September 7, 2009

The Big Initiative

I had my interview at a local ngo few hours ago.  It was... interesting.  The agency was founded about 3 years ago with the interest of facilitating UN development goals.  However the agency seems to be a little unorganized.  They have a nice office, a few a handful of staff, and have been working primarily on two projects for the last three years.

The primary project is banking and finance oriented, with the intent of further educating the general public of various nations about the value of Islamic banking, and working to establish these institutions.  While I only have marginal experience with Islamic banking, limited only to money exchange, I believe it has been mostly untouched by the global banking crisis of the last 2 years.  Although such banks exist in America, they are not very well known or understood by the public and yet there might be significant value to further diversify American banking systems by investing in these institutions.

The other major project consists of working to facilitate secular cross cultural dialogues, so that people may better overcome their popular East/West misconceptions.  This is process is very much the product of institutional networking, lectures, workshops etc.

Well I considered these projects all quite fine and good, although I will admit, only of marginal interest.  Nonetheless, a part time job that pays a little money is better than no job and no income, so I was interested in going along with things anyway.

I was then introduced to the founder of the organization, and our discussion brought about a different direction altogether.  Apparently his interest in hiring me is founded on my experience of working with African populations, most notably Sudanese and Somalis.  It turns out that the government of Somalia has contacted his organization on multiple occasions, asking for project assistance to work with vulnerable youth and economic development.  Supposedly there is UN funding available for this projects, I received the impression that he has been simply uncertain how to go about doing this.

Fortunately, these sort of problems are perfectly consistent with my own expertise.  So over the next few days I'm going to sketch out a rough outline of what this  organization could do.  If it is of interest to them, then I guess I can go about designing projects from the ground up.  As for getting them implemented, well that will have to fall onto the shoulders of someone else.   This NGO does not appear to have any of the resources that one would have working for the US gov, the UN, or major agencies like Care or NRC.  This is of course rather unfortunate, as designing programing and not overseeing its implementation greatly retards the feasibility of the project and relegates the process to little more than an academic exercise.   Of course, I could show up next week with a slew of ideas, none of which would be of interest to this agency.

So the final question is, did I get the job? Yeah, it looks that way.  But do I want it? Well... we'll see.  If anything, its something to do for a few weeks or months while I continue to apply for something more embracing.