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Students provide life-saving relief

By Leanne Miles

Students barter with a local shop keeper to provide food and water for refugees as part of the scenario Students barter with a local shop keeper to provide food and water for refugees as part of the scenario

Students have provided humanitarian aid to 20,000 “refugees” as part of a simulated humanitarian disaster event at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus.

The event was part of a four-week intensive unit to enable students to gain hands-on experience in providing life-saving relief as part of the Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies.

CDU lecturer and course coordinator Adriana Stibral said the First Humanitarian Mission (Project) delivered in collaboration with humanitarian aid organisation RedR Australia provided students with the theory and practical skills to work in the humanitarian aid sector.

“The operational planning exercise was a full-day field simulation that immersed the students in an emergency scenario in the fictitious nation of Sebedoh,” Ms Stibral said.

She said the four-week exercise brought together students from around Australia and overseas as part of the second year of their degree.

“Many of our students are online in other states, or even overseas learning while on field placements,” she said.

“The exercise has given the students an opportunity to put the theory they have learnt into practice and work together as a team to solve problems as they arise.”

Ms Stibral said the collaboration with RedR Australia meant that students had access to guest lecturers from across the globe, including current practitioners in specific fields of humanitarian work.

RedR Australia’s senior humanitarian trainer Paula Fitzgerald said scenario exercises such as this were invaluable to prepare students by providing them with essential, first-hand practical experiences.

“It is difficult to give students an idea of what to expect when they arrive on the ground during a humanitarian emergency,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“This exercise was an opportunity for students to gain insight into the complexities of humanitarian action, to experience field planning and coordination, and to work harmoniously in teams in a high-pressured environment.”

The First Humanitarian Mission (Project) is a four-week intensive unit developed to provide students with a foundational platform of essential knowledge and experiential skills development relevant to the reality of working in the humanitarian aid sector.

RedR Australia is internationally recognised as a provider of quality humanitarian training and has been training humanitarian workers since 1998.

“We collaborate on training with many of the United Nation’s leading agencies and also train Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff as well as those from major non-government organisations like World Vision and Oxfam,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

For more information about the Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies visit W: cdu.edu.au/health/community-course