ASPIRE Professional Development Program

You are here

The ASPIRE Program is a unique opportunity for individuals who seek to transform their passion for relief and development work into a career with Catholic Relief Services. Through this structured field-based learning program, ASPIRE participants build skills in key areas of programming and operations while working alongside experienced staff and supporting critical programs. ASPIRE participants benefit from strong supervision, mentoring and regional networking as they prepare for positions of greater responsibility with CRS.

Unique Program Offerings

Learning & Professional Development

  • Practical training: Through hands-on work and training, participants will gain experience and hone their skills in the following core areas: project management, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning, project design and proposal development, partnership and capacity strengthening, communications and operations.

  • Strong supervision: Each participant will be paired with an experienced supervisor who will coordinate their work activities, provide timely feedback and regular guidance.

  • Mentorship: Each participant will meet regularly with a mentor who will engage them in meaningful discussions around professional development, provide guidance and career coaching.

  • Customized professional experience: In addition to the core training, participants will build their skills in a specific area related to their professional development goals, and strategically position themselves for onward positions with CRS.

  • Regional networking: Participants will be part of the regional community of practice to share successes, challenges, and lessons learned from their work.

CRS and USAID emergency response team discussing COVID-19 response.
Join us to help advance our goal of serving the world’s most vulnerable through fostering just and peaceful societies.

Meaningful Work

Make a Difference

Together with experienced CRS staff and partners, ASPIRE participants will make great strides to end poverty and promote peace and self-reliance in countries around the world. While supporting CRS’ critical work in programming and operations, they will contribute to strategic and sustainable development projects in various sectors (such as health, agriculture, education, disaster risk reduction and emergency response, peacebuilding) and gain experience in the core operational areas (such as human resources, supply chain, finance) that make this programming possible.

ASPIRE participants will learn how CRS strengthens local governments’ and organizations’ ability to address the challenges in their communities and countries. As part of their comprehensive practical training, ASPIRE participants will gain hands-on experience in project design, management and operations. Illustrative activities include:

  • Participating in project design workshops
  • Supporting real-time project assessments and data collection
  • Developing and implementing monitoring and accountability frameworks
  • Writing reports and project proposals
  • Preparing communication materials
  • Organizing learning events
  • Supporting operations (Human Resources, Finance, Security)
CRS emergency response team member viewing destruction of village due to flooding.
CRS responds during the most critical periods of natural disasters and humanitarian crises to save lives and alleviate suffering.

Learn more about our holistic approach and programming areas.

Participating Countries

East Africa

The ASPIRE Program is currently offered in some of the countries where CRS serves in East Africa. Follow the links below to learn about CRS’ history and current work in each location. For emerging talent in West Africa, CRS offers the Junior Professionals Program.

People wait to be processed at UNHCR Refugee Verification Center in the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement.

Eligibility Requirements

Candidate Profile

We seek diverse and qualified candidates and welcome people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field (e.g. International Development, Agriculture, Health, Business, Communications, Public Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Supply Chain)
  • Graduated within 24 months of program start date (degree conferred between Sept 2022 – Sept 2024)
  • Strong speaking and writing skills in English
  • National of a participating country
  • Willingness to travel (up to 25% of the time)
  • Willing to be based in field offices during and after program
  • Excels in collaborative, multicultural environment
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving and research skills
  • Agile, proactive, results-oriented
  • Ethiopia, Somalia –female applicants only

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of local languages (see FAQ for details)
  • Persons living with disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Kenya - Master's degree
In Ethiopia, CRS staff prepare for a food distribution as part of the Joint Emergency Response Program (JEOP) funded by USAID.
CRS is looking for qualified, professional individuals who are committed to international relief and development work.

Application & Selection

Application Process

All applicants to the ASPIRE Program must apply online, following the three simple steps outlined below. Before completing the online application, candidates should review the eligibility requirements and prepare a motivation letter that addresses an inspiring leader of their choice. Please visit the FAQs for additional information and instructions.

Prepare your motivation letter
(please refer to FAQ for writing prompt)

Prepare your CV or resume

Apply online


We will welcome applications for the next class of ASPIRE Fellows in June 2025. Please revisit our webpage at that time to apply.

Selection Process & Timing

We are reviewing applications received for the 2024 program.

Strong candidates will be contacted in August for an in-person interview. We will extend offers to the finalists in September, after conducting background and reference checks. The 2024 ASPIRE Program will begin in October.

Due to the high volume of applications and rolling basis of the review, candidates will only be contacted if and when they advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Meet the Recent ASPIRE Graduates

Elizabeth Munisi photo

Elizabeth Munisi


Elizabeth attended the University of Dar es Salaam where she pursued a degree in Geography and Environmental studies. She describes herself as passionate and talented and feels a strong sense of responsibility to care for her community, particularly marginalized groups. She has a keen interest in uplifting youth communities by striving to be a kind and supportive role model. Elizabeth hopes to continue working on youth and gender related projects in her career.

Glena Mokeira photo

Glena Mokeira

East Africa Regional Office

Glena’s interests lie at the cross-section of climate change, sustainability, and community development. She is motivated by her belief that she is a life-long learner and approaches every moment, conversation, and interaction as a learning opportunity. She is eager to absorb as much as she can at CRS in order to build a fulfilling and impactful career in environmental management and sustainable development. Glena plans to continue building her skills in programming but remains open to all opportunities that come her way.

Sheila Kinyamasyo photo

Sheila Kinyamasyo


Sheila’s intrigue behind the supply of goods and materials to people led her to study procurement and business logistics. However, her drive to pursue relief and development work was born from her conviction that all human life is special and should be treated with dignity. Sheila is confident that strengthening her supply chain and operations management skills will position her to best support programs that promote the highest human potential in just and peaceful environments.

Esther Kamugo

Esther Kamugo


Esther is an education enthusiast with an innovative mind. She is trained in Educational Administration and Policy and is committed to serving vulnerable populations by championing educational programs for local communities. A fierce advocate for sustainable development initiatives, Esther looks forward to bringing out the best version of herself both personally and professionally.

Baraa Mohamed

Baraa Mohamed


Baraa Mohamed first started her work in the humanitarian and development sector as a volunteer with a local NGO. In line with her interests in challenging herself and acquiring new skills, she later pursued a master’s degree in international law. Baraa was drawn to CRS because she saw an opportunity to develop her technical toolkit through field-based learning. She hopes to continue building her skills in program design and management to further build her career.

Engage With Us

Let's Talk

We encourage you to join us for a webinar on the ASPIRE Program. Our webinars are an opportunity for you to informally exchange with our team—learn more about CRS and the ASPIRE Program, ask your questions, etc. We offer webinars on the dates and times listed below. Choose a session that works for you and join by simply clicking on this link or calling +1 443-290-6516, conference ID: 425725839#

Information Sessions

Friday, June 7, 2024
1:00pm - 2:00pm EAT

Wednesday, June 19, 2024
2:00pm - 3:00pm EAT

Wednesday, July 3, 2024
4:00pm - 5:00pm EAT

All times are noted in Eastern Africa Time (UTC +3).

Resty Nambajo (orange shirt), 16, who is in Grade S3, interacts with her mother while taking part in a Sinovuyo training in Kaleere village, Ddwaniro subcounty, Rakai district, Uganda.
We work with communities to drive lasting change by combating poverty, violence, and injustice.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

We are glad you are interested in learning more about the ASPIRE Program. In our FAQs, we strive to answer questions you may have around the application and selection process, career opportunities, and more. For additional information, please join an information session or contact us via email.

ASPIRE in East Africa: [email protected]


CRS' Will Baxter, Regional Information Officer for East Africa, with Terhas Clark, Communications and Disability Program Specialist for CRS/Ethiopia, interviewing beneficiaries of the USAID-funded Joint Emergency Response Program (JEOP) in Ethiopia.
CRS actively engages and empowers community members around the world.

More Opportunities

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

CRS is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Selection and hiring decisions are made without regard to sex, gender identity, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color, veteran status or any other protected area.

We are committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If, due to a medical condition or disability, you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the employment process, please email [email protected].