Note: Unfortunately, this course is experiencing technical difficulties and will not launch. We are working to investigate and fix the problem. We apologise for the inconvenience caused in the meantime. 

A comprehensive and practical introduction to engaging with the international humanitarian coordination system, this course is self-paced, publicly accessible, and free of charge. The Building a Better Response (BBR) eLearning course is an offering of the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, the educational arm of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Learning objectives

BBR uses interactive scenarios to help you become familiar with the following elements of the international humanitarian architecture, and to understand the role of NGOs within each of them:

   Foundations of Humanitarian Action
   The International Humanitarian Architecture
   The Cluster Approach
   Planning and Funding the Humanitarian Response
   International Law and Humanitarian Standards


This course is suitable for all humanitarians and those interested in understanding the humanitarian coordination system.


It should take you 6-8 hours to complete this self-paced course.  You do not need to complete the course in one sitting. 

PHAP Credentialing Program logo

This course will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem, in Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice and in International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action.

In particular, the course addresses  segments 2.3, 3.1 and 3.3 of the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem outline. It also addresses some aspects of segments 1.5, 1.7, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 3.4, 4.2. The course also addresses some aspects of statement 1.1 of the Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice outline and some aspects of statements 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 5.4 of the International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action outline.

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program