In a recent meet-up with former colleagues who are in direct front line positions in development, the inevitable topic came up. Children. I noticed the eyes of one were shining with tears. Professionals in this sector are among the most mobile, the bravest, and toughest. To know their soft and vulnerable side, talk about their children, who are often left with family or relatives back home. And often home is thousands of miles away.
DevEx is running an article Working Moms in International Development which has interesting quotations on the matter:
“There are times when you miss really important things in your children’s lives, or they call you crying because they miss you,” Linda Raftree, senior advisor on ICT4D for Plan International USA, told me. “And you carry that feeling with you that you’ve not given them everything they need because you are off supporting other people and their children, or you are somehow scarring your kids in the long term by your absence.”
The kind of travel that working moms in development must undertake – to poor countries with poor infrastructure – also poses a particular challenge.
“It can be hard to get a call through to home,” said Lainie Thomas, a social development specialist at the Asian Development Bank and mom of four kids, ages 11, 9, 6 and 4. “Flights can be unreliable, which makes getting home on time stressful. Internet might be very expensive or slow and therefore hard to keep in touch.”
When they’re not traveling, some moms work flexible hours, if their employer allows it, or they work from home so they can spend more time with their kids.
The full article here.