Hector Zamora – Field Operations Advisor ICS – (International Service Program)

The real work of development occurs in the field and not in sky-rise buildings. If there is a lack of connection and understanding with the fieldwork, any planning and implementation will be unsuccessful.

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Name:  Hector ZamoraMain country of residence: Nicaragua Current Position: Consultant, World Bank
Organisation: University of Sydney
Qualifications:Master in Development Studies – University of Sydney

Bachelor in Marketing and Advertisement – Universidad Americana (NI)

Bachelor in Business Management – Universidad Americana (NI)

Years of experience (development/overall): 3 Development / 6 overall  
LinkedIn Profile/Website Address: http://au.linkedin.com/in/hectorzamoraa
Languages: Spanish (native) and English (fluent)  

What is the nature of the organisation you currently work for?

The last organization I worked for was Raleigh International, in conjunction with the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Raleigh International is implementing the first Official International Service Program (ICS) in Nicaragua, Tanzania and India. It intends to provide hands-on experience in the field of Development for youth between the ages 18 and 35. It is delivering this program through program implementation in remote rural communities.

When did you first start working in international development?

2010 – Worked for a (US 501(c)) Non-profit in the field of international education programs.

What was your first international development role?

I was part of a professional team working in-country in coordination with the head office in San Francisco, California. We established the program’s first office in the largest city in northern Nicaragua. The program since then has expanded to two new cities and two new countries.

How did you obtain your first development role? Did you apply for it, and if so how many applications did it take to get the first role? Was the role paid or unpaid?

I applied for it through a newsletter subscription in my hometown. The newsletter posts open positions in the field of development. I was called for an interview, which was delivered in a group-based dynamic.

If you had previously pursued a non-development career, describe how you made the transition and the extent to which your existing skills were transferrable?

I have a BA in Organizational Management and another BA in Advertisement Production and Marketing. Both qualifications are crucially important in any field, and are not uniquely relevant for the business world. In the case of Organizational Management, it helps to understand how offices are run, especially in structures that follow business-like models. On the other hand, my Marketing degree is important for fundraising, community outreach and public relations, which every development organisation must undertake.

 What was the nature of the first organisation you worked for?

It was an international study-abroad and service delivery program. It recruits young leaders from difficult socio-economic backgrounds in the US who show a strong potential to become leaders in each of their chosen specialities/fields.

Did you have experience in the field before obtaining your first paid development role?

I did not have any particular experience in development. However, I have knowledge through other family members involved in the field.

Do you consider field experience important in obtaining your first development role?

Field experience is important not only in the first development role, but throughout a development career. It provides direct access to the conditions and realities in which projects are implemented.

 How important do you consider networking to being successful in your field?

Networking is very important, however, to secure a position it comes down to the interviewing process and the vision/passion you are capable of delivering.

In brief what other roles have you had throughout your career and if you did not start your career in development what was your previous profession?

I was in charge of market research projects as well as coordinating international film and television productions.

What do you see as the main advantages and disadvantages of the work you’re engaged in?

The main advantages is that it is the most practical and useful application of my skills, knowledge and abilities for the better well-being of communities and nations.

The main disadvantage is the abundance of old schemes and visions of development that prioritize bureaucratic processes over achieving its goals and objectives.

What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career in international development similar to yours?

The main advice for anyone interested in the field is to be entirely committed to the projects and roles and objectives of such endeavour. In developed nations the amount of people interested in the field becomes a strong obstacle, as you will be competing with candidates possessing more years of experience, who have decided to stay in the city for convenience or personal reasons.

The real work of development occurs in the field and not in sky-rise buildings. If there is a lack of connection and understanding with the fieldwork, any planning and implementation will be unsuccessful. I encourage everyone to commit to at least 3 years of fieldwork in one or more different regions/countries before aspiring for high-paid administrative offices in rich urban areas.

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