Empowering local humanitarian aid workers through strengthening their professional skills and competencies is key to humanitarian aid localisation. As part of its efforts to promote humanitarian competencies and professionalisation amongst current and future staff working in Bangladesh, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Bangladesh has undertaken this learning needs assessment (LNA) of local humanitarian aid workers (LHAW) engaged in the Rohingya humanitarian crisis response in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Partnering with BRAC, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) and Save the Children UK, this study directly involves 436 Bangladeshi humanitarians working with local and international organisations in Cox’s Bazar.
The report is regarded as the results of a preliminary investigation which focused specifically on the humanitarian competencies and professionalisation of local humanitarian aid workers in Cox’s Bazar, covering the needs of individual aid workers rather than the capacity and needs of organisations. While the results speak to the context of Cox’s Bazar, it is expected that some of the conclusions and recommendations may be relevant to other humanitarian settings as well.
This LNA complements other global initiatives and sector efforts towards furthering humanitarian professionalisation and competency building. The study reveals that despite Bangladesh having displayed best practice in disaster management at the onset of the 2017 Rohingya crisis, the humanitarian sector still lacked the professional architecture and systems that could deliver the level of professional standards that the scale and complexity of the response required. LHAWs operating in the Rohingya humanitarian intervention in Cox’s Bazar often did not have the core competencies required to respond effectively at the life-saving phase and have not been provided with the support necessary to acquire these competencies up to this point.
The report first provides some background to the context of the humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar and the professionalization and localization of humanitarian competencies for LHAWs operating there. It then outlines the analytical framework for assessing the findings of the study, followed by observations from the desk review of relevant literature. The main findings from the qualitative and quantitative data collected from the LHAWs are then presented, grouped into four sections –capacity building offer in Cox’s Bazar, LHAWs' job roles and technical competencies, LHAWs' operational knowledge & skills and LHAWs' capacity building needs. The findings are followed by an analysis and recommendations.