Host a Junior Assistant

Find out how to host a Junior Assistant in your organisation

The advantages

Costs and responsabilities


Future staff for your organisation


Since 2013, each non-governmental development cooperation organisation that is approved by the Belgian State may apply for affiliation to the Junior Programme. Affiliation allows an NGA (non-governmental actor) to host Junior Assistants in its projects in partner countries of governmental development cooperation.

Currently, 21 Belgian NGOs are affiliated to the Junior Programme.


The advantages...

There are many advantages to having a Junior Assistant (JA) work with you.
The Junior Assistant :

  1. has gone through a thorough selection procedure, guaranteeing good recruits.
  2. has one of the many Junior Assistant profiles: geographer, civil engineer, architect, economist, jurist, agricultural engineer, psychologist, communicator, sociologist…
    We endeavour to pool as broad as possible a range of profiles in order to meet the varied needs from the field;
  3. is a professional contributing to your project/programme. It is extra (wo)manpower for at least 1 and up to 2 years with very few costs for the project. The Junior Assistant takes on duties that offer a genuine added value for the project;
  4. concentrates 100% on tasks that you would like to achieve but for which you have either insufficient time or competences;
    For instance, making a geographic database, or training colleagues or a group of beneficiaries in a new approach/tool. For more examples, check the various tasks of former;        
  5. provides your project with qualified know-how and new technical knowledge and/or competences;
  6. often offers new insights, introduces an external vision to the project and raises questions that may encourage thinking;
  7. shows a lot of enthusiasm and motivates people around him or her, which may bring dynamism to the project;
  8. may establish interfaces between projects, even of different organisations, because of the relations with other Junior Assistants in these projects, because of the JA’s curiosity, or the desire to explore other aspects of cooperation;
  9. receives a mandatory pre-departure briefing in Brussels. This briefing introduces Junior Assistants to professional aspects of development cooperation and prepares them to living and working in a different cultural setting;
  10. has a training budget in support to the development of the Junior's competences. Thus, the Junior Assistant can further develop certain competences during the contract term in order to better fulfil job requirements.


Costs and responsabilities

When one of your projects hosts a Junior Assistant (JA), the Junior Programme asks you to contribute, especially in supporting the Junior Assistant.
Most financial costs are borne by the Junior Programme though.


What does the Junior Programme cover?

  • The monthly gross salary of 1,446.09 euro (minimum wage in Belgium)
  • Payment of accommodation costs (following ceiling fixed by country)
  • Payment of fees for overseas social security (ORPSS)
  • Payment of a 13th month, family allowances and double holiday allowance
  • Accident, hospitalisation and repatriation insurance
  • A contribution 556 euro towards luggage transportation (for both outbound and return)
  • One round-trip flight ticket per year
  • Certain costs related to expatriation: vaccines, visa, passport…
  • An individual training budget of 1000 euro/year which the Junior Assistant can use in view of own work but also to pursue own career plans
  • A portable computer, including primary software.

In addition to the costs related to sending and employing a JA in the field, the Junior Programme also covers:

  • the whole selection procedure of (an approximate annual 600) candidates;
  • the pre-departure preparation and briefing of Junior Assistants.


What your organisation must provide

  1. The operational costs
    Only the functioning costs of the Junior Assistant in the field must be borne by the project: costs for missions, costs for equipment (office furniture, specific software…), telephone bills, etc.
  2. Administrative support for obtaining residence/work permits
    Since the JA will work in your project, the administrative process for the JA obtaining work and residence permits from the authorities of the country of assignment must be prepared.
  3. Ensure security, jointly with BTC 
    The organisation hosting a JA must also provide a security briefing and ensure security rules are respected by the JA in the field, such as rules concerning travel, transportation, sites to avoid, communication in case a problem emerges, etc. Security is the only support domain where the NGO and BTC share responsibilities – even with the JA being assigned to the NGO. In fine, BTC remains the final employer of the JA. The JA must respect the strictest rule, which may be either the BTC or the NGO's rule. Good communication about the security rules of each organisation and good communication between the coach of the NGO and BTC's Resident Representative are prerequisites.
  4. Coaching
    Only personal coaching can ensure this kind of experience for a young professional to be a genuine success. The Junior Programme attaches much importance to this aspect. In the field, a Junior Assistant is always coached in his/her work by a 'coach', under whose direct responsibility the Junior works.

We expect the coach to support the JA in :

  • elaborating the own action plan based on agreed objectives and bringing it to good end;
  • finding own solutions;
  • making most of the Junior's potential; and
  • gradually achieving more autonomy and responsibility.

The coach of a Junior Assistant is :

  • first and foremost a support function and,
  • in the second place a means to evaluate the work done.



The Junior Programme provides the coaches with a coaching guide as well as regional training sessions in coaching and support of the Brussels-based Junior Programme team.

Definitions of coaching

The two following definitions summarize our approach to coaching rather well :


  • Coach – guide
    Coaching can be defined as a relevant method for guiding the learning process of the coachee (= Junior Assistant - JA). This method is designed in such a way that the coachee can function independently in the organisation. Coaching aims at the development of the full potential and the skills of the coachee in view of higher performance and of personal and professional well-being.
  • Coach – evaluator
    The coach of a Junior Assistant may also occasionally have to take on the role of an evaluator assessing the work done; the coach is always responsible for approving requests for leave and training, among others


Coaching criteria

For a coach to correctly assume his/her duties, the Junior Programme requires that the coach :

  • is in the same country as the JA, even though not necessarily in the same place of assignment;
  • limits coaching to maximum 2 Junior Assistants;
  • is under a direct employment contract with the Belgian organisation that is affiliated to the Junior Programme (BTC or NGO) and the duration of which contract allowing to take on the coaching role for at least the first year of the JA's contract ;
  • does not have the technical background for which the JA has required technical support from (a) technical resource person(s).
    (For instance, an agricultural coach introduces a request to coach a communication JA. The coach may consequently identify a resource person to assist the JA from a technical/communications point of view);  
  • commits to establishing a coaching contract with the Junior Assistant, i.e. defines to regularly meet with the JA to discuss his/her objectives and any professional problems encountered;
  • commits to meeting the Junior Assistant at least 4 times per year – during development circle meetings – during which constructive feedback is given on the work delivered.


Witness accounts of coaches

Here are some extracts of coaches witness accounts.
Coming soon in the videos zone.


       Line Risch, coach, 11-11-11 Burundi, 2013-2015
« It's very interesting to host a JA in one's project, because one can learn from the other. »


       Erasmo Otarola, coach CTB Pérou, 2011-2015
« For young professionals to achieve their goals and reach fixed results, the coach must guide them in a personal way. On the other hand, as a coach, one must progressively give them more and more responsibility. It is surprising to what extent they can successfully complete work when using this approach. »


       Denis Ripoche, coach VSF Mali, 2010-2012
«  The Junior Assistant provided the basis for a closer follow-up because of the time he had to do so – which we did not have – and this was really of help to us. Based on his follow-up and the weaknesses that he had identified, our organisation has redesigned the programme which now has become one of the flagship programmes in the region. »


   Laurent Messiaen, coach CTB Rwanda, 2008-2016
« Our Junior Assistants often took on research and development tasks developing new tools and methods with the partner institution, which we could never have done because all workers under the programme focused – as scheduled – on the advancement of the programme and not on anything beyond what was prescribed or planned. »


Future staff for your organisation

The Junior Programme has noticed that more and more organisations ask for services of a Junior Assistant for their projects, and also that they increasingly recruit former Junior Assistants.



Approximately 60% of Junior Assistants further pursue a career in the development cooperation sector after their Junior Programme experience. Half of them work for an NGO. NGOs appreciate the competences and know-how that the JAs have acquired during their time in the field.
Read the complete study on former Juniors in the « Documents » part.

The Junior Programme and former Junior Assistants share job ads in the sector through their Facebook group.
So, please do not hesitate to forward any job opening from your organisation to the Junior Programme team to have the network of former Juniors notified.


Affiliation of your NGO

Request fo a Junior Assistant


Only organisations affiliated to the Junior Programme can apply to host a Junior Assistant.
In addition to the Belgian development agency (BTC) the following Belgian organisations are already affiliated:

If your organisation is not affiliated yet, you must follow the affiliation procedure before being able to apply to host a Junior Assistant.




Affiliation of your NGO

To be affiliated your organisation must fulfil the following criteria.

Affiliation criteria

  1. Be an NGA approved by the Belgian State in accordance with Article 26 of the Law of 19 March 2013 on Development Cooperation
  2. Manage project(s)/programme(s) in one or several partner countries of governmental cooperation, as the Junior Assistants may only be sent out to these countries:

Senegal, Benin,

Rwanda, Uganda,


Niger, Mali,

Tanzania, Mozambique,

Burundi *

Burkina Faso, Guinée

Palestinian Territoires

RDCongo *

Remarque * : The Junior Programme may currently not send out Junior Assistants to these two last countries, DRC and Burundi.
Beside these 14 partner countries, the Junior Programme can still send JAs until half 2017 to former partner countries Bolivia, Peru, Vietnam and Algeria.

3. The project(s)/programme(s) relate(s) to sector and thematic concentration domains referred to in Articles 11 and 19 of the Law of 19 March 2013 on Development Cooperation:

Agriculture and food security Health care
(including access to health for all, access to reproductive health and the fight against major endemics, including the transversal approach to HIV/AIDS)

Gender Equality

Education and training Protection of the environment and natural resources
(including the fight against climate change, droughts and global deforestation)


Basic infrastructure Human rights
(including chikdren's rights)

Sustainable and decent work


4. Have expatriate or local staff under an employment contract in the field (= in a partner country of the Belgian Development Cooperation). The Junior Programme actually requires a person under employment contract of the Belgian NGA to be designated as the coach of the Junior Assistant (JA).

5fully adhere to

  • the 2 agreements (one agreement between BTC and the NGA and one three-party agreement between BTC, the NGA and the JA)
  • and the 2 guidelines (JA + coach) proposed by BTC.

Affiliation procedure

If your organisation fulfils the 5 affiliation criteria, we invite you to:

  • complete the affiliation form by mentioning a contactperson of the NGA head office being the focal point for the Junior Programme;
  • complete the NGO-BTC convention;
  • have these two documents signed by the representative of your organisation and send the originals in 2 copies to the Junior Programme

Junior Programme – BTC
To the attention of Monica Quintens

Rue Haute 147
B- 1000 Brussels

Next, a consultative Committee consisting of representatives of the Belgian development agency BTC, of the Junior Programme, of DGD and of the Belgian NGO federations (Acodev and NGO federatie) will analyse this request in view of approval.

For more information :  - +32 (0) 2 / 505.18.34


Request for a Junior Assistant


Criteria of a Junior Assistant job

The projects must guarantee certain criteria to ensure that the job descriptions submitted are validated by the Junior Programme. The project must be able to ensure:

  • a safe environment for the Junior Assistant;
  • that the duration of the project allows for signing a one-year contract at least as from obtaining country agreement. The project can choose from three contract period formulas: 
    • 1 year
    • 1 year with a possible extension for a second year
    • 2 years
  • that the project is in a partner country of the Belgian governmental cooperation or in a former partner country:
    Senegal, Benin, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinée, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Palestinian Territoires, Morocco, Bolivia*, Peru*, Vietnam* and Algeria*
    (* Request for these countries are possible only until March 2017)
  • that the JA is supported (welcoming, coaching and follow-up...) throughout the JA's contract term.
    The distinguishing feature of the Junior Programme lies in the aspect of "coaching" the JA. It is important that the designated coach and the JA can regularly meet in order to ensure proper follow-up. See chapter on « coaching »,  A JA for your project, Coaching for more information on the role tasks and responsibilities of the coach;
  • that the need for and the request of a JA is defined and established in consultation with the partner. It is important that the partner is in favour of the arrival of a JA so his or her integration in the project becomes easier;
  • that the added value of the presence of one or more JAs for the project or the programme is identified and that the pitfall of substitution is avoided;
  • that the JA has the opportunity to get in touch with the local circumstances, to undertake actions that directly involve him or her in development and to better understand the functioning of the structure of development cooperation in the field;
  • that a budget is earmarked to cover the functioning costs of the JA (for instance, costs for missions to the field, purchase of specific equipment, communication equipment…).


Hosting Application procedure

If your organisation is already affiliated and you want to call for Junior Assistants in the near future, you must:

  1. submit your requests for Junior Assistants 2 times per year, by 30 March and by 30 September.
    Acodev and NGO federatie also inform their networks of the dates of « the calls » for the Junior Programme;
  2. identify the potential junior assistance needs of the project and ensure that the logistical means (transportation etc.) and financing allow the project to host a JA for a period of at least one year;
  3. submit your request, by completing the 2 job description templates 
    1. Part I: Description section
    2. Part II: Administrative section
      These sections have to be filled out by the person who takes on the role of coach of the Junior Assistant The coach must ensure that the key persons (direct colleagues, partners…) are involved in the JA's terms of reference;
  4. have the request analysed and validated by the representative of your organisation in the country of assignment. If your project is managed by a Belgian NGO, the NGO representative must send the forms to the focal point designated at the head office of the NGO. Please inform yourself to know who is the focal point (FP) within your organisation;
  5. The « Junior Programme » focal point at the head office of the NGO or – for a BTC project – the BTC Resident Representative centralises the requests and forwards them, following the calendar for calls, to the Junior Programme's contact person;
  6. The recruited Junior Assistant will leave approximately 6 months later.



  • Clearly identifying tasks and responsibilities as from the first stage of the process is a key to success. The JA as well as the project team will feel better upon arrival of the JA in the project.
  • We insist on the genuine added value that the JA will bring as well as on his/her empowerment and involvement in a very specific project assignment. That is why it is important to clearly define the expected output in the job description.
  • To the extent that we cannot guarantee that we will « find the profile looked for » in our recruitment pool, it is important that the task assigned to the JA does not block further progress of activities if the job opening is not filled.
  • When drawing up the job description, keep in mind that the Descriptive section (Section I) will be published as such on the internet to the attention of candidates. So, be clear and specific in the description (avoid abbreviations, explain technical terms…) so candidates, who are not familiar with the context or project, can understand the job and expectations. The Administrative section of the job (Section II) is an internal document.


A request does not guarantee supply

Submitting a request for a JA does not provide a guarantee that the Junior Programme will effectively be able to assign a JA to the job opening.  Between 35% to 45% of job openings are filled following selection by the Junior Programme.

There may be several reasons for this:

  • No candidate has applied for the job.
    The candidates themselves choose for which job openings they apply. The clarity and attractiveness of the job description play an important role in this respect.
  • It may also be that the job profile is simply not available in our recruitment pool.
    Some profiles are less well represented than others in our pool: for instance, ICT experts are much demanded, but only few candidates apply.  The Junior Programme provides a list of the profiles in the recruitment pool when launching « the call for JA requests » in order to allow the project to assess whether their request stands a chance.
  • Finally, the Junior Programme receives many requests from the field. However, the Junior Programme does not have the financial means to fill up all these demands. That is why preference will be given to the best « job opening – candidate » match. But this should not stop you from submitting the request again on the occasion of a later call. In as far as possible and where candidates are available, we try to take into account the fact that the job opening was not filled on an earlier occasion and to give priority to it later.