Certificate Course in Humanitarian Action

Course Overview

The course is intended to provide students with a thorough introduction to international humanitarian assistance covering legal aspects and major practical and policy considerations with regard to implementation. It is practitioner oriented with a strong foundation in both academic theory and current events.

The course continues by exploring key considerations regarding the implementation of humanitarian assistance, early warning systems, operational systems such as timely response, unhindered access, funding, coordination and cooperation, political considerations, the relationship between humanitarian assistance and longer term sustainable development. In doing so it looks at the many actors that play a part in providing humanitarian assistance ranging from the United Nations to non-governmental actors.

The course outlines the framework of international human rights law and other branches of international law relevant to humanitarian assistance including international humanitarian law and refugee law. It also presents with a brief history and the main elements behind the notion of human security, humanitarian reform as well as the importance of coherence within the UN system.

The course also considers those who are specifically affected by humanitarian crises and specific approaches to respond to their situations. It looks at protection and assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons; and the special needs of particularly vulnerable groups including women and children.


Course Content

  • Practical and conceptual problems
  • Root causes: breakdown of societies
  • Victims, beneficiaries or participants: local populations, internally displaced people and refugees
  • Rebuilding reconsidering; linking relief and development
  • Why interventions
  • Outside actors: the military


After they have read the material for each unit, students are expected to test their own Learning by completing some relevant exercises and tasks.


In order to demonstrate their understanding of the course content, students will be required to submit three assignments.


DURATION: 3 Months



ORGANIZERS: Capacity Africa Institute

LANGUAGE: English and French

FORMAT: Online Learning

GENERAL COURSE CONTACT: info@capacitybuildingonline.com