Seven distance learning programmes for aid workers

I find it surprising that there are not more good distance learning and e-learning programmes for aid workers and that the ones that exist are so hard to find. Here is a number of courses and programmes that I know of. Please leave a comment if you know of any others.

In this list I am focusing on courses that offer specific skills for humanitarian aid workers and not on more general courses that can also be useful for people working for an international organization or NGO, such as general administration, photography etc..

1. Humanitarian relief, peace and security operations at the Peace Operations Training Institute

The Peace Operations Training Institute focuses on everything you might need in a so-called “complex emergency.” Here you find courses in Mine Action, Civilian Military Coordination, Global Terrorism or Ethics in Peacekeeping, to name  just a few. If you are working for a non-profit than you can take most of these courses for as little as 50 USD.

2. Diplomacy at UNITAR

The United Nations Institute for Research and Training (UNITAR) offers thirteen e-learning courses. The courses take up to eight weeks to complete and many of them are free. The most expensive course I found was 400 USD. You will have to apply and explain why you should be admitted to this course.

3. Peace and Conflict Studies at the University for Peace

No, this is not a bunch of hippies getting together. The University for Peace is a UN mandated graduate school for peace and conflict studies. UPEACE will accept applications for their distance learning programme from January 2010. There is no information about the costs yet, but I expect that the UN will offer the course at a very attractive fee.

4. Development Studies at the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham offers two distance learning courses: “Poverty Reduction and Development Management” and “Public Administration and Development”. You can either enrol into a masters programme or do a postgraduate diploma. The MSc takes two years to complete. As you can imagine, this doesn’t come cheap. The courses start at 6,000 pounds (~ 10,000 USD).

5. Logistics at the Fritz Institute

The Fritz Institute offers three courses, all of which have something to do with logistics: “Humanitarian Logistics”, “Humanitarian Supply Chain Management” and “Humanitarian Medical Logistics Practices”. I’ve only heard good things about these courses. Prices vary and the Fritz Institute offers some scholarships for individuals.

6. Human Rights with the Human Rights Education Associates

HREA organises a large number of specialised human rights trainings via distance education for human rights practitioners and development workers. The courses cost 725 USD. In addition to English many are available in French and Russian. I even found one course in German.

7. How to care for a Swine Flu victim at the International Red Cross Red Crescent

Last but not least, my employer has recently launched an e-learning platform that is open to the public. Among the free courses are one that teaches you how to care for a sick family member (it’s built for H1N1 but is just as useful for the normal flu) and one course  (40 hours) that introduces you to the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. The courses are free, more courses will be added over the next year.

What other distance learning or e-learning programmes and courses do you know that should be part of this list?

One Response

  1. Timoluege October 17, 2010