Taking into account the perspectives of affected populations in all types of humanitarian response
I knew CERAH through a colleague from ICRC who had an excellent feedback about the course with regard to the conceptual and practical understanding of working in the humanitarian field. The three-month Diploma of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action fitted perfectly with the schedule I had while I was in Geneva. It was also an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge about humanitarian action as I have previously worked in Philippine Red Cross and ICRC.
My expectation was that CERAH would equip me with fresh perspectives and insights about humanitarian action by learning from the experts in the field. I expected to know more about humanitarian action and how far the fundamental principles I’ve always known could be applied or made operational in complex emergencies. But beyond my expectations, the experts from CERAH taught me more than the theoretical framework of humanitarian action. I particularly learned about taking into account the perspectives of the affected population in all types of humanitarian response. I’ve always had this mindset that being a humanitarian is about saving people’s lives and alleviate their sufferings, but respect and acceptance by the affected population is equally important to the very cause of doing humanitarian work.
The course grounded me with theoretical understanding and some practical lessons about humanitarian action. The subjects broadened my perspective with regard to the social and political issues happening within the international humanitarian system. I also learned about the moral dilemmas faced by every aid actor in various sectors when deployed in the field – based on first hand testimonies from my DAS colleagues, the CERAH mentors and outside speakers. They did not only impart knowledge and experience, but shared life lessons, realities, and potential solutions for future challenges.