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Many people see disasters and conflicts around the world, and the impact they have on children, and really want to do something. Others see children living in poverty, or facing injustice, and also wish to help. There are a huge number of NGOs working with children and young people around the world, and many jobs in the NGO sector open to those qualified to work with young people. Here we’ve given some examples of the most common NGO jobs that work directly with children…
Child Protection Officer
A first NGO job that works with children is the position of Child Protection Officer. When communities are hit by disaster or conflicts, or are living in poverty, children often become vulnerable to exploitation or abuse. NGOs run child protection programmes aiming to ensure that children do not come to harm as a result of humanitarian crises.
The responsibilities of the Child Protection Officer is to oversee the day-to-day running of an NGOs child protection projects. This includes line-managing a team of Social Workers and Case Workers, as well coordinating all aspects of what the project needs to function well. The NGO Child Protection Officer usually reports to the Child Protection Manager.
How to Apply
You will need a background in social work, child protection or child safeguarding in order to take a job as a Child Protection Officer with an NGO. As a mid-level position, some experience working on NGO projects would also be beneficial.
A second NGO job that directly helps children and young people affected by crises or living in poverty is that of Social Worker. Many NGOs recruit Social Workers to support their projects. Essentially, Social Workers on NGO projects have much the same responsibilities as Social Workers in the public sector, however they work in communities facing humanitarian crises.
Many Social Workers on NGO projects specialize in child protection and child safeguarding cases. This means they work with children, young people, and their families to resolve their issues, find them support and if needed refer them to other organizations that can meet their needs.
How to Apply
You will need to be a qualified Social Worker in order to get a job working for an NGO. If you want to work with children in a Social Worker role in the NGO sector, a technical background in child social welfare will be needed. You will likely also need some knowledge and understanding of humanitarian crises, and how these impact children and families.
A third job that NGOs often hire that helps children in need is actually teachers. There are lot of NGOs that run education projects providing schooling to children affected by disasters, living in poverty, or forced to flee their homes due to conflict. Essentially, NGO teachers have similar responsibility to normal teachers, however they often work in tough environments like post-disaster settings or refugee camps.
Teachers on NGO projects are either employed by the local authority, but receive a salary top-up from the NGO, plus materials and trainings, or are directly hired by the NGO itself. Those wanting to help children impacted by humanitarian crises should consider taking a job as a teacher on an NGO project.
How to Apply
You will need to be a fully qualified teacher in order to work as one on an NGO education project. Knowledge and understanding of education provision in humanitarian settings would also be an asset.
Education Project Officer
Another NGO job that works with children and young people is the role of Education Project Officer. The responsibility of the Education Project Officer is to oversees the day-to-day running of an NGOs education programme. This can include managing staff, ensuring supplies are in-place, liaising with local authorities and delivering trainings.
Although the Education Project Officer in most NGOs does not directly teach children, they do work closely alongside the teaching staff. This means they get to impact the way the NGO’s project assists children and young people, and is often present at the NGO education project sites.
How to Apply
You will likely need some experience working on projects assisting children in order to get a job as an Education Project Officer with an NGO. You will also need some experience in project management.
NGO Child Protection Online Courses
If you are interested in working for an NGO in a role assisting children, we highly recommend the online course Children’s Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Introduction by the University of Geneva. This course covers the theory, development and impact of specific human rights for children. Drawing on legal, historical and sociological approaches, the course introduces students to the evolution of children’s human rights, as well as the ongoing challenges faced. We think it’s one of the top online courses on humanitarian child protection
Another online course we really recommend for anyone interested in NGO child protection roles is Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives offered by the University of Minnesota. On this course, students cover how trauma affects children and the coping mechanisms they depend on during crises. We think it would be a great addition to the CV anyone applying to NGO roles working with children.
One of the most senior roles in the NGO sector that overseas projects working with children is the Education Coordinator. The Education Coordinator has overall responsibility for an NGO’s education programming. They are usually stationed at the NGO’s country office, but travel to field bases to provide guidance and give inputs.
Education Coordinators in the NGO sector do not work directly with children, but are responsible for overseeing large education projects. This means their ultimate work directly assists children, and young, people affected by crises, conflicts or disasters, or living in poverty.
How to Apply
As a senior management role, you will need several years’ experience working in the NGO sector in order to become an Education Coordinator. You will also likely need a background in working with children, as well as knowledge and technical experience in NGO project and grant management, as well as proposal writing.
Nutrition Project Officer
There are many NGOs that run nutrition projects around the world. These programmes aim to address malnutrition and help children affected by food insecurity. The job of the Nutrition Project Officer is to be based on the frontline and directly oversee the implementation of an NGOs nutrition project. They are often line managed by the Field Coordinator or Nutrition Programme Manager.
The Nutrition Officer is one of the NGO roles that works most closely with malnourished children. As they are stationed directly at the project site, and line-manage other nutrition roles, such as the IYCF-E Councilors, they often assist with helping children in dire need of nutrition.
How to Apply
You will need a technical background in nutrition, ideally focusing on malnourished children, to work on an NGOs nutrition programme as a Nutrition Project Officer. Some previous NGO experience, as well as understanding of NGO project management, will also likely be required.
A more senior nutrition role in the NGO sector, that indirectly works with children, is the position of Nutrition Advisor. Usually based in the NGO’s country office, the Nutrition Advisor is the lead on technical guidance and quality control for an NGOs nutrition project. However, they do often travel to the field and directly assist the programmes helping malnourished children.
As well as assisting the set-up and implementation of child nutrition projects for an NGO, the Nutrition Advisor is also responsible for the strategic direction of an NGO’s nutrition programme. This can include conducting research into childhood malnourishment and how food insecurity in a community affects children.
How to Apply
As a senior advisory role, you will need significant experience in the NGO sector, including running childhood nutrition projects, if you want to become an NGO Nutrition Advisor. A formal qualification related to children and nutrition is also almost always needed.
Community Health Worker
A final NGO job that works with children is Community Health Workers. Medical NGOs that run health projects employ Community Health Workers as key parts of their team. The job of the Community Health Worker is to liaise directly with the community the NGO is serving, understand their health needs, raise awareness of health issues and to promote the NGO’s medical work.
Many NGO Community Health Workers specialize in assisting children in the community. They usually take a certain number of families and act as the focal-point for their children’s health. They also ensure that families are able to access the assistance the NGO is offering.
How to Apply
To become a Community Health Worker with an NGO you will need some medical training. If you want to be a Community Health Worker specializing in children, some previous experience in a health role related to children would be beneficial.
If you want to learn more about NGO child protection jobs, see our page on the top NGO child protection online courses here. If you want to know more about the NGO sector in general, see our page on the best NGO online courses here.