Training category

Humanitarian negotiation

26 Mar 2023 - 08:52
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Why training negotiation skills for humanitarian aid workers?

The work of humanitarian aid workers and the accompanied negotiations are crucial for delivering aid to those in need. The ability to effectively negotiate in stressful circumstances is a skill which is essential to every humanitarian worker: from the field-based aid worker negotiating access on the frontline to the manager in headquarters talking to donors and governments. The Clingendael Institute focuses on equipping participants with a set of tools which allows them to better analyse a situation they find themselves in and to make more conscious choices on how to negotiate.

Participants learn through simulations and role play to put into practice these tools and techniques to better deal with their daily challenges. At the same time, the training serves as a platform where humanitarian workers can exchange dilemmas and learn from each other’s experiences. 

Facts & figures: Impact of the Humanitarian Negotiation Programme

The programme was established in 2016 with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign affairs. The training courses are offered in The Hague, near conflict areas and online.

Since 2017, Clingendael Academy has trained more than 700 humanitarians and mediators in negotiation skills to increase access and effectiveness of aid delivery. 83% of our alumni were part of negotiations within six months after following our training and 94% of those alumni believe that the tools and techniques learned improved their negotiation result.

The reported negotiation activities include:

  • Negotiating for access to an area or a target population (30%)
  • Financial negotiations: with donors or suppliers (19%)
  • Negotiating for cooperation from local communities (16%)
  • Negotiating for permission to implement specific activities (after gaining general access) (14%)
  • Negotiations with other humanitarian organizations on coordination and implementation (14%)
  • Defending humanitarian principles as conditions for operations (7%)

Check out our result and impact map 2017-2020.

Clingendael's results are mentioned in the Dutch Development Results 2019 under the themes Security and rule of Law and Humanitarian aid.

Interested in training?

This training is only meant for humanitarian aid workers who are currently employed in this field, and for whom humanitarian negotiations play a role in their regular activities. Please note that the digital trainings require a good and stable internet connection. Also note that there might be a time difference between your location and the times of the digital training (which usually takes place between 08:00-16:00 UTC). Both the digital and face-to-face trainings are very interactive and your constant active participation will be expected. Therefore, you cannot continue your regular daily tasks during the training time. After full participation you will receive a certificate. There are no fees connected to participation.


National staff of local or international humanitarian organisations play an essential role in the delivery of aid to those in need. Their role is recognized in the Grand Bargain and by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  As a training provider for humanitarians, Clingendael Academy has a role to play in supporting localization efforts. Local staff play a fundamental role in access negotiations and in the strenghtening of relationships with affected populations and host communities.  If local staff negotiates effectively, local interest can be better represented vis-à-vis humanitarian and non-humanitarian interlocutors.

There is no widespread offer of free or affordable negotiation skills training to local organizations. As Clingendael Academy, we give priority to national staff or staff from local or national NGOs in our selection process. From 2017-2021, 75-80% of participants in our training were national staff. We continuously seek to expand our network in order to make our trainings available to more representatives of local or national NGOs.

Are you part of a local humanitarian network/ organization and interested in our trainings or in our wider offer? Or do you have a specific request? Please contact us so we can explore possibilities together.

Activities 2023

We keep adding new training opportunities throughout the year. Some of our trainings are invitation only, or target humanitarian aid workers from specific countries, so keep that in mind while applying. After the deadline has been closed, our experts look at all the applications and make a selection of participants who seem most fit to take part in the programme. The training courses are delivered in English and French.

Stay up to date about our new courses. Register for our email alert. You will receive an e-mail once we have an ‘open registration’ course coming up.


Dates 2023 Q1 Activity Days  Location Register
9-11 May Advanced Course – Negotiation Skills Training 3 The Hague, Netherlands

Alumni only!

Apply here

11-13 April Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training 3 Yaoundé Closed
26-28 April Negotiation Skills training for Humanitarian Workers 3 Gaziantep, Türkiye Apply here
22-25 May Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training 4 Online Apply here
6-8 June Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training 3 Amman Apply here
20-22 June Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training 3 Doha Apply here
12-16 June Training of Trainers 5 Amman

Alumni only!

Apply here

Training pillars
Humanitarian negotiation Training Programme will focus on two facets:
16 March 2018 - 16:56

How we work

Our training approach to support humanitarian aid workers is interactive and practical. We develop our own simulation tailored to the specific needs of the participants, relating to different phases in the negotiation process. Read more
16 March 2018 - 17:03

Building an essential humanitarian skill

The ability to effectively negotiate in stressful circumstances is a skill which is essential to every humanitarian worker: from the field-based aid worker negotiating access on the frontline to the manager in headquarters talking to donors and governments. Read more

Which training suits you?

We offer different negotiation skills training courses for humanitarian aid workers. Below you can find an overview of the different trainings.

Foundation course

This training deals with the basics of negotiation. 

  • Face-to-face: a four-day training (in The Hague) or three-day training (in the region)
  • Online: a five-day training

Courses for alumni of foundation course

  • Advanced course: a three-day face to face training for participants who have taken part in the foundation course. It builds on the elements learnt during the foundation course & goes into more detailed negotiation situations such as deadlocks.
  • E-negotiation: a two-day online training in e-negotiation.

Training of Trainers

Participants who have taken part in the foundation and advanced course will in the course of a week be prepared to deliver a two-day negotiation training to their colleagues. 

Third Party Mediators

  • Face-to-face: a five-day programme for local actors mediating negotiations in a humanitarian context
  • Online: a three-day training in e-mediation

Tailor-made: if you are looking for a negotiation skills training for your organisation or consortium, please contact us.

Stay up to date about our new courses. Register for our email alert. You will receive an e-mail once we have an ‘open registration’ course coming up.

Language and costs

We deliver training courses in both English and French. The language of the training is indicated in the application form. Clingendael covers the training fees which means the trainings are free. Humanitarian organisations are expected to cover travel and accommodation costs of their participating staff. Financial assistance is available in some circumstances.

Interested in a tailor-made training course?
Ron Ton
Director Clingendael Academy
Eva Oldenbuerger
Academy Fellow
Leela Koenig
Senior Academy Fellow
Marlies Rotshuizen
Academy Fellow
Evelien Borgman
Senior Academy Fellow
Nura Jaafar
Academy Fellow