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York academics foster partnership with Kenya Red Cross Society on humanitarianism

Posted on 6 November 2015

Two University of York academics travelled to Nairobi to provide collaborative training for front line staff responding to humanitarian crises in Kenya.

Kenya Red Cross Governor, Dr Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said, Dr Janaka Jayawickrama, Dr Jo Rose and course participants

Dr Janaka Jayawickrama and Dr Jo Rose, from York’s Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), worked with 25 volunteers and staff from the Kenya Red Cross Society to deliver a pilot training programme.

Based in Nairobi’s Kenya Red Cross Society headquarters, one of the biggest Red Cross Societies in the world with over 70,000 volunteers and the best practitioner of humanitarian responses in Africa, they worked with field staff and volunteers to deliver a Basic Humanitarian Course (BHC).

Discussing the challenges that front line staff face in responding to crises, the course provided an opportunity to engage and learn from peers and explore the best methods for future training and learning.

Opportunities for formal collaboration were also discussed with the Kenya Red Cross Governor,Dr Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said. He appreciated the engagement with frontline humanitarian workers and stressed the importance of delivering interventions based on cultural contexts. It is hoped that many practitioners attending the course will go on to study for a Masters in International Humanitarian Affairs (MIHA), provided by York.

The MIHA is an innovative programme that offers field practitioners the opportunity to explore the fast-changing theory, policy and practice of humanitarianism with experts, academics and policy makers around the world responding to disasters, conflicts and complex political emergencies. Primarily taught through virtual learning, it is the sole course in the UK to offer teaching in current practice and policy delivered by humanitarian practitioners.

Dr Janaka Jayawickrama, MIHA Director, said: “We are delighted to work with the Kenya Red Cross Society in fostering a mutual relationship for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practice in working in a complex and ever-changing humanitarian landscape.”

Dr Jo Rose, MIHA Associate Lecturer, said: “We are committed to providing leaders and field managers working on the front line of humanitarian crises with the opportunity to explore processes, events and policy debates from a multi-disciplinary angle.

“Working with the Kenya Red Cross Society is a fantastic opportunity to broaden our base of expertise, enabling important collaborations for future humanitarian work.”

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