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The State of Humanitarian Professions: providing a reference tool to the aid community

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In a rapidly changing aid ecosystem, how to help humanitarian organisations* better recruit, retain and develop competent staff? How to help individuals have greater clarity on how they can enter the aid sector and be effective for people in need? How to help learning providers better target the most acute learning needs? With the State of the Humanitarian Professions 2020 project, Bioforce will share with the humanitarian community a reference study on recruitment, professional development, recognition and individual career pathways. Join the team!

As we all know, multiple changes are underway in the humanitarian sector. These changes include ceding more power and control to local responders, ensuring that humanitarian workers and communities are safeguarded, operating with new approaches and technology... For these to be successful, the humanitarian community needs to ensure there is sufficient professionalism in the sector and individuals operate with the necessary competencies. Recognising the professional functions that exist and the increasing understanding of the competencies they require will help organisations and individuals to adapt to new challenges and eventually, better answer the needs of vulnerable people. While initiatives seek to give more visibility to professions and careers in humanitarian action (HPass, ELRHA...), there is currently no holistic, exhaustive and prospective publication on this crucial theme: as an actor in the professionalisation of the humanitarian sector, Bioforce is launching, with the support of the Principality of Monaco, the first international study on humanitarian professions.

The State of Humanitarian Professions 2020 project will give deep insights on today's state of 25 humanitarian professions and what their future will be (typical functions within them, characteristics, number of people working in each of them, their typical features, ratio of supply and demand of staff, changes to come, new professions, fading ones...). In addition, SoHP 2020 will identify what are the core distinguishable competencies across all humanitarian professions, how they are changing and what they will look like in the future.

Bioforce and the SoHP 2020 Advisory Group (Humanity and Inclusion, UQAM, NRC, ALNAP, CHS-Alliance, NDMA, PHAP, ICRC WFP...) are determined to consult as widely as possible with humanitarian actors: national and international NGOs, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; other actors involved in humanitarian crisis management, representatives of humanitarian professionals (PHAP, Bioforce alumni network, etc.), professional networks and clusters, and key actors in professionalisation and learning (HPass, Humanitarian Leadership Academy, training bodies, universities, etc.). While a review of existing data and publications is the starting point for the study, field surveys will be conducted in different regions of the world to ensure the greatest geographical representativeness. We will be pleased to share the results of this study in March 2020 at an international conference in Monaco.

  • *As defined in ALNAP's SOHS 2018 research: "The network of inter-connected institutional and operational entities that receive funds, directly or indirectly from public donors and private sources, to enhance, support or substitute for in-country responses in the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection to a population in crisis. The system as defined here comprises all organisational entities funded specifically to undertake humanitarian action, which constitutes their primary mandate or mission. They are operationally or financially related to each other and share common overarching goals, norms and principles."

Bioforce provides solutions to enable vulnerable populations to have access to high quality assistance. Both in France and abroad, we train men and women to respond effectively to humanitarian crises; we support capacity building for international and national organisations ; and we help shape the humanitarian sector. More: