Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Added: 07-24-2018

By building partnerships, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) works to create opportunities for people around the world to learn about disaster preparedness and develop response plans in their own countries and communities. HLA was founded in 2015 and provides in-person (at learning and Academy centers) and online resources and crisis response training to individuals, communities, and organizations.

community Kenya information source support collaboration Philippines humanitarian disasters and emergency management crisis intervention disaster preparedness knowledge expertise training

Type Reading Time Author Date Source
website minutes HUMANITARIAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 01-01-2015
Type Reading Time
website minutes
Author Date
humanitarian leadership academy 2018-07-24 00:00:00 UTC
Key Takeaways

  • The Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) aims to work at the individual and community level to provide for a more effective bottom-up, rather than top down, response to local humanitarian crises.
  • HLA is planning for construction of ten Academy centers over five years, with most strategically placed in crisis prone regions of Asia, Africa, South or Central America, and Europe. Currently, several of the centers are established; they will all offer locally tailored crisis response training and improve local disaster readiness. 
  • In addition, HLA’s online “global humanitarian learning platform” Kaya allows for open access training, professional development, and resource sharing of best practices for humanitarian aid workers, leaders, and local responders.


In response to an increasing number of major humanitarian crises, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) was founded in 2015 to provide a platform for multilateral collaboration to enable people to prepare for and respond to local disasters. According to its March 2015 press release, Save the Children contributed hosting and start-up costs and the UK Department for International Development provided much of the initial funding. Other public and private partners have since joined in support of the venture. The press release includes an outline of the HLA plans to: establish ten regional centers of learning, train tens of thousands of people from vulnerable communities, offer advanced training opportunities for professional humanitarian aid workers, share best practices universally and in local languages, and “support the development of sustainable business models for 60 national level organisations.”

Currently, learning centers are established in Kenya and the Philippines, and within five years HLA hopes to locate another eight centers to target crisis-vulnerable communities in 40 separate countries in Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and Europe. The intent is for each of the regional centers to have a locally-focused curriculum for training crisis responders most efficiently*.

HLA has also introduced its online platform, Kaya, to provide shared resources and virtual training for humanitarian aid workers and local responders. Kaya courses are created by HLA and/or by its partner organizations, and include both self-directed modules and scheduled events. The course catalog categorizes courses by topic, language, provider, format, etc.; registration is available for individuals and humanitarian organization staff, and many of the courses can be downloaded to complete offline. Featured topics on the Kaya homepage include: “humanitarian essentials,” “technical,” “programmatic,” “safety and security,” and “management essentials;” and “playlists” or thematic groups of courses were introduced to provide a structured curriculum in certain topics.


  • According to its “What is the Humanitarian Leadership Academy?” brochure, HLA “is now working with local, national, regional and global organizations, communities and individuals to develop learning resources and tools.” The Academy’s collaborative organization, by providing support to people at the local level, “will enable them to be better prepared for a disaster, respond quicker and to have increased resilience after a crisis.” This “network of expertise” should be established and locally available when a humanitarian crisis arises. Currently, HLA is also funding three collaboration centers:
  • According to its “Our Collaboration Centres” brochure, these centers “are focused on research, development, quality learning as well as recognition and certification. Each Centre specializes in a particular theme. The intention is that the output from these Collaboration Centres informs the Academy and the humanitarian sector on best practice, identify gaps in learning and identify new content, and improve quality of learning and broaden recognition of individual skills and experiences.”: