About us

The academy for humanitarian action (aha) is an institution for further education in the humanitarian sector. It is located at the intersection of humanitarian practice and research and pools the expertise from over 25 years of work in the humanitarian sector. Our aim is to support humanitarians in their continuous effort to further improve the quality of their work, address new challenges and meet important requests for reform. The aha offers a wide range of different training courses on topics related to humanitarian action and international collaboration.

Rationale and Background

The idea of ​​founding an academy for humanitarian action arose already a few years ago - but we are convinced that now the time is ripe! The humanitarian system is currently facing the greatest challenges in its history. In the past few years, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has more than doubled. At the same time, special challenges have arisen in the context of humanitarian work in recent years, to which humanitarian organizations have to respond. For example, the ability to access people in need has deteriorated constantly and requires new ways of working. Abuse scandals recently raised awareness of the need to develop safeguarding mechanisms. New counter-terrorism laws in various countries make it clear that humanitarian organizations must act in an informed manner in order to preserve humanitarian space. Humanitarian organizations must also react to current political processes and voluntary commitments such as those resulting from the Global Refugee Forum or the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). For example, the Grand Bargain, which was decided within the framework of the WHS, requires a fundamental change in the way of working with an increased focus on localization and participation. The aha aims at supporting humanitarians in their continuous effort to further improve the quality of their work, address these new challenges and meet important requests for reform.


The aha is based on internationally established standards for training in humanitarian action. Two of the partners, ADH and the IFHV, have been involved for many years in the European Commission-funded projects "European Humanitarian Action Partnership" (EUHAP) and "European Universities on Professionalization in Humanitarian Action" (EUPHRA). The aim is to strengthen the professionalization of the delivery of humanitarian action, through exchange of best and innovative practices as well as improvement of the quality and efficiency of the education, and exploring the linkages between competencies, occupations and qualifications. In addition, the aha aims to certify its training courses according to ISO standard 29990 for learning services.

Founding Members

The academy for humanitarian action rests on a unique collaboration of three partners with extensive experience in the field of humanitarian action and education: With the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict [weblink] of the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Centre of Competence for Humanitarian Relief [weblink] of the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, two of the leading research institutes on humanitarian affairs in Europe join forces. Aktion Deutschland Hilft [weblink] bundles the proficiency of over 20 renowned German Humanitarian NGOs.

Collaboration and Partnerships

The aha is based on the idea of ​​cooperation and complementarity and its members seek to collaborate with other training providers in the field of humanitarian action and international collaboration. External providers can use the aha to create certificates and to award ECTS credit points. It is possible to include courses in the "Certificates of Advanced Studies" offered by the aha. In addition, the website is available for the advertisement and presentation of courses.

The IFHV-VENRO-Consortium

An important cooperation partner is the umbrella organisation of development and humanitarian aid non-governmental organisations in Germany (VENRO). Related through an extensive consortium project, the IFHV and VENRO offer a high-quality training programme to strengthen the capacities of German humanitarian NGOs funded by the Foreign Office. The trainings conducted in this project can be booked through the aha or VENRO website free of charge.

The Academy of the Ruhr-Universität

As an experienced and renowned institution in the field of further education, the Academy of the Ruhr-Universität is responsible for the logistical and administrative planning of the training events. With its proven experience in professional practice with a wide range of practice-oriented services, implementation and facilitation of certificate programs and seminars, it is a valuable partner of the academy of humanitarian action (aha).  The Academy organizes a continuous transfer of knowledge into professional practice with a wide range of practice-oriented offers of in-service academic continuing education. The private-law organizational form as a non-profit limited liability company guarantees uncomplicated, flexible implementation of the continuing education projects with its partners at the Ruhr-Universität and external partners.

Aktion Deutschland HilftRUBInstitut für Friedenssicherungsrecht und Humanitäres VölkerrechtFH MünsterKompetenzzentrum Humanitäre HilfeAkademie der Ruhr-Universität Bochum