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Online Courses for Aspiring Humanitarian and Disaster Managers

Taking the Next Step

The daily news feed seems to be full of crises, humanitarian emergencies, and national disasters, isn’t it?

Are you tired of being a passive observer of events? Perhaps you feel a strong tug to do something?

Good news: Innovations and technologies have made this interesting and meaningful area of study and field of practice more accessible than ever.

Consider yourself lucky. You have a wealth of information available to you. There is no other time in history like this. 

Nowadays, you can learn about all sorts of things from the palm of your hands with just a few clicks.

Learning Online

First things first: Why take formal online courses when you can just surf the web?

For starters, online learning gives you an organized and progressive way to explore areas of interest. 

You can pick your own topics if you want to know a ‘little bit of something’ here and there. But you may just end up going in circles.

If you want to REALLY understand it, you need a structured learning experience – the kind that lets you build on one idea after another and link them all together.

In the end, you will not only be able to describe things, you will be able to explain them too!

Sometimes, life gets in the way too. It happens to all of us, and it usually doesn’t have good timing.

With online learning, you can study at your own time and pace. Start, pause, and restart.

Here are several online courses on humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) to get you started. Best thing about it: They are FREE!

Aspiring Humanitarians

Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone and extend a helping hand to meet an urgent need? Can you think on your feet and see yourself thriving in action-packed environments of a crisis or emergency? Perhaps you’re an aspiring humanitarian!

On-the-ground experience is a very important consideration for those seeking a humanitarian profession because of the practical nature of their work. Humanitarians need to be able to get things done, because those in need rely on them to do so. Best way to gain experience? Volunteer!

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy offers two free courses to get you started:  Volunteer Essentials Pathway and Philippine Volunteer Essentials

The former introduces the learner to core skills and knowledge needed to volunteer in the humanitarian sector using interactive and scenario-based sessions. While the latter covers essential topics that a new Filipino volunteer who participates in humanitarian work needs to know using interactive videos and an immersive film.

It only takes 2-3 hours each to complete. Need proof of progress? They got that covered. You can download a Humanitarian Leadership Academy certificate once you have completed all of the modules within each course! 

Interested to look at emerging global humanitarian challenges beyond the Philippine context? No worries. Enroll in the Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster course and engage with Harvard faculty, current practitioners, and other learners!

Aspiring Disaster Managers

Are you interested in the science behind different types of calamities? Do you ever wonder whether we can really control and predict them? Take the Natural Disasters course and learn more about the relationship between humans and nature.

Ready to gain solid grounding in the latest theory and practice in DRRM? The Global Disaster Risk Reduction and Management course is for those that have a basic understanding of DRRM and would like to turn it up a notch. Access interactive audio-visual resources and interviews with experts to explore the ways natural hazards affect people, and the steps to prevent and mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

‘Resilience’ is an essential element of DRRM. But what does the buzzword really mean? Clue: It has to do with our ability to withstand and bounce back when disaster strikes. In the Resilience – The Art of Coping with Disasters course, you will learn how to enhance your coping capacity by tapping into “internal and external resources and tools necessary for handling stressful situations and for emerging with increased strength from such experiences.”

There you have it, six online courses you can start now and take anytime for free. Remember to have a blast! Having fun is part of the learning process.

Up next: Want a break from reading about humanitarian action and DRRM? Why not watch a movie instead! In the next article, we will share three ‘educainment’ films that you will surely enjoy.

Want to learn more about Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM)? Thinking of starting a career in Humanitarian Affairs? Or are you seeking personal development in this field? The General Academic Strand (GAS) strand offers Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction as a core subject for Senior High School students.

Learn more about DRMM and how you can take action about it. Read more articles like this on the Communeblog section at Edukasyon.phnow!


HarvardX. Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster: https://www.edx.org/course/humanitarian-response-to-conflict-and-disaster

IsraelX. Resilience – The art of coping with disasters: https://www.edx.org/course/resilience-the-art-of-coping-with-disasters

Kaya – Humanitarian Leadership Academy. Global Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Pathway: https://kayaconnect.org/course/info.php?id=1209

Kaya – Humanitarian Leadership Academy. Philippine Volunteer Essential: https://kayaconnect.org/course/info.php?id=1200

Kaya – Humanitarian Leadership Academy. Volunteer Essentials Pathway: https://kayaconnect.org/course/info.php?id=1285

McGillX. Natural Disasters. https://www.edx.org/course/natural-disasters