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Working in Development Cooperation

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Presentation on theme: "Working in Development Cooperation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Working in Development Cooperation
Afonso Mendonça Reis Founder and Mentor of the Mentes Empreendedoras Project Nova School of Business and Economics (NovaSBE) Lisbon, September 2012 How many of you tried to get more information on my profile, experiences and what I did? Swisscontact - We create opportunities

2 Presentation Roadmap Why think about international organisations?
Who are they? What do they do? What opportunities do they present to you? My experience: Joining FEUNL (2001) Erasmus in Lausanne (04/05) Back to Portugal - now what? Joining and working at the OECD Next, joining and working at the ILO - Skills department Some lessons learned

3 What do they do? What do we learn in these organisations?
Bilateral and Multilateral organisations: USAID, CIDA, SIDA, NORAD, IPAD UN, OECD, EC Different mandates: Research & Knowledge production - OECD Regulation - WTO/ILO... Carrying out projects in the field - WB/UNDP/ILO... What do we learn in these organisations? Swisscontact - We create opportunities

4 Joining FEUNL The importance of setting standards – recalling Dean Neves Adelino’s welcome speech: students in top schools will: Seek Internships - an average of 3.5 by time of graduation Do voluntary work – give back to society Establish contacts at university (beyond core technical skills) that are essential for future career development Exploring GAFE and FORTUNA -» Pedro Freire Novactiva – Successes and Failures -» Experience Youth Programme -» International Experience Swisscontact - We create opportunities

5 Erasmus Lausanne - 2004/2005 What did I take from my exchange?
Started in Finance and ended in Development Meeting people with different experiences -» other perspectives Soft skills - (Theatre, Languages, 1st Research Project, inter- disciplinary seminar, and lastly Career Vocation) Larry Weiss - “Look for Portuguese” Goal: practice + research skills = AKF + CG&G More demanding but less risky FEUNL -» needs to improve “campus” culture -» Challenge Core skills (economics) Vs Soft skills (campus) Swisscontact - We create opportunities

6 Back to Portugal – now what?
• IMVF, IPAD, NORAD, CIDA, SIDA, KEPA, DANIDA… Aga Khan Foundation • Projects in Education and Social Exclusion Center for Globalization & Governance • Initiative – Carry out research on development issues Working with Experienced Researchers on a “win-win” basis Learning “how to do” and dealing with responsibility – Mentoring and autonomy Presented (AfDB & UNECA, Ethiopia) and published Paper “Measuring EMP across five African Countries” in Open Economics Review -» Output + Signaling Inov Mundus – New programme looks interesting Swisscontact - We create opportunities

7 How did I join the OECD? When googling for masters... OECD sound nice but: Is it relevant? Do we match? “Jose” worked on a Macroeconomic Analysis on Chile I have a paper -» Good match -» Apply “Jose” offered an intership on an Education Indicator AKF (education) + master in econometrics -» Good match I took an internship in Statistics/Education (2nd best) Moreover OECD has DAC and DEV (working in Development) But other directorates too: ECO, DAF, TRADE, ELS

8 OECD – Experience Exposed to high quality people -» learning opportunities Good mentoring + building on colleague’s experience The “untouchables” myth -» Focus on quality Right for me? -» No field work and only rich countries While working for EDU found a potential match in the ILO Vladimir Grasskov ILO Skills Department - Good match? -» Apply Before leaving what did I learn? Sharper analytical skills Improved Education and VET background Wider knowledge and experience network Excluding possibilities -» OECD’s DAC and DEV directorates Swisscontact - We create opportunities

9 ILO – United Nations - Skills
I applied for: a project financed by Portugal on PALOP countries Skills department -» The best match worked Since at the ILO what did I learn up to now? Training on Rural Economic Empowerment Employment Services - International Financial Crisis Informal Apprenticeship in Africa Additional Soft Skills Fluent in Spanish + progressing German Poorer countries experience + potential field access Wider knowledge and experience network

10 Some Lessons Learned Initiative – Do it and do it well, covering unexplored niches Output - Show visible work and/or experience Coherent profile – Flexibility with some degree of field “specialisation” on a topic you like (moreover PhD approach) Always do your homework -» Make professional offers Be humble but sharp -» e.g. secretaries are the key figures Learning and Improving -» use every opportunity! Develop and work within your network – Alumni, Portuguese, Lusophone, Latin… Long term institutional network – connect back with Portugal Your competition is not other Portuguese... but the World Swisscontact - We create opportunities

11 “You will be judged by what you can build”
Some Lessons Learned Barack Obama: “You will be judged by what you can build”

12 Thanks for your attention
More information: Websites: Swisscontact – CG&G –

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