Both education and experience are essential. Start early.
|Name: Marc Tagub||Current Position: Programme Specialist – Communications|
|Main country of residence: Philippines||Organisation: Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development|
|Qualifications (and University): Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Sydney)|
|Years of experience: 8+ years in development work|
|LinkedIn Profile/Website Address: linkedin.com/pub/marc-eliemel-tagub/29/333/52a|
|Languages (and level of fluency): Filipino (mother tongue), English (fluent), Khmer (conversational), Japanese (beginner), Spanish (beginner)|
What is the nature of the organisation that you currently work for?
Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) is an implementing partner of the United Nations Population Fund. The organisation works with/advocates with members of the parliaments from across Asia and the Pacific to ensure that policies on population and development are in place. AFPPD’s priority issues include sexual, reproductive, and health rights; gender and empowerment of women; and population dynamics.
When did you first start working in international development?
In 2006, I started working with Philippine-based NGOs that work with international NGOs. I held project support roles for iNGO-funded projects that are part of their international development work. In 2012, I participated in a south-south exchange programme as a programme officer. In 2013, I started working for an iNGO.
How did you obtain your first development/not-for-profit role? Did you apply for it, and if so how many applications did you submit to get in? Was the role paid or unpaid?
I applied for several positions and got three job offers. I chose to accept a place in an exchange programme because I reckon it presented more opportunities for professional growth. It was a paid role with a Philippine-based NGO working on peace and development.
Did you have experience in the field before obtaining your first paid development role?
Prior to working for the local NGO I did not have field experience. In the 5-6 years I was working with the local NGO, all of my tasks were field work.
Do you consider field experience important in obtaining your first development role?
Yes, very important.
How important do you consider networking to being successful in your field?
Very important. Networking offers an invaluable opportunity for partnership, information sharing, and learning of best practices in the field/development work.
In brief, what other roles have you had throughout your career?
I was briefly employed at a university, supporting fundraising initiatives.
What do you see as the main advantages and disadvantages of the work you’re engaged in?
The main advantages are that development work is work with purpose; there are unlimited opportunities for networking and professional growth, and it presents the opportunity to travel and to enhance cultural, social, and political awareness. You can become closer to gatekeepers of information regarding global decision-making and this provides the opportunity to contribute to change with a big impact.
Disadvantages include that this kind of work is stressful – it’s fast-paced, political and bureaucratic, and the agenda keeps on changing. You’re away from home. Sometimes the vision and the goal is too big or there is so much emphasis on the goal that establishing the ways to achieve it is overlooked. You encounter office politics, and it’s always a challenge to balance the organisation’s control of its programmes against the donor’s control of programmes.
What advice would you give to somebody interested in pursuing a career in international development similar to yours?
Invest in a graduate degree that is generic yet strongly recognised, like a Master in International Development, International Relations or Human Rights. Degrees like a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies, even though it is multidisciplinary (international relations, human rights, communication, etc.), do not appeal to prospective employers that much. Establish work experience. Both education and experience are essential. Start early.