About Us

The academy for humanitarian action (aha) is a co-operation between leading academic institutions and partners from the humanitarian sector. Through the Akademie der Ruhr-Universität gGmbH, aha offers needs-oriented and innovative training programs for structured personnel development in humanitarian organizations. 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. The aim is to support humanitarians in their continuous effort to further improve the quality of their work, address new challenges and meet important needs for reform. To do so, aha offers a wide range of different training courses on topics related to humanitarian action.


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 action has more than doubled. At the same time, special challenges have arisen in the context of humanitarian action, to which humanitarian organizations have to respond. For example, the ability to access people in need has deteriorated constantly, which requires new ways of working. Abuse scandals recently raised awareness of the need to develop further safeguarding mechanisms. New counter-terrorism laws in various countries illustrate that humanitarian organizations must act in an informed manner in order to preserve humanitarian space. Finally humanitarian organizations must also react to current political processes and commitments such as those resulting from the Global Refugee Forum or the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). For example, the Grand Bargain, which was adopted at the WHS, requires a fundamental change in the way of working with an increased focus on localization and participation. A stronger focus on prevention and anticipation in humanitarian action as well as the environmental sustainability of humanitarian measures, which has become an imperative in the face of accelerating climate change, also poses new challenges to humanitarian organizations.


Our vision is that all people in humanitarian emergencies have the necessary capacities and skills to end crises together and sustainably based on a shared set of values.


Our mission is to provide people working in humanitarian crises worldwide with access to high-quality training and further education in the field of humanitarian action, based on the latest scientific and practical findings.


The aha's courses are based on internationally established standards for training in humanitarian action. Two of the founding members, ADH and 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 was 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.

Founding Members

The academy for humanitarian action is based on the long-standing cooperation of three partners with extensive experience in the field of humanitarian action and further education: With the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) at Ruhr University Bochum and the Centre of Competence for Humanitarian Relief (KHH) at Münster University of Applied Sciences, two of the leading research institutes on humanitarian affairs in Europe join forces. Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) bundles the expertise of over 20 renowned German humanitarian NGOs.

Collaboration and Partnerships

The aha is based on the idea of cooperation and complementarity and also sees itself as a platform for other providers of further training in the areas of humanitarian action and international cooperation. External providers have the opportunity to issue certificates and award ECTS credit points via the aha. It is possible to integrate external courses into the "Certificates of Advanced Studies" offered by aha. In addition, the aha website is available for the advertisment and presentation of courses.

The IFHV-VENRO-Consortium

An important cooperation partner is the umbrella organization 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 German Federal 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-University

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 many years of experience in in-service academic further education in many different subject areas 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 further 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