Answers to the most common questions.

What is the academy for humanitarian action?

The academy for humanitarian action (aha) is a platform for continuing education in the humanitarian domain. It works at the intersection of humanitarian practice and research, bringing together expertise from over 25 years of work by the partners involved in the humanitarian context. It is open to all organizations working in humanitarian aid and their staff, as well as to newcomers and career changers in this field.

Who is behind the aha?

The aha was founded in 2020 by three partner organizations with extensive experience in the field of humanitarian aid and adult education. The founding members are the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (Institut für Friedenssicherungsrecht und Humanitäres Völkerrecht, IFHV) of the Ruhr University in Bochum and the Centre of Competence for Humanitarian Action (KHH) of the FH Münster University of Applied Sciences as research institutes for humanitarian affairs, as well as Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) as an association of the largest German humanitarian organizations.

As a cooperation partner, the umbrella organization of development and humanitarian non-governmental organizations in Germany (VENRO) is heavily involved in the course offering as part of an extensive consortium project between IFHV and VENRO. Their course are also recognized as part of aha's certificate programs.

You can find more about the history and background of aha here.

What is the goal of aha?

The objective of aha is to train and upskill humanitarian professionals in a high-quality manner. Through professional inputs and moderated space for exchange between staff members of humanitarian organizations, we want to further improve the quality of work, develop methods for approaching new challenges and strengthen innovations.

What is special about the aha?

The aha is characterized by its open platform character: All actors in the field of humanitarian aid are invited to offer trainings and engage in exchange with others through the aha. The aha is not profit-oriented and pursues the sole goal of training and educating humanitarian personnel.

What is special about our courses is that you can not only participate in individual events, but you can aggregate five trainings from one topic area into a "Certificate of Advanced Studies". More information about the certificates and our self-conception can be found in the corresponding sections on the homepage.

How do I stay up to date?

Here you can find our newsletter, which keeps you posted on all new courses on our site. You can also follow our LinkedIn page, which you can find here.

Where do the courses take place?

Depending on the organizer, our face-to-face seminars take place at a well-connected seminar location in Germany. However, many of our courses are also conducted entirely online or in a hybrid format (online and face-to-face). You can find detailed information on the respective course page.

Who are the trainers of the courses?

All our trainers have many years of experience in humanitarian aid or development policy practice and are carefully selected by the course organizers. In close coordination, we prepare the courses intensively and target group-oriented, so that at the end of each course the participants and trainers are usually satisfied.

Is there a limit regarding the number of participants in the courses?

The number of places in a course varies depending on the methodology and course content and is closely coordinated with the trainers. The maximum number of participants is displayed on each course page and places are allocated based on availability. If a course is fully booked, you can still register for a place on the waiting list.

Why are some courses fee-based and some not?

The courses at aha are offered by various partner organizations with many years of experience in humanitarian and development project work. Some of the courses can be financed by third party funds and are therefore free of charge for the participants. For courses with a fee, you can submit an education voucher (Bildungsscheck) issued by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia to cover the participation fees when registering.

You will find more information about the partners and organizations behind aha here.

What do I get for the course fee?

From the course fee we cover all costs related to the organization of the training, including working materials and catering during the course. In the case of face-to-face training, travel, meals outside of training hours and accommodation costs have to be covered by the participants or their employers.

Are courses also offered in French, Spanish or Arabic?

Currently, we offer many courses in German or English. In the future, however, we would like to expand our offering and include other languages.

Are courses also offered in a hybrid format?

Yes. Not only due to the limitations of the Covid pandemic, we try to use innovative formats to offer a positive learning experience within our courses to as many participants as possible. Hybrid formats with online and face-to-face time as well as flexible participation options are just one of many ways to achieve this goal.

I am a student. Is the aha also interesting for me?

Our courses are aimed both at employees of humanitarian organizations with experience in humanitarian action or development cooperation and at newcomers or career changers who are looking to work professionally in the field of humanitarian aid.

Our certificate program "Foundations of Humanitarian Action" offers you a wide range of courses, which are accessible without much previous experience in humanitarian work.

I am an employee of a humanitarian organization and work abroad. Can I participate in the courses?

Yes! We strive to offer many of our courses in an online or hybrid format so that participation from abroad is easily possible. We are happy to have participants who bring current experiences and ideas from abroad into our courses and see your participation as an enrichment for the professional exchange at the aha.

I am a trainer. How can I offer a course at the aha?

For our growing training program, we are constantly looking for experienced trainers on topics related to program work, regional developments, critical reflection and innovations in humanitarian aid and international cooperation. We would be happy to add you to our database of trainers

For more information, please contact us at: aha-trainings[at]ruhr-uni-bochum.de or via the contact form on this page. We are looking forward to meeting you!

I was not satisfied with the course I attended. Who can I contact?

We are constantly improving our course content and organization. The aha training courses have therefore received very good evaluations to this point and are characterized by a high level of participant satisfaction. If something still was not right in your course, please contact us at support[at]aha-trainings.de or use the contact form on this page. We appreciate your feedback!

How far in advance can I register for a course?

Our courses are usually posted online at least 12 weeks before the start of the course and can then be booked. For updates on new courses, sign up for our newsletter here. It will notify you of every new course that is activated.

I have registered and received a confirmation email. Does that mean I am surely registered?

After your registration in the registration form you will receive an automated confirmation of receipt. This is not yet a final confirmation of participation, as we first check the payment of the participation fee and whether you are among the target group. You will receive your final confirmation in a separate mail within two weeks after the registration, however at least three to four weeks before the course starts.

I have registered but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?

After you have registered in the registration form, you should receive an automated confirmation of receipt. Later we will contact you again with your final confirmation. Please send cancellations exclusively to the address aha-anmeldungen[at]akademie.ruhr-uni-bochum.de.

If you have not received the confirmation of receipt, please check the spam folder of your mailbox first to see if it is there. If you do not find a confirmation mail there either, we will be happy to help you via the contact form or support[at]aha-trainings.de. If possible, please let us know in your message which browser and browser version you are using, when you tried to book the course and which error message you potentially received. We will try to solve the problem and get back to you as soon as possible.

I have registered for a course but cannot attend. What should I do?

Please let us know as soon as possible if you no longer want or can no longer take your place. Our courses often have a limit of participants and a waiting list, so we can give your place to another person.

In case of a paid training, you can withdraw free of charge up to four weeks before the training starts. After that we reserve the right to withhold the participation fee proportionally: When cancelling your participation up to two weeks before the start of the event, 30% of the participation fee will be due; in the event of later cancellation and up to the start of the course, 50% of the participation fee will be due. If the cancellation occurs after the start of the event or if the event is not attended, the full participation fee will also be due. It is possible to name a substitute participant after consultation, provided that this participant fulfills the necessary participation requirements. You can find our detailed cancellation conditions here.

What are the funding options available to cover the participation fees for fee-based courses?

At the moment, we can take into account the federal education bonus (Bildungsprämie) as well as an education voucher (Bildungsscheck) from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to cover the participation fees. You can upload the relevant documents - the bonus coupon from the federal government or the education voucher from NRW - in PDF format when you register. To do so, simply click on the "Upload application for funding" button in the course registration screen. We will then automatically take the grant into account when issuing the invoice.

Regardless of which funding option you choose, you can be reimbursed for up to 50% or a maximum of €500 of the training costs. To do this, you can contact an advising center hosted by the state or the federal state of NRW before registering to check whether the relevant funding model is suitable for you and to apply for the funding. You can find additional information (in German language) about the requirements and details for both funding models as well as the location of the nearest advising center under the following external links to the education bonus (Bildungsprämie) and the education voucher NRW (Bildungsscheck NRW).

What does CAS stand for?

CAS means "Certificate of Advanced Studies" and is a further education degree at Master´s level. The aha´s CAS is worth 10 ECTS credits and consists of five courses or "Intensive Training Programs" (ITPs), each worth 1 ECTS credit, and a final exam, which is worth another 5 ECTS credits.

We currently offer CAS in three core areas of humanitarian action: “Foundations of Humanitarian Action”, “Anticipatory Humanitarian Action” and “Locally-led Humanitarian Action”. Courses in each core area can be individually selected from a pool of courses and completed in a flexible manner. After completing five courses in the ITP format, you must write an essay as a final exam. You will be given a choice of topics for your essay and then have a 6 weeks time frame to write your essay. Upon successful submission, you will receive your certificate.

More information about the CAS can be found here.

What is an ITP?

ITP stands for "Intensive Training Program" and refers to all courses at the aha that can be credited toward the CAS. An ITP course consists of at least 24 training hours and ends with a final exam. If you successfully participate in the course exam, you will receive a certificate of participation for the ITP, which is worth 1 ECTS credit point in the European University System.

If you successfully participate in the course without an exam, you will receive a certificate of participation in any case.

Click here for more information about the ITP.

Can I also participate in a course without the wish to obtain a CAS?

Yes! Each of our courses can of course be booked without participation in a certificate program. If you successfully participate in the course without an exam, you will receive a certificate of participation in any case.

Who is the CAS-program for?

The certificate program of aha is open for participants of our ITP courses. No matter if you are at the beginning of your master program at a German university or already in the middle of your professional life - it is a further education program that adapts to your life and your learning. You can flexibly put your CAS together piece by piece with different courses and in the end have a certified further qualification.

To complete your CAS program, you only need to meet a few requirements:

Either: You must have successfully completed a university degree and have at least one year of professional activity experience

Or: You must have successfully completed a covational training of at least two years and have three years of professional activity experience.

If you are unsure whether you meet those requirements, please write us an E-Mail.

You can find more information about our current certificates here.

How can I acquire a "Certificate of Advanced Studies"?

The procedure for obtaining a Certificate of Advanced Studies has two stages. First, you have to complete five courses in ITP format, each worth one ECTS point, from the respective subject area. Afterwards, you can register for the final examination in the form of a 10-to-15-page essay by sending an e-mail with your five ITP certificates to aha-anmeldungen[at]akademie.ruhr-uni-bochum.de. After checking the formal requirements, your request will be forwarded to one of our supervisors. The supervisor will provide you with all relevant information for the final exam as well as a selection of possible questions by e-mail. Of course, you can also suggest your own topics. When a topic has been selected, you have six weeks to complete the essay. Once you have passed the final exam, we will immediately issue your certificate.

What types of CAS are there?

We currently offer CAS in three core areas: The CAS  “Foundations of Humanitarian Action” covers all the basics of humanitarian action and is particularly recommended for newcomers and career changers with little prior experience. The certificates covering "Locally-led Humanitarian Action" and "Anticipatory Humanitarian Action" deepen important core topics of humanitarian aid with localization and anticipatory humanitarian action and are rather aimed at humanitarian NGO staff with prior experience. Courses in each core area can be individually selected from a pool of courses and completed flexibly.

For more information on our current certificates, click here.

What courses can I choose from to complete a CAS?

For each "Certificate of Advanced Studies" there is a given pool of courses from which you can freely choose five ones - according to your preferences and depending on availability. You can find out which courses are assigned to the respective certificates on the individual certificate pages of our homepage for the CAS in "Foundations of Humanitarian Action", "Anticipatory Humanitarian Action and Locally-led Humanitarian Action. You will also find further information material there.

Can I get credit for a course in more than one CAS program?

A CAS generally consists of five courses plus a final exam. Therefore, you can only receive credit for each of your courses in one CAS. Some courses may be part of two different certificate programs - for example, if the course is a localization course but also an introductory course for newcomers and career changers; however, as a participant you have to decide and can only have the course credited for one of the two certificates and not for both at the same time.

How long does it take to obtain a CAS and when can I start?

The start and duration of a certificate depends on the courses you choose and your flexibility. There is no fixed start, you can choose your courses within the CAS and write the final essay whenever you meet the requirements and feel ready - you only need five completed courses until the essay. Of course, we are available if you need help choosing courses or editing your essay.

What does it cost to obtain a CAS?

The costs of a certificate consist of the individual course fees and, if applicable, the costs of travel, meals, and accommodation for the individual trainings. Many of our trainings are sponsored and therefore free of charge. You can find the fees for the individual trainings on the respective course page.

How do I register for the CAS?

If you have completed five ITP courses and would like to write your essay, please contact us at aha-anmeldungen[at]akademie.ruhr-uni-bochum.de. Please attach the five ITP certificates. We will then provide you with more information about the writing of the essay by mail and issue your CAS.

I have already taken several ITP courses at the aha. Will my ITP certificate of attendance expire at some point?

No. It does not matter in which time period you complete the five ITP courses required for a CAS. We want to offer you the greatest possible flexibility in obtaining your continuing education degree. Therefore, there is no deadline for obtaining a CAS and your certificates of attendance do not expire.

I have earned ECTS credits at aha. Where can I have them credited?

On the one hand, you can have the individual credits acquired through ITP courses credited to you within our certificate program in order to obtain a certified continuing education degree in the form of a "Certificate of Advanced Studies".

On the other hand, you can also have the ECTS credits or your "Certificate of Advanced Studies" worth 10 ECTS points earned at the aha credited your bachelor's or master's degree if the committee responsible for the degree program agrees to its recognition. 10 ECTS points roughly correspond to the usual scope of a single subject module in European bachelor's or master's degree programs.