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Online course

Introduction to Humanitarian Aid

Discover the history of humanitarian aid and the principles and values that underpin it.

Introduction to Humanitarian Aid

This course is part of the program The Humanitarian World, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a Development and Humanitarian Action degree. Find out more.

Explore guiding principles and approaches used by humanitarian teams.

Earthquake, flood, fire, famine and conflict — we seem to be hearing more about these things every day, and watching as they impact communities all over the world. Fortunately there are organisations trained and ready to assist communities affected by disasters.

On this course you will explore the long history of humanitarianism, learning about the important principles and values that underpin it. You’ll also discover how the humanitarianism works across the globe, understanding how responses to disasters are coordinated and learning more about the various bodies involved.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsNatural and human-induced disasters, or increasingly, a combination of both, can strike populations with little or no warning and have potentially catastrophic results. Whether caused by the earthquake, famine, disease, extreme weather conditions, conflict, or a combination of these, disasters and displacement can have wide-ranging and devastating impacts on entire communities. I'm Associate Professor Phil Connors from Deakin University and the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership. According to the United Nations, the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance has doubled in the past decade.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsThe need for clearly focused and coordinated approaches to disaster management is increasingly important, and addressing the worldwide demand for better preparation, response, and recovery from humanitarian disasters, Deakin University in partnership with Save the Children are pleased to offer you an opportunity to make a difference by participating in its free online course. Examine the codes of conduct associated with disaster management and how various humanitarian response teams come together to work with affected communities. Discover how operations are managed in complex emergencies and how to navigate the relationship between various stakeholders.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 secondsWhether you work in the humanitarian sector or simply have an interest in humanitarian issues, please join me in what promises to be a compelling and thought-provoking learning experience by enrolling in this free online course.

What topics will you cover?

  • the history of humanitarianism
  • the principles and values that underpin humanitarian action
  • different actors and how the system works
  • exploring if localisation is the future of humanitarian action

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore the history of humanitarianism
  • Identify the key principles and values associated with humanitarian action and management
  • Describe the role of the different actors and their relationship before, during and after a humanitarian response.
  • Identify the future of humanitarian action and the role of localisation.

Who is the course for?

This course has been created for those working in the humanitarian sector and those interested in humanitarian issues and leadership.

Who will you learn with?

Daniel McAvoy

Daniel McAvoy is a Lecturer in Humanitarian Assistance. He has worked in humanitarian responses in Iraq, Kosovo, Indonesia and the Pacific for a range of organisations.

Phil Connors

Associate Professor Phil Connors is co-Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership and Course Director for the Master of Humanitarian Assistance.

Sonia Brockington

Sonia Brockington is a lecturer in humanitarian health in the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, who has been involved in nutrition, public health and humanitarian education and training programs

Who developed the course?

Deakin University is one of Australia’s largest universities with more than 58,000 students studying online and on-campus.

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  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible

Advance your career with a degree

This course is the first step to a degree in Development and Humanitarian Action.

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from Deakin University

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program The Humanitarian World, which is part of the degree Development and Humanitarian Action.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: