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The Essentials of Humanitarian Practice provides foundation knowledge for working within the modern humanitarian system and for responding to an international crisis that involves a global response. This course provides participants with an understanding of the complexity of the international relief system and the legal framework for humanitarian assistance. We introduce the characteristics of natural disasters and conflict-induced emergencies and the requirements for an effective humanitarian response, highlighting some of the dilemmas faced by humanitarians and aid workers. Participants will learn about the various United Nations agencies that respond to disasters and the roles these agencies play in coordinating responses for various sectors such as health, water and sanitation and logistics. They will discover how international non-government organisations work with these agencies to share information and data and to avoid duplication and ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it and doesn't cause harm. Attendees are given an opportunity to put the knowledge gained into practice and to explore the team skills required to work effectively in the field. 


This course is a six day intensive including both indoor and outdoor activities, therefore please ensure you are fit and well to gain the most from your training experience. The highly practical, simulation-based course equips and refreshes individuals with the background and knowledge to work in the humanitarian sector.


This course is designed for people from all professional backgrounds and disciplines looking to build a career in the international aid and development or humanitarian sectors. The course is a prerequisite for all those aspiring to join the RedR Australia humanitarian roster and is appropriate for staff from humanitarian aid organisations, individuals with experience in relief work and those actively seeking to build a career and work or volunteer in the sector. The course provides a unique opportunity to enhance participants’ skills, gain fresh insights and share practical experience with others as well as excellent networking with experienced humanitarians.

The course is in English and a reasonable proficiency is required for by participants.

Aims and Objectives

This course aims to prepare volunteers, aid and relief workers for the realities of life on assignment so that they are able to contribute as effectively as possible. It provides an understanding of the international context of emergency relief work, explaining the distinctions between natural disasters and conflict-induced emergencies, as well as an introduction to the international humanitarian system. If you are looking to enhance your career in this sector then this course is for you.

Course Objectives:

  • understand the humanitarian relief system and different organisations' roles and relationships
  • understand the characteristics of natural disasters and complex emergencies
  • comprehend key issues in the cultural, political and organisational environment of relief assistance
  • appreciate the legal and emotional issues impinging on those affected by disasters
  • assess personal skills and identify areas for development
  • recognise the teamwork skills required in relief work and practice some essentials of effective teamwork
  • apply techniques and approaches that increase individual responsibility in humanitarian work
  • be familiar with basic radio protocol and use
  • develop networks that will help you in your humanitarian careers

Course Outline:

  • journey through humanitarian practice
  • the international humanitarian system
  • introduction to radio usage
  • cultural effectiveness
  • international law in humanitarian action
  • protection & inclusion
  • humanitarian codes & standards
  • donor role in a humanitarian response
  • civil-military interaction
  • working in teams
  • cross cutting issues in humanitarian programming
  • core technical sectors
  • coordination & information sharing
  • emergency needs assessment
  • ethics in the field
  • stress in the field
  • site planning
  • tips for working with the media
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Who we are

RedR Australia is a leading humanitarian agency for international emergency relief. We provide skilled people and training to help communities rebuild and recover in times of crisis. When disaster strikes, we mobilise the right people with the right skills to make a difference. Our internationally recognised training courses prepare aspiring aid workers for life in the field and help experienced humanitarians further hone their skills.


How we work

RedR Australia is a Standby Partner to seven United Nations and other frontline relief agencies. During a humanitarian crisis, a global network of Standby Partner organisations provides additional support to UN response efforts. We are the only Standby Partner to the UN in the Southern Hemisphere.

When thousands of people flee into neighbouring countries to escape civil war, we’re there to provide clean water and shelter. When entire communities are left homeless by earthquakes or monsoon rains, we’re there to ensure the vulnerable are protected. Our people also repair and rebuild infrastructure, advise on public health, coordinate response efforts and public communication, plan refugee camps, map and track relief activities, ensure access to education for children, and manage the movement of essential supplies. ...

RedR Australia
55-61 Barry Street, Carlton 3053 VIC, Melbourne , Victoria , Australia 3051
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