Updated: Dec 14, 2018
Devex [Dev-Ex], noun. / dev-ɛ́ks / a. The media platform for the global development community. b. The social enterprise working to make the $200 billion aid and development industry do more good for more people. c. The largest provider of recruiting and business development services for global development
As a social enterprise, we often consider how best to measure this progress and our role in it. I can tell you that we’ve saved charities and NGOs the tens of millions of dollars they used to spend on print advertising — money they can now direct to their programs. I can point to the growth of our community to now 700,000 registered members who are accessing the news and information we provide. But these data points don’t tell the story.
What matters most — and what seems hard to overstate — is the positive impact of helping the best organization win the tender, guiding a capable local NGO to the right foundation, or matching a gifted person to the perfect development job. When an intrepid Devex reporter gets the inside story and informs development executives everywhere about an important new trend, we like to think it matters.
“IT ALL STARTED WITH A SIMPLE IDEA...”
...that development and aid workers deserve a media platform as professional and committed as they are.
And for a few friends eager to do something good, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Back then there was no online community for global development professionals, no single source of news, insights and information critical to the business of doing good. So, 15 years ago, we dropped out of graduate school, quit our jobs and got to work
"It was hard going"
It was hard going — harder than we expected — to convince aid agencies, development banks, and implementers who had been around for decades that the world was changing faster than it seemed. Development wasn’t going to remain an “us-and-them” proposition with dotted lines connecting donors in London and Washington to nongovernmental organizations and contractors in those same cities and finally to beneficiaries across the globe. Today’s development industry looks more like a bowl of spaghetti, and that’s a good thing.
Globalization and competition have come to development as they have to every other industry, and if Devex has played a part in that, we’re proud of it. We’ve tried to democratize aid, demystifying how you start a career at UNICEF or win a grant from EuropeAid. Nothing can describe the feeling of meeting an African engineer who tells you she couldn’t get a job working on a development project in her own country until she found Devex.
Development is less and less an insider’s club. If you’re a committed professional, there’s a place for you. It’s still harder than it should be for those in the “global south,” but it’s getting better. Innovation, entrepreneurship and growth are the watchwords for today’s development community. Things are moving.