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March 31, 2009


From large development organizations and banks such as the IMF and the World Bank funding giant multi-decade projects, to small NGOs (non-governmental organizations) organizing grass-roots projects, to volunteer agencies providing everything from fence builders to business consultants, global development has become a huge industry.

There is a wide range of opportunities under the "development" umbrella, and just as wide a variety of people working in this industry. Development gurus range from top-level senior executives to junior volunteers straight out of college. Opportunities run from micro-finance to building bridges, from environmental work to helping democracy take hold in remote corners of the world. Many development organizations focus on economic development and financial skills. While there are certainly still opportunities to help villagers build houses, more and more opportunities focus on small business development, nurturing local entrepreneurship and providing sustainable business skills.

Types of "development" organizations

Development is such a broad term, but the following groups of organizations are generally included under this umbrella:

  • Public multinationals: Huge organizations like the UN, the World Bank, and the ADB (Asian Development Bank).
  • Multinational NGOs: Large non-government organizations, such as Amnesty International, CARE, Doctors without Borders and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Smaller NGOs: Hundreds of locally based, often grassroots organizations devoted often to one particular issue or problem, be it women's health, micro-finance or political education.
  • Volunteer organizations: Organizations that rely on volunteers, though they may pay a stipend.
There are also private companies involved in development work and branches of private companies that work as a non-profit on development-related issues. For example, many of the major consulting and tax consulting companies have arms dedicated to the issues of development, privatization and economic development. Their clients are mainly governments and the public multinationals.


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