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My job: Area Director - Save the Children

Travel, do voluntary work and internships, seize opportunities and don't give up. Detours happen, make sure you fill the waiting with new insights, and build an international network.

Linda Bukåsen

Area Director Middle East and Eastern Europe

Name: Linda Bukåsen
Education: Master in Development Management (UiA), Graduate diploma in Humanitarian Leadership (Deakin University, Australia)  
Year of graduation: 2009
Work Position: Area Director Middle East and Eastern Europe
Employer: Save the Children Norway

Description of your workplace

My work is based in Oslo, usually with frequent travels to countries spanning from Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Palestine to Ukraine and Russia. Save the Children is the world's largest independent organization for children, making a difference to children’s lives in over 120 countries. From emergency relief to long-term development, it helps children to achieve a happy, healthy and secure childhood. It also secures and protects children’s rights – to food, shelter, health care, education and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation.

What does your position entail?

I am heading a section with 6 staff members, and my responsibility is to mobilize funds, political will and attention to improve the situation for children on the ground. We work hand in hand with country offices, partners and other staff members in developing proposals and finalizing reports to donors, and make sure children's perspectives are heard. When I represent Save the Children, I get to meet refugees, school children, parents and community leaders. I speak with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and present the work of Save the Children. Sometimes I also give interview in the Norwegian media, for instance when the situation in Syria, Yemen or Gaza is deteriorating or we achieve important results, like children in Ukraine raising their voice to get their government to sign on to the Safe School Declaration.

How do you experience the relevance of your studies at UiA in your current position?

When I did the Masters' degree at Agder, I already had several years of experience working for the NGO sector (Norwegian Refugee Council, Amnesty international, Latin American Solidarity Group Norway and Save the Children). The Master degree gave me new insights and confidence to apply for more programmatic and internationally oriented jobs, and I have actually had more or less the same title the last 10 years. Working with Middle East and Eastern Europe, with everything that has happened in the region, I feel like I have had a new job every year.

What has meant the most to your career?

A good combination of voluntary work, international experience, lots of travelling and a relevant Masters degree. And a lot of passion for what I do!

What advice would you give students who are seeking a job within the field of development?

Travel, do voluntary work and internships, seize opportunities and don't give up. My international career started working for Disney World in Florida, which provided me with Spanish studies, leading me to Guatemala where I realized I didn't want to work in business, but rather Human rights. Detours happen, make sure you fill the waiting with new insights, and build an international network.