07 Feb - 12 Feb 2018
Dookie Victoria, Australia
(Course Completed)
18 Apr - 23 Apr 2018
Dookie Victoria, Australia
(Course Completed)
05 Sep - 10 Sep 2018
Dookie Victoria, Australia
(2018 courses open for applications)
07 Nov - 12 Nov 2018
Dookie Victoria, Australia
(2018 courses open for applications)

The Essentials of Humanitarian Practice provides foundation knowledge for working within the modern humanitarian system and for responding to an international crisis that involves a global response. This course provides participants with an understanding of the complexity of the international relief system and the legal framework for humanitarian assistance. We introduce the characteristics of natural disasters and conflict-induced emergencies and the requirements for an effective humanitarian response, highlighting some of the dilemmas faced by humanitarians and aid workers. Participants will learn about the various United Nations agencies that respond to disasters and the roles these agencies play in coordinating responses for various sectors such as health, water and sanitation and logistics. They will discover how international non-government organisations work with these agencies to share information and data and to avoid duplication and ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it and doesn't cause harm. Attendees are given an opportunity to put the knowledge gained into practice and to explore the team skills required to work effectively in the field. 

If you require this course to be tailored for your organisation, please visit our Customised Training page for more information. 

This is a six day intensive course that includes both indoor and outdoor activities so please ensure you are fit and well to gain the most from your training experience. The highly practical, simulation-based course equips and refreshes individuals with the background and knowledge to work in the humanitarian sector. 

This course is designed for people from all professional backgrounds and disciplines looking to build a career in the international aid and development or humanitarian sectors. The course is a prerequisite for all those aspiring to join the RedR Australia humanitarian roster and is appropriate for staff from humanitarian aid organisations, individuals with experience in relief work and those actively seeking to build a career and work or volunteer in the sector. The course provides a unique opportunity to enhance participants’ skills, gain fresh insights and share practical experience with others as well as excellent networking with experienced humanitarians.

The course is in English and a reasonable proficiency is required for by participants.

Aims and Objectives

This course aims to prepare volunteers, aid and relief workers for the realities of life on assignment so that they are able to contribute as effectively as possible. It provides an understanding of the international context of emergency relief work, explaining the distinctions between natural disasters and conflict-induced emergencies, as well as an introduction to the international humanitarian system. If you are looking to enhance your career in this sector then this course is for you.

Course Objectives:

  • understand the humanitarian relief system and different organisations' roles and relationships
  • understand the characteristics of natural disasters and complex emergencies
  • comprehend key issues in the cultural, political and organisational environment of relief assistance
  • appreciate the legal and emotional issues impinging on those affected by disasters
  • assess personal skills and identify areas for development
  • recognise the teamwork skills required in relief work and practice some essentials of effective teamwork
  • apply techniques and approaches that increase individual responsibility in humanitarian work
  • be familiar with basic radio protocol and use
  • develop networks that will help you in your humanitarian careers

Course Outline:

  • journey through humanitarian practice
  • the international humanitarian system
  • introduction to radio usage
  • cultural effectiveness
  • international law in humanitarian action
  • protection & inclusion
  • humanitarian codes & standards
  • donor role in a humanitarian response
  • civil-military interaction
  • working in teams
  • cross cutting issues in humanitarian programming
  • core technical sectors
  • coordination & information sharing
  • emergency needs assessment
  • ethics in the field
  • stress in the field
  • site planning
  • tips for working with the media

Full Rate: $2,850 AUD Reduced Rate: $2,600 AUD


Includes all food, accommodation and training materials.


If you currently work for an NGO or are a RedR Roster Member ( please supply membership number) you are eligible for the reduced rate.


Unless otherwise stated, all courses are residential and course fees are inclusive of meals, accommodation, training and materials, but not transport to and from the venue. Course fees are in Australian dollars. A non-refundable deposit of $400 (AUD) is payable at the time of enrollment to secure your place on a course. This payment must be made via credit card through our secure payment facility.


Further instructions regarding course the logistics will be provided upon payment of course fees.


the University of Melbourne's Dookie Campus, Dookie-Nalinga Road, Dookie College, Victoria, 3647.
Dookie Campus Map


Our residential courses are held at Dookie near Shepparton in Victoria (220km north of Melbourne) and provide a range of learning experiences, including scenarios and field exercises.

RedR Australia's training facilities are located in remote environments. The closest hospitals can be over 30km away from the venue. Therefore please be prepared with all your medical needs.


Course Timing

Registration takes place from 10:30 am on the first day of all courses and activities will conclude at 1:00 pm on the final day. To receive your course certificate you must complete the entire course.


Please arrange your own travel to and from our training venues.Travel insurance is recommended for all applicants and is mandatory for international participants. Trains run from Melbourne to Shepparton and pick up can be arranged from Shepparton train station.

Pre-course Learning

It is strongly recommended that all participants complete the prescribed reading prior to the course. Pre-reading will be sent to registered participants two weeks prior to the course commencement date.

Please refer to your course orientation guide, received upon enrolment, for more detailed essential course information.

Our trainers have extensive experience in complex emergencies and natural disasters in Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Asia Pacific.

As our trainers are emergency response experts that regularly deploy into global crises, trainers may change from those featured here on the website.

EHP February 2018, Training Team
Course Coordinator - Josh Hallwright

Josh Hallwright is a humanitarian specialist who has worked extensively in a range of disasters over the last seven years. He has designed and delivered training packages for different audiences in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Bolivia and Australia for the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Red Cross, and Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders). Josh is currently a PhD candidate and teaches postgraduate courses in international development at RMIT University. He is passionate about building the skills and capability of people working in the humanitarian space and looks forward to working with you to meet your training needs.


Mark Gossage

A specialist in community development, education and public health, Mark’s career has seen him working on a diverse portfolio of projects across Latin America, Indonesia, the Pacific and East Africa. After early career experience in child protection and in the education sector, in 2008 Mark began coordinating community development projects with local NGOs in both Central America and Vanuatu. Later he leveraged his teaching background to build education capacity in Indonesia for 12 months before transitioning to the government sector to work as an Humanitarian Officer at AusAID. Upon completing his Masters in Global Health, Mark joined Save the Children working with refugees in the camps of Nauru. In 2014 he was selected for an Operations Management role in Tanzania before moving to Burundi. He returned to Nauru in 2015 to support Save’s Nauruan program closures before moving to Melbourne to work for the Australian Red Cross as a trainer within their International Programs division. He joined RedR Australia as a Senior Humanitarian Trainer in early 2018, where he is responsible for coordinating our Essentials of Humanitarian Practice course and supporting our Crisis Response Training with DFAT and partners.

Nicole Hahn

Civil engineer Nicole Hahn has extensive experience as a first phase responder in both complex emergencies and natural disasters in more than 12 emergency responses.Nicole’s experience includes work with the UN, INGOs and Governments in a variety of contexts and countries. Her field experience includes WASH Cluster coordination, Information Management, Site Planning and technical WASH roles.Nicole is a RedR Deployee, a member of the Australian Civilian Corp Post Disaster Response Team, an Australian Red Cross Delegate and is currently employed by Oxfam Australia as a Humanitarian Coordinator. She's passionate about innovation and the role the private sector can play in humanitarian response.Her most recent deployments were in the Nepal Earthquake and Cyclone Winston in Fiji. Nicole is most looking forward to sharing her experiences with participants.

Allison McNamara

Allison has been a registered member of RedR Australia since 2007 and has deployed to Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, Malawi and most recently Bangladesh as a Logistics Specialist. Allison spent 11 years in the Australian Defence Force (Army). On leaving the Army, she completed a Bachelor of Nursing and worked in A&E at St George Public Hospital. Allison also works in the event industry and has worked in Doha, Qatar on the Asian Games 2006, Shanghai World Expo 2010 and Sochi Winter Olympics 2013/14 as the Medical Manager for Opening & Closing Ceremonies. In 2015, Allison completed a Master in Public Health at La Trobe University.

Keith Swann

Civil engineer and educator Keith Swann has worked on landmark construction projects that include Australia’s Parliament House, the redevelopment of the Canberra airport and the Canberra Hospital.In 1993, he joined Shellharbour City Council in NSW as Manager of Environmental Engineering, advancing to Group Manager for Customer and Environmental Services before moving into the humanitarian sector in 2004.Keith has deployed with RedR Australia four times and is a Senior Associate Trainer. Keith’s first overseas deployment was to Afghanistan in 2004, where he was tasked with managing the construction of 30 health clinics and 26 schools across five provinces. Since then, he has worked on housing and infrastructure projects in Indonesia, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, the Maldives, Kenya and Somalia with various Government, NGO and United Nations agencies including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Programme. Keith is a Professional Engineer with a Master of Business Administration, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and Post Graduate Diplomas of Education and Applied Science.


Steen Rees 

Steen Rees started his career as a microbial geneticist and lecturer at the University of Sydney. A keen interest in photography and documentary film saw him subsequently carve a career in live surgery broadcasting aimed at educating surgeons from developing countries in Africa, Asia and South East Asia. Steen consults on video and web based training materials for the various health colleges and professional associations and has shot documentary footage in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He has filmed for RedR in refugee camps in Jordan and after Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

EHP April 2018, Training Team


Community development worker Rochelle Baughan explains how the course will help her transition to international emergency response work