My master studies at UiA have been very relevant, providing me with a solid theoretical understanding and insight in global development issues. In addition to the theoretical knowledge, the practical experience gained through field course and fieldwork have been decisive for my choice of carrier in life.
Humanitarian adviser/ councillor/coordinator /Emergency preparedness and crisis management, human rights, and democracy
Name: Camilla Michalsen
Education: MSc in Economics, Master in Development Management, continuing education within Human rights and Peace- and conflict studies.
Year of graduation: MSc in Economics 2005, Master in Development Management 2007
Work position: Humanitarian adviser/ councillor/coordinator /Emergency preparedness and crisis management, human rights, and democracy.
Employer: NORCAP, the Norwegian Refugee council’s global provider of expertise
NORCAP is the Norwegian Refugee council’s global provider of expertise, consisting of approximately 1200 women and men from different countries all over the world. These experts collaborate with partners within humanitarian sectors, development work and peacebuilding, protecting the lives and the rights of people. NORCAP assists in building local capacities and finding more efficient ways of working. One of the programs within NORCAP is called NORDEM, and team members connected to NORDEM are specialised within human rights and democracy.
NORCAP experts are called out to collaborate with a local partner, assisting within an area of expertise for a given time frame. The missions vary in length, ranging from two weeks to two years, assisting different NGOs depending on the different missions.
Through my years in NORCAP, I have worked with different UN-organisations, OSSE and EU. I have been stationed in countries such as Ukraine, Colombia, Bolivia and Panama, being on missions related to human rights and democracy, humanitarian analysis and counselling, in addition to coordination of emergency aid in conflict zones.
I mainly collaborate with international humanitarian NGOs, and my main tasks are connected to mapping, analysing, and communicating knowledge about humanitarian needs in a local context. Specifically, my work tasks might include talking with refugees, other local and international NGOs, UN-organisations and other actors, ensuring a broad understanding of the situation, when evaluating the impact of the intervention, securing efficient and well-coordinated humanitarian interventions.
I was recruited by NORCAP 5 years after my studies. Before then I worked 3 years in Guatemala, where I also stayed during my master studies, doing field work for my master thesis. In Guatemala I worked in a Social Anthropological Foundation, gaining valuable work experience within humanitarian work, particularly focusing on human rights. This experience was valuable when I applied to be part of NORCAP response team. During my years in Guatemala, I also learned Spanish, which opened yet another door within the Norwegian Refugee Council, and since 2012 I been on several work missions in Latin America.
In addition to my years in Guatemala, I also gained work experience through a UIA trainee internship at the Dominican Republic before entering a position as lecturer at the master program in Development management, where I worked up until 2012, when I stared working in NORCAP.
My master studies at UiA have been very relevant, providing me with a solid theoretical understanding and insight in global development issues. In addition to the theoretical knowledge, the practical experience gained through field course and fieldwork have been decisive for my choice of carrier in life. Field work experience contributed to increased knowledge about development work in practice, strengthened my multicultural capacities and provided me with hands-on experience from the field. The combination of theories and practical experience has been very useful in my international work, as well as made me stand out in job applications. The online learning platform and flexible nature of the master program also made it possible for me to combine studies with volunteer work and travelling.
The competition in NGOs and the development aid sector is hard, and many apply for job positions in international development work. It is thus important to stand out and build work experiences to be attractive. In my case, relevant academic education, combined with volunteer work and personal engagement, solid international experience and language skills, helped get me where I am today.
• Show engagement through volunteer work and positions. Volunteer work in NGOs working within your field of interest, might be a useful learning experience. It provides unique opportunities to learn how NGOs work, as well as help you define your areas of interest while building relevant work experience
• Get international experience through field work, internships or similar opportunities
• Learn a new language