About the Award Fund
The Award Fund was set up in 1989 to assist young British citizens (now extended to include long-term UK residents) suitably qualified in agriculture, forestry and related fields to gain appropriate training and experience in developing countries. Since its formation over 150 graduates has been sponsored in some 40 developing countries. These awardees have gone on to careers in development, consultancy, aid agencies, universities and commercial companies.
What the Fund Does
For some years it has been difficult for young people to obtain the initial overseas work experience essential for securing permanent employment in the field of development. The aim of the Award Fund is to offer advice on project opportunities through which applicants can gain the necessary work experience, and to assist in the provision of funding for travel and subsistence and other essentials. TAAF does not fund degrees or other qualifications, though in some circumstances it may fund fieldwork undertaken as part of a degree. Funds come from TAA members, companies, charitable organisations and private individuals.
How the Fund Works
Applications are considered by a selection committee whose members have experienced development workers from government, aid agencies, industry, consulting firms, universities and colleges. In the selection procedure, consideration is given to the applicant’s academic record and work experience, the merits of the project on which he or she will work, its relevance and likely benefit to the country concerned. Much importance is given to the individual’s commitment to long-term work in development.
The TAAF has charitable status. It makes monetary awards of up to £2,000 to young British nationals or long-term UK residents who possess suitable qualifications and experience. It helps them to pay airfares, living allowances and other necessary expenses thus enabling them to take on unpaid assignments and obtain overseas work experience with agencies engaged in rural development.
Normally, candidates find their own placement with a host institution overseas. Formal confirmation of the institution’s willingness to host the applicant is required with the application. If TAAF becomes aware of possible placements, details will be put on the website for candidates to follow up. Applications must be received by TAAF prior to the commencement of the placement.
Support offered to awardees includes the appointment of a mentor with professional knowledge and experience of the country and sector in which the awardee will work. Temporary membership of the TAA is also offered, with access to the Association’s Journal (Agriculture for Development) and database. The mentor assists the awardee before, during and following the assignment, to help him or her in fulfilling the project objectives and continuing his or her career.
Experience of previous awardees
“My experience gained in Kenya was valuable in obtaining my post in the Ghana Association for the Conservation of Nature”.
“I am indebted to TAAF for enabling me to work in India giving me an invaluable opportunity to work within a sustainable agricultural development and further skills both professional and personal. It has been a right of passage and an inspiration for me.”
“My experience in a college in Venezuela helped me gain employment with Action Aid where I became Head of Policy. I am now with the Department for International Development in London.”
“I just thought I’d let you know that I have just accepted a PhD studentship working on rural livelihoods adaptation to climate change in Uganda. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to carry on working in the field of international development. There is no doubt that the work experience I accumulated in Ethiopia and India which was made possible by the TAA opened the door for this opportunity and so I want to thank the TAA for their support and to carry on their good work.”
Early Careers Facebook Group
A Facebook page has been created for use by early-career members to promote and facilitate conversations related to international agricultural development about careers, projects and related questions with our peers. Just search for the Tropical Agriculture Association under Facebook pages. You will need to be approved initially. Please do sign up if you are setting out on your career and contribute to the conversations that we hope will develop.