Training category

Humanitarian negotiation

21 Jul 2024 - 22:01
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Table of contents
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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.

 In 2022, Clingendael Academy has trained more than 400 humanitarians, humanitarian mediators and humanitarian diplomats to increase access and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. Find the numbers of 2022 in our infographic

Humanitarian Negotiation | impact

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. Also 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 2024

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 2024ActivityDays LocationRegister
13-15 February 2024

Foundation Course – Online Negotiation Skills Training



11-14 March 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training4The Hague


March 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training3ColombiaInvitation only
March 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training3VenezuelaInvitation only
15,16 and 22-24 April 2024Humanitarian Diplomacy for Aid Workers5OnlineCLOSED
29 April -3 May 2024Training of Trainers (ToT), Foundation Course - Negotiation Skills Training5Nairobi, KenyaCLOSED
28-30 May 2024Advanced Course - Negotation Skills Training3OnlineCLOSED
11-13 June 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training3Nairobi, KenyaCLOSED
18-20 June 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training3Erbil, IraqCLOSED
9-12 Sept 2024Foundation Course – Negotiation Skills Training4The HagueCLOSED
1-3 Oct 2024Advanced Course - Negotiations Skills Training3The HagueApply 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?
Staff involved
Ron Ton
Director Clingendael Academy
Eva Oldenbuerger
Academy Project Fellow
Leela Koenig
Head of Academy Programme Humanitarian Negotiations
Marlies Rotshuizen
Senior Academy Fellow
Elvine Miala
Academy Project Fellow
Lila Kasi
Academy Project Fellow
Caspar Wanders
Academy Programme Fellow