[ Question ]

What are some high-impact paths for a young person in the developing world?

by Aaron Gertler1 min read14th Jun 20215 comments


Career choice

Recently, a teenager from the Gambia wrote a post on the EA subreddit, looking for ideas on how to do good. Based on his post, he seems to have a job already (meaning that he probably isn't a university student from a wealthy family, though it's impossible to say for sure).

He got a lot of responses, but many of them were based on advice for students at highly-ranked universities (or, more broadly, people in the developed world). While 80,000 Hours still has a lot of information that could be useful to someone in his position, I'm sharing the question here in case anyone has more specific advice. The advice doesn't have to be specific to the Gambia, or Africa; I'm also interested in answers that would apply to someone in Bangladesh, Paraguay, Cambodia, etc.

Specific things that could be good to know about:

  • High-impact jobs that are still available (or even more available) to people in developing countries
  • Scholarships or educational programs that help people in developing countries access higher education (particularly abroad)
  • Any other resources that could give someone in this person's position a practical way to move forward

Thanks for your ideas!

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5 Answers

A few biosecurity-oriented answers and opportunities:

This old post of mine on "Effective altruism in non-high-income countries" and the links in the comments might be helpful.

I made a comment on the Reddit post just now - hope that helps!

If he’s seeking to work directly in Gambia on development, perhaps becoming an agricultural researcher or adviser - like an ag extension agent - would be a way for an individual to help many people in his community. According to Access Gambia’s agriculture page, 80% of the population work in agriculture. Considering the difficulty of the short rainy season, maybe he could identify additional crops, specific cultivars, cover crops, co-plantings, or techniques well-suited to the local particulars that would increase agricultural productivity.