriculture. “After working on one project in coffee, it was clear that the coffee industry was a place where there was considerable potential to achieve development impact through the private sector,” she explains. One of her biggest achievements is still winning her first grant. Since then Mason has worked on designing, acquiring, funding, and managing substantial projects with coffee industry partners.
  17. 17. “As an entrepreneur, I do everything. I’m the visionary, admin, website designer, project manager,” says Mason. “I work remotely, which sounds nice in theory; days are long because they start when Africa gets to work in the morning and end when the East Coast U.S. leaves the office,” she explains. “People see photos of me travelling all over the world and think I have a glamorous job, but they don’t see all the work that’s gone into it.”
  18. 18. Despite the hard work and extensive travel, Mason says she absolutely loves her job because it allows her to be part of so many different things – she works with large coffee companies, small producer groups, NGOs, donors, and popular coffee culture enterprises. “It’s a great feeling to wake up knowing you’re doing something where you are the one person who has the ability to put together all of the pieces,” Mason says.
  19. 19. Devex’s very own Kelli Rogers spent 11 months reporting on global development issues from different parts of the world. Rogers, now based in Bangkok as our Asia correspondent, was an associate editor and based in Washington, D.C., before being invited to join Remote Year and the small cohort of professionals who would work remotely while travelling the world together for one year. The roving reporter Rogers had been eager to get closer to the stories and spend more time talking with aid workers and local groups on the ground. By the time she arrived back in the U.S. in June this year, Rogers had visited 20 countries and often found stories wherever she went.
  20. 20. “I move every four or five weeks, which means there is no typical week. I devote the last week in each place to reach out and plan what I’ll focus on in the next location,” said Rogers at the time. “The idea is that when I arrive, I’ve lined up one or two local reporting trips on top of the reporting and editing I can do from anywhere,” she explained, “So one week I might be having meetings for a story on entrepreneurship in Morocco. A few short weeks later, maybe I’m looking into lessons learned from Vietnam’s drought or setting up a video interview with a food rescue group in Malaysia.”
  21. 21. From a reporting perspective, highlights of the trip for Rogers included the two months she spent in Eastern Europe and her time in Southeast Asia. “This year has given me the opportunity to step back from editing and grow as a reporter,” she said. “I’ve honed my video storytelling skills. I’ve also been able to travel to remote areas that would have been far harder to access if I weren’t already living in that nation’s capital – like a reporting trip I took to rural northern Cambodia while I was living in Phnom Penh and to Harmanli refugee camp while I was living in Sofia, Bulgaria.”
  22. 22. The things which made the year great also made it challenging. “Moving every month means making new contacts every month, and leaving behind those I’ve just met,” said Rogers. “There was a lot of picking stories on the fly then doing a lot of legwork to make sure I understood enough of the local context to report them successfully,” she added. “I also had to say goodbye to my D.C. reporting team and the idea of going into the office every day. It’s been a good change, but certainly a dramatic one.”

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