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What is international development?

Although there are many popular examples of international development organizations such as the American Refugee Committee, the United States Agency for International Development, World Bank, Oxfam or CARE, it is common that many people do not know precisely what it is that these organizations work to accomplish. Though the work that international development organizations do is vast and broad in spectrum, it can be described in a simple way that encompasses the driving forces of this type of work; international development organizations hold the goal of assisting developing nations in finding solutions to issues that surround and can arise from global inequality and poverty.

Under that broad idea, there are smaller, more precise areas that are tackled by different organizations. While working primarily in developing nations, international development organizations put their focus on a variety of different economic and social issues and where they intersect in terms of education, malnutrition, poverty, human rights, healthcare and more. This type of work is not only there to help understand why there are problems such as these but to find a way to remedy them as well. All of this is covered by the broader umbrella term of international development.

Because it encompasses so many different practices and ideas, international development can be approached from a variety of different theories, viewpoints and fields of expertise. For example, political theories may help understand the best way to combat corruption and improve governance, while economic theories may enable understanding on how to make national economies bloom while also increasing individual income levels. Social theories even come into play in order to provide understanding for promoting gender equality and human rights.

With so many ways to frame issues and work toward solutions, the ideas are put into motion in a number of ways. Political development might manifest in the inclusion of projects that are geared toward local governments and their ability to fight corruption or build capacity, while economic initiatives may look more like high-level financial agreements or agreements that would make trade fairer and enhanced between two countries. As for social action, this could include things like fighting for healthcare, gender equality, human rights and the promotion of education.

Because these issues are so complex, they usually need to be approached in a multifaceted manner instead of sticking to boundaries that some other issues allow for. Over time, awareness has grown around the idea that there needs to be much greater cooperation and coordination between different actors in the private sector, governmental and non-governmental areas. Even so, it is just as important to find paths toward the promotion of international development that will be culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

All in all, these various initiatives, goals and plans all comprise the field known as international development. There are many colleges and universities that will allow you to pursue the right educational background to put you in the best position to achieve your goal of working in an international development organization.

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Global Peace Careers is a website dedicated to career related information in the sectors humanitarian aid and action, international development, peace and conflict studies, negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy and international law. On our website we collect and distribute information about entry level jobs, paid internships, affordable master degrees, free online courses and other opportunities.

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