12 NGO International Development Jobs (And What You Need To Apply)

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Many people choose to work in the NGO sector because they want a career dedicated to alleviating poverty around the world. There are many NGOs dedicated to international development that run different projects aimed at lifting people out of destitution. The international development sector is huge, and so there are many types of jobs open to people with different professional backgrounds. Here we go over some of the top international development NGO jobs…

Country Director

A first international development job often recruited by NGOs it the role of Country Director. The Country Director, sometimes titled Head of Mission, is the most senior role within an NGO’s mission in-country. For development NGOs, the Country Director has ultimate responsibility for overseeing the range of development projects the NGO is running.

The Country Director reports to the NGO’s HQ or regional office. They will line-manager the senior leadership team. This can include departments that support the NGO’s development work, such as logistics, finance and HR, as well as teams directly implementing the NGO’s projects, including in areas such as health, livelihoods and education.

How to Apply

As a senior management position, you will need significant experience in the NGO sector, ideally working on international development projects, in order to get the job of Country Director. A master’s degree in development studies, or NGO management, would also be beneficial.

Field Coordinator

A second international development job in the NGO sector is the role of Field Coordinator. The Field Coordinator leads an NGO’s development work within a set location. They manage the field base, and are responsible for ensuring the planning, implementation and quality of the development work an NGO is undertaking.

The Field Coordinator will report to the Country Director or Head of Mission. They will line-manage the field team, which often includes logistics, finance and admin staff, as well as teams working on the frontline of the NGO’s development programmes.

How to Apply

The job of the Field Coordinator is a middle management position in the NGO sector. You will need some years working on international development projects for NGOs in order to get the role. A development studies degree, as well qualifications in project management, will also help your application.

Health Programme Manager

A third international development job that is often recruited in the NGO sector is the Health Programme Manager. Many international development NGOs run programmes that aim to strengthen the medical systems in developing countries and improve the quality of healthcare to people living in poverty.

The job of the Health Programme Manager in an international development NGO is to oversee the implementation of an NGO’s health projects. They are usually stationed at Country office level but travel frequently to field bases. They also often line manage a team of Health Project Officers that work within the health canters the NGO is supporting.

How to Apply

You will need to be medically trained in order to get a position as a Health Programme Manager with an international development NGO. As a management role, you will also need several years’ experience working on international development projects ran by NGOs to be success in getting a job as Health Programme Manager.

Nutrition Advisor

International development NGOs often run nutrition projects aiming to improve the nutrition of children living in poverty, and to address long-term food security. These NGOs will hire a Nutrition Advisor to provide technical guidance and oversight of their nutrition programmes.

The Nutrition Advisor in an international development NGO will sit within the county or regional office. They will not directly line-manage staff, but will regularly travel to field bases to provide inputs to the NGO nutrition projects.

How to Apply

NGOs looking to hire Nutrition Advisors will be seeking candidates with formal qualifications in nutrition, ideally specializing in international development settings. As a senior advisory role, you will also need some years’ experience working on international development projects to become a Nutrition Advisor for an NGO.

Logistics Coordinator

Another vital job within the international development NGO sector is the Logistics Coordinator. International development NGO require a range of supplies in order to implement their projects. They also need support in everything from office and vehicle rental to sourcing project supplies. The logistics coordinator is the most senior position managing the NGO logistics team.

The Logistics Coordinator in an NGO will be based at the country office – in the capital or major city, but will directly support the NGO’s development work at field level. They will provide technical guidance and support to the logistics teams stationed at the field bases.

How to Apply

The main thing NGOs will look for when hiring Logistics Coordinators for their international development projects will be practical experience. You will need several years in logistics roles to get the job. A formal qualification in logistics or supply chain management would be beneficial.

Shelter Advisor

There are a number of international development NGOs that run programmes aiming to assist people living in poverty to improve their housing conditions. In the international development sector these are known as a shelter programmes. The job of the Shelter Advisor it to provide technical guidance to support an NGO’s shelter projects.

In most international development NGOs, the Shelter Advisor is stationed at the country office, but will move frequently to field bases to give support to frontline shelter teams. They also feed into proposal development and grant management for the NGO’s shelter development programmes.

How to Apply

Most Shelter Advisors in the international development sector have a background in architecture or engineering. As an advisory role, you will also need some experience working in shelter positions for international development NGOs.

International Development Online Courses

If you want to know more about developed countries, we highly recommend the online short course Sustainable Development in the 21st Century by Yonsei University. Delivered by former UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, the course is a great introduction to the issues developed and developing countries face. The link is to the course’s page.

We also think the online course Management of International Development: Towards Agenda 2030  is great. It looks at the current international development model as well as the trends that will be key to global development in the near future. Follow the link to the course’s page for more information.

If you are interested in the practical methods used on international development programmes, we recommend the online course How To Design & Fund International Development NGO Projects. The course teaches students the tools needed to establish and run impactful development projects. Click the link to visit the course’s page for more information.

Finance Manager

Another support role in the international development NGO sector is the Finance Manager. All NGOs have complex finances and require dedicated staff to oversee accounting, budgeting, reporting and controls. NGOs also run international development projects in areas where financial management can be challenging, and corruption levels are high.

The Finance Manager on an international development project is responsible for overseeing the finance team and controlling the NGO’s funding. They will usually be based in the country office, where they will have Finance Officers and admin staff to support them. They will also liaise directly with finance staff at field level and travel to field bases when needed.

How to Apply

Ideally NGOs will be looking for qualified finance professionals for the role of Finance Manager. As a management role, you will need some years relevant experience, ideally working for international development NGOs.

Education Programme Manager

Many international development NGOs run projects providing education to children living in poverty who would otherwise go without. To oversee these projects, a commonly recruited role is the position of Education Programme Manager. Their responsibility is to ensure the NGO’s education programmes are being implemented correctly.

The Education Programme Manager has overall control of a development NGO’s education projects. They will line manager the Education Officers, as well as be responsible for reporting and grant management. The Education Programme Manager also feeds into funding proposals for the NGO’s education programme.

How to Apply

You will need a formal qualification related to education in order to become an Education Programme Manager in the NGO sector. As a senior management role, you will also need some years’ experience in doing international development work.

Livelihoods Specialist

A key position in many international development NGOs is the job of the Livelihoods Specialist. Across the NGO sector there are many development organisations that aim to lift people out of poverty by providing livelihoods support. This work aims to provide people in poverty with jobs, or increase their salaries through incentive payments; it also helps people start businesses by providing loans, materials or financial grants.

International development NGOs running livelihoods projects often include the job of Livelihoods Specialist in their structure. This advisory role sits at country office level and provides technical guidance to the NGO’s livelihoods development programmes.

How to Apply

Most Livelihoods Specialists working for international development NGOs have a background in economics. You will also need some years’ experience working for international development NGOs, ideally on livelihoods projects, to get the job as a Livelihoods Specialists.

Project Manager

The job of Project Manager is a key position within many international development NGOs. The Project Manager is responsible for implementing a specific project, ensuring that project deliverables are met and budgets adhered to, as well as the projects compliance with donor rules. The Project Manager usually line-manages the project team and reports to the Area Manager or Head of Mission.

In the international development sector, many NGOs either have the Project Manager as a technical or generalist role. A technical Project Manager oversees development projects in area such as nutrition, education, health or livelihoods and has a formal qualification related to this area. Generalist Project Managers usually sit across multiple projects and doesn’t necessarily need a background in a technical function.

How to Apply

NGOs will be looking for qualified Project Managers for this position. You will also need some experience managing projects related to international development.

HR Coordinator

International development NGOs often have large and complex teams working across multiple countries. Within country programmes they also usually have a mixture of expats and national staff working across many different locations. This makes the role of the HR Coordinator in many international development NGOs vital.

When based at country level, the HR Coordinator is the most senior position on an NGO’s mission overseeing human resource management. When stationed at HQ level, the HR Coordinator will provide human resource support to a range of development programmes across multiple countries.

How to Apply

NGOs will be looking for experienced HR professionals when recruiting for the role of HR coordinator. Previous experience in the NGO sector is highly beneficial, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.


A final international development job that is often recruited by NGOs is the position of consultant. Consultants are hired by NGOs to deliver specific pieces of work within a set-time frame. They also often bring technical expertise that the NGO doesn’t have in-house. Consultants will have set deliverables and usually only work for the NGO for the length of a programme.

International development consultants can provide technical inputs to a range of different projects. They often focus on areas such a health system strengthening, livelihoods development, shelter provision, or they can cover areas such as proposal development or project evaluations.

How to Apply

There are no set criteria to become a consultant for an international development NGO. However, you will need technical expertise in an area related to international development, and a track record of successfully delivering consultancy projects for development organizations.


Duncan is the founder of Humanitarian Careers. With over ten years experience in the aid industry across fifteen countries, Duncan set-up Humanitarian Careers to help people launch their own career in international aid.