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magazine on human rights & social justice

Posts Tagged / youth

  • May 10 / 2011
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Journal

How young people can prepare for a life in international development

How young people can prepare for a life in international development
Breaking into the field:
How to get your career in international development started

A recent graduate of political science, I studied human rights and international development. I am especially interested in how good governance is a key component of recovery and stability in post-conflict countries. But how to get a job that’s relevant to my studies and interest?

For information and advice on how to get a job in human rights and international development, I contacted some NGOs that work in these fields and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Volunteering and interning

Volunteer experience is key to starting a career in international human rights and development, according to Bonnie Harnden, Executive Assistant at Amnesty International Canada, especially when jobs are scarce. AI Canada hires an average of two or three people a year, including fund raisers, selecting from about 200 applicants. Continue Reading

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  • May 01 / 2011
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Killers target youth leaders in Guatemala

Victor Leiva was one of the instructors of Caja Ludica, an art collective in Guatemala providing troubled youth with art and culture as alternatives to violence and gang-membership. The organization incorporates drama, dance, acrobatics, stilt-walking and juggling.

Victor Leiva left gang violence to pursue a life in art and community involvement. At 24 years old, he was murdered.

Victor Leiva left gang violence to pursue a life in art and community involvement. At 24 years old, he was murdered.
Photo courtesy of Christian Aid. (UK)

Although he turned to street gangs in his early years, Leiva eventually found art as an alternative. He was one of the collective’s founding members and also participated as a clown and stilt-walker. “I did my first parade in 2002. I’ve never forgotten it. I teach young people juggling and stilt-walking. It makes me very happy, and it makes me humble,” he told Christian Aid, a UK-based NGO, in 2007. Continue Reading

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  • Sep 01 / 2010
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Working for a better world: Good work for no pay

How young people can prepare for a life in international development
Why unpaid internships are the norm

Internships can be key to your career development. They allow you to experience a new type of work, learn skills, network with people who matter in your field and build a killer resume. But in organizations working in human rights, social justice and development sectors, internships are rarely paid. Are internships just free labour, or are they necessary and rewarding additions to your university experience?
To find out what an internship at a nongovernmental organization might mean, I spoke with three specialists: Sylvain Schetagne, a labour market economist at Canadian Labor Congress; Iris Unger, the Executive Director of YES Montreal (Youth Employment Services); and Jessica Lockhart, Programs Administrator for Youth Challenge International (YCI).

Nonprofits and charities use volunteer power and modestly-paid professionals to undertake most development, human rights and social justice work. The notion of an internship – especially an unpaid one – is considered normal by most students and recent graduates in those fields. Interns may accept meager or no pay because they know compensation in the nonprofit sector is typically lower than the for-profit sector. And NGOs pursue goals that attract young university graduates who forego compensation for the chance to work on social issues they feel are important.

“In NGOs the level of compensation is lower because they are dependent on federal and provincial government revenues, donations, and memberships, to survive” said labour market specialist Sylvain Schetagne. “NGOs also tend to use more of their resources on achieving their goals than on compensating their workers.” Continue Reading

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