07 Feb - 12 Feb 2018
(2018 courses opening for applications soon)
18 Apr - 23 Apr 2018
05 Sep - 10 Sep 2018

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: $2,500 AUD Reduced Rate: $2,150 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 September 2017, Training Team

Dale Potter, OAM

Dale joined RedR Australia after 27 years with the Victorian police force. During his police career, he served two years in the Solomon Islands on secondment to the Australian Federal Police as part of the Regional Assistance Mission. He was subsequently deployed as part of the police contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. His role involved working as a civil-military liaison officer between the Turkish and Cypriot military and police forces in Eastern Cyprus. Whilst there, he assisted in the evacuation of Australians from Beirut and Tyre during the Israel/Lebanon war in 2006. Dale has a lot of experience in initial response disaster management having worked on flood and bush fire emergencies in rural Victoria. Since joining RedR Australia’s humanitarian roster, Dale has deployed twice as a civil-military coordinator following cyclones in Vanuatu and Fiji.

Paula Fitzgerald

Paula is RedR Australia’s training manager. She has more than 15 years humanitarian and development experience working in Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific. From 2013 – 2014 Paula managed the South Sudan country office of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and held program management roles with IFRC in Afghanistan, Haiti and the Philippines. As a program coordinator with Australian Red Cross, Paula worked in partnership with Red Cross societies in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. Paula has extensive experience in the international children’s rights movement with ECPAT/Child Wise and UNICEF as an advocate, researcher and trainer with special focus on child abuse prevention. Paula holds a post graduate diploma in international relations.

Jessica Hazelwood

Utilizing her background in law and health, Jessica has worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in complex humanitarian emergencies and conflict zones including Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Sudan. After completing a Bachelor of Nursing degree, Jessica moved to Europe and completed a law degree at University College Dublin. Inspired by her experiences in Kandahar, Afghanistan, she subsequently commenced a PhD at King’s College London focusing on the role of non-State law in the regulation of armed non-state groups engaged in non-international armed conflict through the Durand Line. This involved analysis of the intersection between international, siyar (a branch of Shariah law) and tribal law.

Francisco Monteiro

Love brought Portuguese architect Francisco to Melbourne but it was his passion for humanitarian affairs that saw him join RedR Australia in 2015. The emergency shelter expert brings 15 years’ experience in international development, disaster response and post conflict/disaster rehabilitation to the RedR team. Francisco has worked in East Timor, where he designed and built a network of more than 75 schools, and in Mozambique where he managed a UNESCO World Heritage project. He has managed infrastructure projects in Iraq and spent more than three years as a shelter and construction delegate with the disaster response team at the Australian Red Cross. In this role, he provided technical support to emergency shelter projects in the Pacific and Mozambique and was the shelter cluster coordinator in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. More recently, Francisco deployed to Nepal following the earthquakes and was part of a RedR team providing train the trainer workshops for those involved in shelter reconstruction.

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 November 2017, Training Team
(Watch for updates)
DFID has a strong and collaborative relationship with RedR Australia through the Standby Programme; a relationship which we value immensely.
Jo de Serrano, (DFID), UK Government, 2016