I went for an interview to work as an engineer for an NGO in India through a UK charity. This was entry level with no previous experience necessary.
These interships are donor funded with two beneficiaries in mind. The students and graduates who need a help getting that initial experience in international projects and the partner who are in need of the technical persons. This is why none of the roles require prior experience. How does one describe, best candidate? Dependent on which side is prioritiesed the selection criteria is very different. Comparing between an enthuthiastic, qualified but unproven candidate and someone who has previous sucessful overseas project. The first presents a risk to the partner and the second does not fulfill that requirement for initial experience. It is impossible to know which the interviewer will deem as more in keeping with the donors intentions.
I hope that this e-mail finds you well. It was really nice to meet you last week but I'm afraid that I don't have the best news for you, unfortunately the place at XXXXXX has been offered to somebody else.At the interview you came across as a really intelligent guy who knew more about development issues than anybody else that we interviewed on the day. The only reason that you were unsuccessful was that you were simply beaten out by an applicant that had mechanical design skills that went far beyond what we were looking for. Again I am sorry we were unable to offer you a place.