New Course & Specialization on Humanitarian Assistance in our Online Certificate Program at CSU

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In response to demand from participants around the world, Village Earth is pleased to announce our new Introduction to Humanitarian Assistance online course, which counts toward our new certificate specialization in Humanitarian Assistance.  This course is being offered in collaboration with EmBOLDEN AlliancesNow enrolling through July 26.

According to Good Humanitarian Donorship, Humanitarian Assistance is broadly defined to mean the action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made crises and natural disasters, as well as to prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations. Humanitarian assistance in the international arena vastly differs from domestic emergency response within the United States. As a field unto itself, humanitarian assistance also differs greatly from shorter-term disaster response in scope, objectives, and duration. In addition, the field encompasses codifying norms, international standards, and critical concepts that exist to maintain humanitarian principles, ensure quality intervention, and create sustainable improvement.

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, over 400 medical teams arrived to assist communities in need. Only a tiny fraction of teams were able to identify or plan intervention strategies and programs utilizing international humanitarian architecture or standards. This lack of knowledge translated into failures in communication, coordination, and usage of resources with direct implications for populations affected.

This problem is neither new nor has it been adequately addressed over time. Several studies, ranging from 2001-2014, have reported that a dearth of nongovernmental organizations responding to disasters offers any teaching or orientation prior to departure. Authors and practitioners have put forward a critical call to action for improved accountability, well-defined core competencies, and greater quality control. With appropriate and tailored training, practitioners will have exponentially improved efficiency, impact, and sustainability. In turn, these professionals better share expertise with local and national staff who remain, as always, the first-responders in their communities as they build themselves toward resilience and self-reliance.

In addition, the underlying circumstances necessitating pre-departure education of humanitarian workers have been intensifying. For example, the complexities of urban disasters require multi-sector coordination, community stakeholder engagement, and division of scarce resources more than ever. There are increasing risks and threats to humanitarian aid workers and less room for inexperience, waste, and error. Compassion in and of itself is not enough, however, compassion coupled with knowledge, guided by experience, and directed into effective action leads to substantive effective change. This course will provide participants an introduction to the knowledge necessary to engage in humanitarian assistance more effectively and sustainably. By providing participants the opportunity to examine and identify key components, participants will have a better understanding of humanitarian architecture as well as the ability to improve coordination and implementation of programmatic interventions.

This course will be taught by Neena Jain MD MSTPH DTM&H, who for over twenty years has thrived in international Humanitarian Assistance and Global Health as Program Manager, Country Medical Director, Health Sector Lead, and Technical Advisor with many international nongovernmental organizations throughout Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. These agencies have included Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, International Medical Corps, Australian Aid International, and Save The Children, among others. She is the current Executive Director of emBOLDen Alliances. Dr. Jain was Board-certified in Emergency Medicine in 2001 and practiced as an Attending Physician at Swedish Medical Center and Denver Health Medical Center Emergency Departments. She developed programmatic structure and taught core content using innovative techniques as Director and Deputy Director for the Program in Humanitarian Assistance and Adjunct Faculty for the Global Health Affairs Program at the University of Denver Korbel School of International Studies.

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