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Why I'm considering a career in international development

03 August 2017

Why I'm considering a career in international development

By Adam Vivian, work experience student at Farm Africa

As a 16-year-old who has just finished his GCSEs, I could be doing whatever I want now in what I am told is the ‘longest summer of my life’. Most people I know are out having a good time or relaxing at home, having a well-deserved break from the constant fatigue that is school life, and generally not doing anything productive.

Although I have no problem with that, and in fact will probably be doing the same very soon, I have no regrets about coming to do work experience at Farm Africa this week. It’s very inspiring seeing all of the photographs and reading all of the stories about how people’s lives have been changed by Farm Africa, one of over 200,000 charities in the UK.

I’m considering a career in international development because I want to make my mark on the world. I know that we need bankers, brokers and corporate lawyers in our society, but I don’t want to fade in to oblivion when I know that I have the opportunity to make a difference to the people in the world that need it the most.

It’s very easy to do as well. Only £25, which is about a week’s worth of coffee, could buy two goats for a farmer in Tanzania, which can set him and his family up for life. Knowing that giving up so little can make such a big difference gives me all the more drive to pursue this type of career and make an impact on the world.

With 40% of the population living on incomes of less than $1.90 per day in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is absolutely essential that we open up more opportunities for the world’s poorest people to make a living and escape poverty.

Growth in agriculture is 2.5 times more effective than any other sector in reducing poverty, making the work of Farm Africa all the more important. Empowering farmers in Africa can help to drive an agricultural industry that is needed as the backbone of the economy.

International development needs to be at the forefront of our minds. We often don’t know about or pay much attention to the natural disasters and political unrest that make life so challenging for those living in poverty in Africa from our privileged position in the UK. But that doesn’t make them any less important.

But why should we care?

We need to remember that people living in poverty in Africa are just like us; with their own dreams and aspirations, their own families and their own life. I believe that we all have a responsibility to help others in whatever way we can. Aid helps a lot, especially through charities like Farm Africa, who make a meaningful difference to farmers across eastern Africa.

Other than the obvious humanitarian reason, further international development means that countries in Africa will be able to trade with the UK and countries around the world on a much larger scale. This will affect us all, giving us new trading partners and contributing to a more globalised economy that brings benefits to everyone.

It’s not impossible to do either. In 1990, China had 756 million people living in extreme poverty. Now there are only 25 million and China boasts the second largest economy in the world, meaning that it’s not an unsurmountable task at all.

But it can’t just be a case of sitting and waiting. International development needs action from all of us so that we can ensure people everywhere have access to basic human rights such as food and water.

This is why I believe the work of organisations like Farm Africa is unbelievably important.