Katharina Cavano l Palladium - Apr 19 2022
Palladium Launches International Development Career Accelerator Internship

Credit: Health Policy Plus

Pictured: HP+'s Tiff Jiang and Theresa Ndavi.

Palladium is launching a new internship program out of its Washington, DC offices. The International Development Career Accelerator will provide undergraduate students with a summer experiential learning and mentorship opportunity to gain exposure to the international development field.

The program will allow students to explore the career possibilities available, including tackling climate change, hunger, and access to healthcare, education, and safety and security. But more than that, the team hopes that the program will help attract a broader range of voices into a sector that has long struggled with diversity.

According to the 2021 BRIDGE survey, white people make up 63 percent of staff at development organisations, while Black staff and Latinx make up 14 and 9 percent, respectively. The gap is even more stark when it comes to leadership and board membership.

As Palladium CEO Christopher Hirst wrote for Thomson Reuters Foundation, the lack of diversity within the development sector limits its potential impact. “Ultimately, we need to create space for applicants with non-traditional paths and fewer degrees to be able to enter our industry, bringing their unique perspectives with them,” he writes. “We’re trying to solve the most challenging problems in the world, and we won’t get far unless we bring more voices to the table.”

The issue stems from the significant barriers to enter jobs in development, such as requiring post-graduate degrees and volunteer experience for entry-level positions. As a full time, paid program, the team hopes that the Accelerator will help to address those limitations and provide students with a more accessible entry point.

“We have acknowledged that development is not representative of the people we strive to serve,” says Maria Martinkov, Palladium Managing Partner. “This is particularly true when it comes to socioeconomic status and race.”

The Accelerator is a practical way to provide learning and mentorship opportunities for students from underrepresented populations in development, Martinkov explains. “With our commitment to diversity and our commitment to deliver positive impact, it only made sense for us to step up and make a difference in the industry.”

“We’re trying to solve the most challenging problems in the world, and we won’t get far unless we bring more voices to the table.”

As Afiya Bey, Palladium Senior Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion adds, this is an opportunity for Palladium to invest in a future workforce. “The Accelerator serves as a strategic entry point and pipeline for underrepresented groups and a chance for us to be really intentional by providing early exposure to the development field,” she says.

This comes with an organisation-wide push for increased diversity in the development sector. In February, Palladium Senior Advisor Indira Ahluwalia launched CREED, the Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Development.

As a founding member, Palladium joined leaders from over twenty large, medium, and small for-profit and not-for-profit US-based organisations working in international development and humanitarian assistance to commit to building racial and ethnic equity within international development.

“We’re really excited to roll out the program as a pilot for this summer,” adds Martinkov. “We have the brightest minds of the company focusing on and supporting the Accelerator, and we see it as a call to action for our networks to spread the word.”

Apply to the International Development Career Accelerator Internship for Summer 2022 here and contact afiya.bey@thepalladiumgroup.com for more information.