During your placement you will receive continuous professional support and supervision from Progressio and the partner organisation hosting you. From the moment you arrive in the country, you will be met by Progressio staff and you will be supported throughout your placement.

A Progressio development worker is neither a volunteer nor a consultant. Instead of receiving a salary, Development workers will receive a monthly living allowance (plus other benefits), which is in line with that of local professionals working in the development/charity sector of the country in which they are placed.

Living allowance

The living allowance is a monthly lump sum figure and covers: moderate cost of living in the country of placement; costs associated with dependants (should you have any); and National Insurance/Social Security contributions or other provision for the future which a development worker may have in their home country.

The living allowance is based on local costs, is fixed and non-negotiable for the duration of the placement, paid on a monthly basis (in arrears) and into a bank account in the country of the placement. The living allowance can only be paid in the country of the placement.

For every vacancy there is a placement description. At the end of the placement description, under the section Terms and Conditions, you will be able to read about the living allowance and the other benefits for the placement.

What does the benefits package include?

Aside from the living allowance, the benefits package includes:

  • A one to two-year placement (the placement length is always defined in the placement description).
  • A pre-departure grant. If you are not already resident in the country of placement then you are entitled to a pre-departure grant before your departure. This grant is to cover items such as: clothing and sundry items, costs of medical and dental examinations, inoculations, passport and passport photos, the cost of personal freight, etc.
  • Progressio pays, and makes the arrangements for, air travel (in economy class) to your country of posting on an agreed date. You will receive a single flight back to your country of permanent residence at the end of your placement (for non-residents of the country of placement).
  • Accommodation (normally a one to two bedroom flat/house). The development worker is responsible for paying the utility bills, eg water, electricity, gas, telephone, and essential household equipment (for non-residents of the country of placement).
  • Orientation training in country, which normally lasts one to two weeks, after which the development worker will begin their placement.
  • Accident and emergency insurance cover.
  • 20 days holiday per year, plus public and national holidays as relevant in the country where you are placed.
  • Language training in-country (if required).

What are the principles behind the allowances?

The following is an excerpt from the Guide for service for development workers,describing Progressio’s principles:

“Whatever the placement, we seek people who have a real commitment to solidarity with poor and marginalised people in the South. Part of this commitment involves living and working alongside our partners and colleagues in comparable conditions.

.… We offer a living allowance that reflects this commitment to our local counterparts, whose commitment to development we share. The living allowance permits a modest lifestyle; it is not an excessively high living allowance that many expatriate workers command. Where housing is provided by Progressio, this is good but not luxurious. Realistic living allowances allow us to maximise the number of DWs we can place in response to the needs of our partners, and to use our limited resources to the best possible end. It is important that DWs understand and accept the ethos of setting living allowances in line with those of local development professionals. We endeavour to set living allowances in the various country programmes that relate both to the local situation and to one another.”

Can I negotiate a higher living allowance?

No. Development workers working in the same country programme, regardless of their years of experience, qualifications, language skills and so forth, get the same living allowance, which is fixed and non-negotiable for the duration of their placement.

What about the visa to work in the host country?

Progressio is responsible for securing and paying for your visa and/or work permit. In all the countries where we work, Progressio has agreements with the governments, and this means that you will be working legally in the country for the duration of your placement.

Development workers with families/dependants

For most of our placements we welcome development workers with accompanying dependants. For some placements, due to funding constraints, we are unable to consider candidates with accompanying dependants. We always recommend that you check the Terms and Conditions section of the placement description, to find out if the placement you wish to apply for allows for accompanying dependants.

For the placements where we consider candidates wishing to bring accompanying dependants for the duration of their placements, Progressio covers the following:

  • Travel costs at the beginning and end of placement (for non-residents of the country of placement);
  • Accident and Emergency Insurance Cover, and
  • Costs associated with pregnancy. 

Progressio does not provide an augmented living allowance for development workers with accompanying dependants. If you bring dependants with you to the country of placement, your living allowance will remain the same.

Preparing for your placement

Before joining your partner organisation you will receive orientation training in London and/or in your country of placement.

We place great emphasis on orientation to prepare you to live and work in a different environment and culture, and to adapt your skills to the needs of Progressio's partners.

Your in-country orientation programme normally lasts one to two weeks, and covers:

  • The country's history and its social, economic and political situation
  • Local culture and traditions
  • Information about the project(s) and organisation(s) you will work with
  • Language teaching (if necessary)
  • Information about Progressio (mission, vision, values, current and future priorities)
  • Progressio's approach to development
  • Progressio’s monitoring and evaluation framework (Regular Impact and Capacity Assessment – RICA)
  • Meeting other development workers and understanding their work
  • Networking with other organisations
  • Practical issues (eg security guidelines, opening a bank account, health and living conditions)
  • Legal requirements (visas and work permits).