Each non-governmental development cooperation actor that is approved by the Belgian State may apply for affiliation to the Junior Programme. Affiliation allows an NGA (non-governmental actor) to host Junior Experts in its projects in partner countries of governmental development cooperation.
Currently, 23 Belgian NGAs are affiliated to the Junior Programme.
There are many advantages to having a Junior Expert (JE) work with you.
The Junior Expert :
- has gone through a thorough selection procedure, guaranteeing good recruits.
- has one of the many Junior Expert profiles: geographer, civil engineer, architect, economist, jurist, agricultural engineer, psychologist, communicator, sociologist…
a broad range of profiles in order to meet the varied needs from the field;
- is a professional contributing to your project/programme. It is extra (wo)manpower for at least 1 and up to 2 years with very few costs for the project. The Junior Expert takes on duties that offer a genuine added value for the project;
- concentrates 100% on tasks that you would like to achieve but for which you have either insufficient time or competences;
For instance, making a geographic database, or training colleagues or a group of beneficiaries in a new approach/tool. For more examples, check the various tasks of former Junior Experts;
- provides your project with qualified know-how and new technical knowledge and/or competences;
- often offers new insights, introduces an external vision to the project and raises questions that may encourage thinking;
- shows a lot of enthusiasm and motivates people around him or her, which may bring dynamism to the project;
- may establish interfaces between projects, even of different organisations, because of the relations with other Junior Experts in these projects, because of the JE’s curiosity, or the desire to explore other aspects of cooperation;
- receives a mandatory pre-departure briefing in Brussels. This briefing introduces Junior Experts to professional aspects of development cooperation and prepares them to living and working in a different cultural setting;
- has a training budget in support to the development of the Junior's competences. Thus, the Junior Expert can further develop certain competences during the contract term in order to better fulfil job requirements or to be better prepared to find a job after their Junior Expert contract.
When one of your projects hosts a Junior Expert, the Junior Programme asks you to contribute, especially in supporting the Junior Expert.
Most financial costs are borne by the Junior Programme though.
What does the Junior Programme cover?
- The monthly gross salary of 1,446.09 euro (minimum wage in Belgium)
- Payment of accommodation costs (following ceiling fixed by country)
- Payment of fees for overseas social security (repris par l'ONSS)
- Payment of a 13th month, family allowances and double holiday allowance
- Accident, hospitalisation and repatriation insurance
- A contribution 556 euro towards luggage transportation (for both outbound and return)
- One round-trip flight ticket per year
- Certain costs related to expatriation: vaccines, visa, passport…
- An individual training budget of 1000 euro/year which the Junior Expert can use in view of own work but also to pursue own career plans
In addition to the costs related to sending and employing a JE in the field, the Junior Programme also covers:
- the whole selection procedure of candidates;
- the pre-departure preparation and briefing of Junior Experts.
What your organisation must provide
- The operational costs
Only the functioning costs of the Junior Expert in the field must be borne by the project: costs for missions, costs for equipment (office furniture, portable computer, all necessary software…), telephone bills, etc.
- Administrative support for obtaining residence/work permits
Since the JE will work in your project, the administrative process for the JE obtaining work and residence permits from the authorities of the country of assignment must be prepared and followed until obtaining the necessary documents.
- Ensure security, jointly with Enabel
The organisation hosting a JE must also provide a security briefing and ensure security rules are respected by the JE in the field, such as rules concerning travel, transportation, sites to avoid, communication in case a problem emerges, etc. Security is the only support domain where the NGA and Enabel share responsibilities – even with the JE being assigned to the NGA. In fine, Enabel remains the final employer of the JE. The JE must respect the strictest rule, which may be either the Enabel or the NGA's rule. Good communication about the security rules of each organisation and good communication between the coach of the NGA and Enabel's Resident Representative are prerequisites.
Only appropriate follow-up can make such an experience into a real success for a young professional. The Junior Programme attaches much importance to this aspect. Mostly, the follow-up is done by the (‘+1’) supervisor as well as by an external coach.
In the field, the Junior Expert is part of a team and is accompanied by the supervisor as a full team member. They meet regularly to discuss the Junior Expert’s functioning, the functioning of the team and the evolving package of duties which the Junior Expert is entrusted with. In such a setting, the Junior Expert gradually develops full potential and becomes more autonomous and accountable. The supervisor is under a direct employment contract with the Belgian organisation that is affiliated to the Junior Programme (Enabel or NGA) and the duration of which contract allowing to take on the coaching role for at least the first year of the JA's contract. He has maximum 2 Junior Experts in the team.
In addition, a Junior Expert can rely on external, professional coaching in support of his personal and career development.
Witness accounts of supervisors
Here are some supervisors witness accounts.
Line Risch, supervisor, 11-11-11 Burundi, 2013-2015
« It's very interesting to host a JA in one's project, because one can learn from the other. »
Erasmo Otarola, supervisor Enabel Pérou, 2011-2015
« For young professionals to achieve their goals and reach fixed results, the coach must guide them in a personal way. On the other hand, as a coach, one must progressively give them more and more responsibility. It is surprising to what extent they can successfully complete work when using this approach. »
Denis Ripoche, supervisor VSF Mali, 2010-2012
« The Junior Expert provided the basis for a closer follow-up because of the time he had to do so – which we did not have – and this was really of help to us. Based on his follow-up and the weaknesses that he had identified, our organisation has redesigned the programme which now has become one of the flagship programmes in the region. »
Laurent Messiaen, supervisor Enabel Rwanda, 2008-2016
« Our Junior Experts often took on research and development tasks developing new tools and methods with the partner institution, which we could never have done because all workers under the programme focused – as scheduled – on the advancement of the programme and not on anything beyond what was prescribed or planned. »
The Junior Programme has noticed that more and more organisations ask for services of a Junior Expert for their projects, and also that they increasingly recruit former Junior Experts.
Approximately 60% of Junior Experts further pursue a career in the development cooperation sector after their Junior Programme experience. Half of them work for an NGA. NGAs appreciate the competences and know-how that the JAs have acquired during their time in the field.
Read the complete study on former Juniors in the « Documents » part.
The Junior Programme and former Junior Experts share job ads in the sector through their Facebook group.
So, please do not hesitate to forward any job opening from your organisation to the Junior Programme team firstname.lastname@example.org to have the network of former Juniors notified.