Before we consider the flaws of the many large regional institutions, we need to realize what skills we have to bring to the table. Do we want to fly across the world to 'help' dig boreholes or build schools we aren't trained to build; or do we want to contribute to projects that have concrete results in lower poverty rates? I'm not suggesting we all lace up our dress shoes and apply at regional banks to act as a consultants, but I do believe we must work where our skills can be used best, and where we can learn from experienced practitioners. I personally know where I will be able to apply my skills best and how I want an organization to train me; it is something that has been gained through experience and everyone will be at that stage eventually. While we don't have professional development classes, we have tools at our fingertips to provide us with information about what it is really like in the development world. Speak to your development professors who have years of experience and can tell you about their successes and mistakes: this is where the real strength of our program lays.
We all cannot build roads by ourselves, nor can we build schools or provide advanced agricultural assistance, but we can learn from those around us and in a (hopefully) short period of time will be able to understand the many aspects of a project or program. Where are your strengths? if you don't know yet, don't be worried; it'll come to you. How do you want to be used? I suggest just make sure you get used in such a way that you gain maximum benefit.
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Traore, B., Leke, M., Joottun, L., & Nzau-Mutetea, G. K. Infrastructure Department,
Central and West Regions. (2003). Appraisal report: Rosso boghe road
construction project. Islamic Republic of Mauritania: African Development Fund.