Many aspire to work in the complex and articulated sector of international cooperation, the promotion of human rights and the development of peoples.

The areas of intervention of international cooperation projects range from social and health care to the protection of human rights, from food security and rural development to basic education and vocational training, from support for information and democratization programs to the enhancement of the territory and cultural heritage of developing countries, etc.

Organizations or departments at the international level seek profiles with at least one specialization and five years of experience with minor NGOs or some UNV (United Nations Volunteers). type program.

There are different types of international cooperation – bilateral, multilateral, decentralized, non-governmental – depending on the main actors involved.

Cooperation initiatives and aid projects are promoted by:

  • Governments and local authorities
  • International organizations and agencies, like the United Nations, the World Bank, the FAO, etc.
  • Non-governmental organizations (NOGs), which can be divided into two groups: the associations recognized by MAECI – the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and those that are not. The term “non-governmental” does not imply that these organizations operate against or in the absence of, but in coordination with government institutions.
  • Other subjects, such as international solidarity associations, fair trade networks, private aid, cooperatives, etc.

The international volunteer with a contract of not less than two years receives from the State a social security, insurance and economic package established on the basis of the cost of living in the country of destination.

The cooperator is a professional in possession of the technical knowledge, professional experience and personal qualities necessary for the performance of tasks of significant technical, managerial and organizational responsibility with experience in developing countries. Contracts for cooperators can be for short missions (less than four months) or longer missions (four to twenty-four months).

Salaries vary depending on experience and skills.

The description of the professional profile can be found on the website
The expert in cooperation projects carries out research activities in the sociological, anthropological and economic fields, aimed at the realization of development programs designed and coordinated by him or her; he/she generally operates with project contracts and a remuneration that varies according to the specific tasks and the duration of the assignment.


Today, there are several roles within the NGOs that depend on the areas of intervention:

  • technical-medical (engineers, architects, surveryors, agronomists, veterinarians, physicians, nurses, biologists, nutritionists…)
  • economic-financial (administrators, logistics experts…)
  • psycho-social (psychologists, educators, instructors, sociologists…)
  • managers (project leaders, coordinators…)


The four basic requirements to aspire to fill a vacancy in an international organization, governmental or otherwise, are:

  • experience;
  •  training;
  •  language skills;
  • abilities/character traits.

Among the most requested skills:

  • training appropriate to the type of intervention to be implemented
  • fluency in at least two languages: English and another language, possibly related to the geographical area of interest
  • mastery of the elements of project management / project cycle
  • experience as an intern, perhaps on a project related to university studies or graduate studies, or as a volunteer in an area of cooperation
  • willingness to travel frequently to developing countries and other areas beset by conflicts or other adversities
  • the capacity to adapt to difficult situations
  • a flexible, problem-solving mentality
  • capacity to multi-task