Welcome to the Volunteer Essentials Pathway!
This pathway will introduce you to the core skills and knowledge needed to volunteer in the humanitarian sector and provide you with inspiration and resources to explore additional topics. 
As an individual, you can complete this interactive, self-paced pathway online. If you are part of a group, you may want to use the facilitation guide to lead a discussion-focused session about the same topics.

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Is this course for me?
This global pathway is for all volunteers in the humanitarian sector, whether you are volunteering with a specific organisation or on your own.

While the pathway was primarily designed for new volunteers, those with more experience may also use it to refresh or expand their knowledge. A short facilitation guide provides ideas for inducting and training volunteers using these materials.

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How will I benefit from this course?

The four modules listed below will prepare you to meet the following learning objectives:

Module: Volunteering in the humanitarian context

  • Identify who fills various roles within humanitarian response.
  • Describe the activities that take place at each phase of humanitarian response.
  • Identify the roles that can be taken on by volunteers.
  • Understand basic terminology of the humanitarian programme cycle.

Module: Applying humanitarian principles as a volunteer

  • Understand the key humanitarian principles, and how they apply to common tasks and dilemmas. 
  • Identify and take action in situations where humanitarian action might result in unintended harm. 

Module: Volunteer communication and accountability

  • Understand the importance of accountability to affected people and the role that communication plays in this. 
  • Identify opportunities and methods to improve communication with crisis-affected people. 
  • Identify ways to work more collaboratively and effectively with others who are also responding to a crisis, as well as with crisis-affected individuals. 

Module: Volunteer safety and wellbeing

  • Identify and suggest ways to reduce safety and security risks and threats. 
  • Identify personal qualities that may impact risks during certain volunteer assignments, and suggest ways to reduce risks based on these qualities. 
  • Plan how to manage stress during volunteer assignments.
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How long will it take?
 This pathway requires about 2.5 - 3 hours to complete.

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How much does it cost?
 This course is free!

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Will I get a certificate at the end?
 Yes - you will be able to download a certificate once you have have completed all of the modules within the course.

The word START and a question mark in a circleHow do I start?
 Scroll to the top of the page and click on the       Join        button. This will take you through to the course page itself. You don't need to complete the course in one go - you can always continue later from where you left off.