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3 Free Online Courses to Foster Your Humanitarian Career

Access to the lessons and resources is free of charge, and students need only pay if they wish to obtain an official certificate of completion at the end. Free courses are great for those who wish to amp up their knowledge of a particular subject in order to complement their pre-existing qualifications and experiences. While there are dozens of topics that would be useful for those seeking out a humanitarian career, the following list offers a quick glance at the options currently available.

Introduction to Humanitarian Aid

If you already have a degree in humanitarian aid, this course probably won’t do you much good. However, for those who studied a related field (like political sciences, conflict management, etc) and really want to up your knowledge of humanitarian specifics, this is a great complement to a CV and academic transcript. The course is offered by Deakin University via FutureLearn, a well-reputed online database of free university courses that changes throughout the year. In this course, students will learn about the approaches and guiding principles that have been developed throughout history and are currently utilized by humanitarian teams in response to conflict, crisis, and natural disaster.

International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice

Offered by Leiden University, this humanitarian law course is a great introduction for those who aim to work in conflict-affected areas. Humanitarian law covers such areas as when armed forces can intervene with terrorist groups, how POWs must be treated, and the rights of the injured, among other topics. In participating in this course, students will learn about the rules of civil war and military interventions, how hostilities are waged and which weapons can be used when. The professors will also discuss protective elements of the law during conflicts. Note that humanitarian law applies only to conflict and does not cover the issues of migration and refugee rights, for example. However, this course is a great supplemental 101 for aid and NGO workers who do not have the specific aim of being a lawyer or conflict-management specialist. This course is hosted on the Coursera platform.

Sustainable Development in Humanitarian Action

Offered by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, this course incorporates sustainability within the realm of humanitarian action. It will enable a staff or volunteer working in the humanitarian sector to learn about the keys to making organizations more effective and accountable. Sustainability will be examined through supply chain management and field operations, covering the three main dimensional pillars of sustainable development: social equity, economic efficiency, and environmental preservation. With a duration of only four weeks, this course is a great supplemental option for those aiming to work on strategy, projects, and programs within an organization. The course is held through the FutureLearn platform.