What organisations can I work in?

Many different organisations are involved in International Development from the UN and the World Bank to small non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in countries all around the world.

Development Consultancies

Bid for work from governments or organisations to work in communities and sometimes with other NGOs to support strategies to address key issues such as climate change, food insecurity or regional conflicts. They can operate on local, national or international levels. The work within communities can offer policy solutions or projects focused on renewable energies, healthcare and infrastructure. Examples include Mott McDonald and PwC. Details of development consultancies and how to enter the sector can be found on Devex.

Development and Government Aid Agencies

Provide humanitarian or development aid and assistance to partners and agencies for initiatives including infrastructure and telecommunications, on a local, regional or international level. Examples include the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) or US Agency for International Development (USAID)

International or Multi-lateral Organisations

Can include member organisations to help disseminate funding to address key issues in various countries. International organisations may have been established as a result of treaties between countries and are governed by international law. These organisations may require prior experiences or higher qualifications or training in public health, economics, or business. Examples include United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), UNICEF and development banks such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or International NGOs

Organisations working independently of government involvement in their work. NGOs tend to operate on a not-for-profit basis and rely on funding from organisations, philanthropists as well as the public. They can be established by philanthropists or operate as not-for-profit charitable foundations such as the Warren Buffet Foundation or the Gates Foundation or affiliated with faith groups. The work of NGOs can involve campaigning or advocating on behalf of particular groups or communities or to influence policies. NGOs can also offer support in terms of helping developing countries with campaigns around health, education, water and sanitation. Examples of large NGOs include Oxfam and Plan International but there may be many smaller NGOs operating that are less widely known. If you are looking for a NGO in a specific sector or country explore the worldwide NGO directory on The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) website.

Social Enterprises

Businesses that have a clear ethos to help improve communities or address social problems. Social enterprises tend to reinvest some of their revenue or profits to create opportunities for people within their local communities including volunteering opportunities. Examples include The Big Issue and The Brilliant Club. Further information is on our Charities page.

Think Tanks

Non-governmental organisations which produce research on a number of key issues such as economic and social policies, political strategies, technology and culture. They can be funded by organisations or individuals and may also rely on government grants. Some Think Tanks will have specific party political affiliations whether right, left, centrist or green. Their research studies or articles can be used by politicians, organisations, businesses as well as the media or within academia to highlight impact or recommendations of key issues. Examples include Chatham House and the International Institute for Environment and Development. See our Government sector page for further information.

Research centres

Can be based within Universities to research key challenges facing society e.g. global inequalities such as the Global Development Institute (GDI) or the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.