Certificate in the Essentials of Humanitarian Practice (credit rated option)

Date: 20 - 24 Mar 2017
Length: 5 days
Location: London, UK
Residential: No

About the course:

Are you ready for the realities of relief work?  Essentials of Humanitarian Practice will give you an insight into life working in the field. This workshop also aims to increase your understanding of the characteristics of emergencies induced by natural disasters and conflict and the requirements for an effective humanitarian response.  You will learn how to work in a team in an emergency environment and identify individual responsibilities.

Practical learning is at the heart of the course.  During the week, we will put you at the centre of an emergency response in an engaging simulation.  This will challenge your motivations and beliefs, giving you firsthand understanding of what it is like to work in the field. You will also have the chance to explore your own motivations for engaging in humanitarian work.

What does the course cover?

  • Humanitarian context
  • Concept of humanitarian principles
  • International humanitarian system
  • Accountability
  • International law
  • Needs assessment
  • Individual responsibility
  • Potential impacts and dilemmas of humanitarian response
  • Cross-cutting themes such as gender, culture and security
  • Reflection on your own motivations and competencies for relief work

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Explain the characteristics of natural disasters and complex emergencies
  • Describe the different activities required for a comprehensive response to an emergency situation
  • Analyse the roles and relationships of humanitarian agencies and the people affected by disasters
  • Describe and apply international legal instruments and humanitarian principles to a humanitarian response
  • Discuss potential impacts and dilemmas associated with humanitarian responses
  • Demonstrate and understanding of the key skills and personal attributes required for an effective humanitarian response
  • Apply skills of teamwork, coordination, communication and cultural sensitivity in a simulation environment
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key skills, personal attributes and competencies required for an effective humanitarian response
  • Reflect on and evaluate your individual performance in relation to these key skills, attributes and competencies
  • Identify further personal development steps

Who should attend?

This is an introductory course suitable for anyone who has recently started working in or is thinking about entering the humanitarian sector, including staff of humanitarian aid organisations, governments, UN agencies, and individuals actively seeking work in the sector. There are no prerequisites for this course. All participants are expected to have theoretical knowledge of humanitarianism, although humanitarian aid experience is not presumed.

Course structure:

Registration will take place from 8.45 am the Monday morning.  The course will run from 9 am and conclude at 5.30 pm daily. Each day is broken up into four sessions, separated by an hour lunch break and coffee/ tea breaks in the morning and afternoon.
From the second day, each day begins with a review of the topics covered the previous day to ensure that the concepts, tools, and frameworks are fully understood. Every day ends with a period of reflection, evaluation, and questions.

Participants will be actively encouraged to engage in classroom discussions, group work and a desk based simulation. The trainers will draw on both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to make the experience and learning applicable to the realities of humanitarian practice.

Day 1

The theme of the first day is ‘The Humanitarian Context’. Following registration and introductions, you will be introduced to the humanitarian context and humanitarianism, including its codes and standards. The course will delve into the legal framework in the afternoon and then examine the international relief system  and the cluster approach in the last session of the day.

Day 2

‘The Humanitarian Professional’ is the theme of day two. You will begin the day by examining your motivations for entering into humanitarian relief work.  The course will move in to discussing individual responsibility in relief work later in the morning. After lunch, the course covers accountability to beneficiaries before examining the subject of teamwork , leadership, and building trust. There is an optional session on the assessment process at the very end of the day, concluding at 18.00 pm, which is recommended if you wish to work toward the credit-rated certificate.

Day 3

The theme of day three is ‘Putting it into Practice’. You will learn about needs assessment in the first session, paying attention to gender and cultural awareness. The majority of the day will be spent on a hands-on operation planning simulation The day will conclude with a discussion on working with the media.

Day 4

‘Reflecting on Practice’ is the theme of the fourth day. The entirety of the day will be spent working on, presenting, and debriefing an operation planning simulation.

Day 5

The theme of the last day is ‘The Realities’. You will begin the day with a discussion of personal and team security. Next, the course will guide you through the impacts and dilemmas of relief work, including the Do No Harm principle. Later on, you will look at psychological health and the realities and perspectives of a returned relief worker.

Later on, in a session aimed at helping you find a job in the sector, you will learn about the HR and recruitment side of humanitarian practice. The course examined what agencies want, tailoring your CV for the humanitarian sector, jobs and roles, training, volunteering and internships, employment resources, making a personal action plan.

The last session is reserved for wrapping up the course: recapping the key points, answering any lingering questions, completing course evaluations, and receiving your certificates of completion.

The credit-rated assessment:

The Certificate in the Essentials of Humanitarian Practice is a competency based, assessed course worth 10 Masters level credits that can be transferred to the Masters in Development and Emergency Practice (DEP) from Oxford Brookes University or other similar postgraduate qualifications. For more information about this and the other credit rated courses that RedR offers click here

Please note there is a 15% additional fee to take the course as credit-rated. Full terms and conditions of the credit-rating can be found here.


The course will be taught by one of the following facilitators.

Stephen Blakemore

Jane Davies

Tony Dines

Justine Tordoff

Phil Candy

Lizzy Openshaw


The fees are inclusive of all training resources, lunch, and refreshments. For further information on pricing bands please use the link on the right.


Early Bird Fee

Standard Fee

Credit-rating Fee

Band A 

  • Those working for southern national & local NGOs
  • Full-time students




Band B 

  • Individuals funding themselves
  • Those working for charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1million/$1.5million




Band C  

  • Those working for charitable organisations with an annual income greater than £1million/$1.5million




Band D 

  • Those working for commercial, governmental and intergovernmental organisations





Early bird fee: Book and pay up to a month in advance to receive a 10% discount through our early bird scheme. 

For more information please contact our training team. Please click here to read our full terms and conditions.

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