In order to enable humanitarian aid workers who are actively engaged in the field to attend the training program, and in an attempt to create a teaching program which reflects the complexity and intensity of the conditions humanitarian workers face, the IDHA has been designed as an intensive four-week training program, including more than 200 hours of lectures, presentations, debates, and group work.
The intensity and duration of the course enables aid workers who are active in the field to attend with minimal disruption to the operations with which they are involved. Teaching methods include lectures, case studies, seminars, practical exercises, and scenarios.
A multidisciplinary approach has been taken, covering the full range of disciplines that are involved in humanitarian programs. These include management, logistics, health, psychology, social sciences, anthropology, communication, agriculture, environment, education, conflict resolution, international law, civil/military relations, security, media, politics, and economics.
An important aspect of the IDHA program is promoting cooperation and teamwork rather than competition and individualism. This is encouraged at a personal level in the sharing of expertise as a member of a “syndicate.” As a member of one of six different syndicates, participants work together as a team for the duration of the course.
The objectives of the course are (1) to provide volunteers and professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds with extensive insight into the needs of refugees and internally displaced people in acute and chronic settings and equip them with the awareness, understanding, and skills that are essential for effective service in a humanitarian crises, (2) to enable humanitarian workers to function effectively, both as individuals and members of a team, in acute and chronic situations of conflict and disaster,(3) to promote cooperation and dialogue between international, governmental, and non-governmental agencies involved in humanitarian action (assistance and protection), (4) to evaluate interventions and identify examples of good practice, and (5) to examine ways in which humanitarian crises can be anticipated and prevented.