Where to Learn More about Humanitarian Aid

We’ve done the work for you.

Whatever your reasons, learning more about humanitarian aid has never been easier. Maybe you’re getting itchy feet and are thinking about changing jobs. Maybe you’re wondering if this kind of work might be just right for you. Or maybe you’re just curious about relief work and have no idea where to begin. We’ve picked out five courses to introduce you to the sector, show you how an intervention is designed and implemented, and give you an idea of what organisations like ours hope to achieve when we respond to a humanitarian crisis.

We’ve been responding to conflict and natural disasters for more than 30 years. We feel these courses will give you an inside look at what our teams do every day, all over the world.


Introduction to Humanitarian Aid

Offered by Deakin University on FutureLearn*

If you’re keen to learn about the humanitarian sector and have no idea where to start, this might be the course for you. This course takes you right to the beginning of humanitarian aid, looking at the history of the sector; the principles and values that govern the sector; and how different governments, organisations, and international bodies coordinate lifesaving responses in complex operating environments.


International Humanitarian Law

Offered by LouvainX on edX*

International humanitarian law (IHL) exists to limit the effects of armed conflict. This course examines IHL through both recent and historical conflicts and will introduce students to present day challenges of IHL, such as the definition of combatants when affiliated with certain armed groups, and the involvement and status of peacekeepers in conflict.


Public Health in Humanitarian Crises 1

Offered by Johns Hopkins University on Coursera*

This course does exactly what it says: looks at public health in humanitarian crises. Using a mix of theory and recent practical examples, this course examines what happens in people lives when they are displaced due to conflict or natural disaster and how this changes things like disease patterns, nutritional status, and access to health care. There is a secondary course (Public Health in Humanitarian Crises 2) for anybody who is eager to dive deeper into the topic of public health in humanitarian crises.



An Introduction to Proposal and Report Writing

Offered by Save the Children and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy on Kaya*

Applying for and managing the funding needed to implement a humanitarian intervention can be a time-consuming process. This course is designed to help you understand the proposal writing process, give you an idea of what to expect in a funding proposal, and then help you manage the reporting process as you use that funding.


Management Survival Basics for Humanitarians

Offered on Humanitrianz*

Aimed at staff in the humanitarian field, this course offers the skills and knowledge needed to start up or take over a humanitarian intervention. This includes things like time management, performance management, and understanding the project cycle, but also touches on important topics in the humanitarian sector – managing security, working in culturally diverse teams, and understanding stress and burnout.

*Medair is not affiliated with any of the courses or platforms listed here. Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement of these courses on the part of Medair.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.