Issue 5
Monday, 01 July 2019
Charles Darwin University
CDU students have been receiving training from a leading international humanitarian response agency
CDU students have been receiving training from a leading international humanitarian response agency

Humanitarian students go hands-on

CDU students have been receiving state-of-the-art, practice-based training in international humanitarian assistance.

The two-week theory and practice-based intensive, “Introduction to Humanitarian Practice”, is delivered in conjunction with RedR, a leading international humanitarian response agency that selects, trains and deploys technical specialists to humanitarian disasters.

Lecturer in Humanitarian and Community Studies, Miranda Booth said RedR’s training was a benchmark for the humanitarian sector.

“Humanitarian organisations look for staff who have received certified training and the RedR training being conducted this week can set our graduates apart when they are starting their humanitarian careers,” Ms Booth said.

CDU is the only university in Australia to give undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain a RedR certification as part of their coursework.

“This means our graduates are already ahead of those from other universities by being more job-ready.

“The certification also helps with their final work placement as it shows they have undertaken training that has exposed them to the humanitarian aid working environment and has assisted them to develop industry-relevant skills,” she said.

The training involves students devising a humanitarian response to 15,000 displaced people in a fictitious country, who need to be transported to a campsite that students need to plan the construction and running of.

Ms Booth said the challenges faced by students were designed to reflect as closely as possible the type of challenges faced in the real-world version of the task.

“Students have to work under time pressures, with often only emerging and incomplete information to make critical decisions about how to respond to the situation,” she said.

“Students learn to plan and think laterally and are faced with problems ranging from transport issues and the logistics of setting up a camp capable of accommodating 15,000 people safely and hygienically and with access to food and water.

“It really tests them out, but at the same time it builds resilience and leadership skills that students need if they are going to be effective contributors in the field,” Ms Booth said.

The final day of the two weeks is very hands-on, with RedR staff and students role playing various aspects of the scenario from different perspectives. Everything from having to operate a radio through to navigating language and cultural difficulties is thrown into the mix.