Improving Aid Work Starts with YOU

Trying to change an entire system as just one individual is a daunting and overwhelming prospect. But, if everyone throws their hands in the air and accepts defeat without making concrete efforts to impact and change the system, the system can only fail.

After all, we each make up this entity we call "the System", and it wouldn't be "the System" if it weren't for each of us and the roles we assume within it.

It's important to understand the aid-working system and our individual roles within it - from individual governments and their political interests to donors straight down to staff members with idealistic visions and hope to change the situation on the ground.

  • What are you doing to improve the system?
  • What do you do every day to have a positive impact on the aid-working world?
  • How do you shape the priorities of donors?
  • What measures are you taking to influence the priorities of the headquarters at your office?
  • What action have you taken to reverse any negative trends in hiring, firing, extending, and promoting unqualified or inefficient staff members?
  • How do you support your colleagues each day to help prevent them from cracking, becoming jaded, facing burnout, falling into a depression, or suffering even worse PTSD symptoms in part due to a lack of office support?
  • How do you encourage staff well-being?
  • Do you advocate for support, care and well-being of staff affected by traumatic/critical incidents?
  • How do you address unhealthy habits which put the safety and well-being of staff at increased risk?
  • How do you demonstrate the importance of a personal life and well-being in YOUR professional life?

If you can respond to the questions above, knowing that you have taken concrete steps to influence the well-being and effectiveness of your colleagues as well as the relevance of funding from donors and priorities at the headquarters level, we appreciate your commitment to aid work and to aid workers and we'd like to hear more from you: Share with us your best practices and lessons learned, and also connect with others at global aid worker to see how you might join forces to advocate for global change.

If you have not yet taken such concrete steps, reflect on ways that you might focus on your own well-being and encourage greater emphasis on staff well-being, teamwork, and effectiveness in your office. We also want to hear from you: Share your thoughts and experiences on staff well-being and ways you think we might better support staff in a way that you view as realistic and tangible. Connect with others to see how we might be able to work together toward a common goal of improving the aid-working world inside and out.

Contact us to share your visions of how we can be more effective in our aid-working roles and how personal well-being and inter-office advocacy can help. Tell us about ways that you, your colleague, and/or your office have tried to improve your office culture and emphasize the needs and well-being of staff members.