Building an essential humanitarian skill

It is estimated that 12,000 humanitarian aid workers work directly on the frontlines of conflict and disaster. These first responders are often local or national staff, who must assess immediate needs and the possibility for humanitarian access. Other national and international staff support the immense effort of providing humanitarian assistance, requiring extraordinary coordination with other humanitarian actors and the international community.

Tragically, humanitarian access is not always guaranteed in an emergency or conflict setting. To gain access and to be able to implement humanitarian projects and reach beneficiaries, it is likely that negotiations follow. 
Humanitarian aid workers must then manage a complex process of identifying the main decision-makers from (armed) groups, (local) governance structures, community leaders and other agencies in the area with the aim of creating the conditions for safe access to populations in need. 

Negotiation then lies at the heart of how an aid worker (and their organisation) can create agreements that aim to satisfy as many interests as possible and reach people in need. Knowing how to do navigate through such negotiation situations and make conscious choices in what you will and will not agree to strengthens the capacity of the humanitarian negotiator.  The better an organisation is prepared for such humanitarian negotiation processes, the higher their chances of success in reaching people in need. 


To increase humanitarian access and improve implementation of humanitarian programmes by improving humanitarian negotiation processes.​​​​​​​

Supporting objectives 

  1. To develop the negotiation skills of humanitarian aid workers 

  2. To improve the capacity of organisations by supporting them with practical tools and effective working processes through training of trainers

  3. To develop the negotiation and mediation skills of representatives who work for mediation organisations that focus on humanitarian issues 
  4. To improve the cooperation between humanitarian aid workers and diplomats who work on humanitarian issues​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Target groups


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Nura Jaafar
Academy Programme Fellow