Allying theory and practice: CERAH students in Uganda to work for a concrete project


After more than three months of online learning, at the end of November 2019, coordinators and students of our Humanitarian Distance Learning Certificate of Advanced Studies “Designing strategies and projects in humanitarian action” met face to face in Jinja, Uganda, for two residential weeks of intense learning. All participants eagerly await this part of our blended learning course, as it provides them with a great opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the main challenges of current humanitarian context and concepts in an analytical and critical manner. This residential session is the key element in the middle of the course that allows building up not only knowledge, competencies and hard skills, but also the soft skills - teamwork, adaptability, interpersonal skills, and so on – which are essential in the humanitarian sector.   

We are proud to say that this 5th edition of the residential course has been a successful experience for all those involved. This course edition has 16 participants coming from different geographical contexts - Indonesia the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda and the US – and diverse organisations, including the Aga Khan Foundation, Medecins sans Frontieres, Oxfam, the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF and more.

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Group photo in front of Omoana House. Photo credit: Brian Amanya

During this intensive phase of the course, participants get to better understand and practice the logic behind the project cycle management through a real hands-on experience: As part of the course, students are required to assess and design a project proposal to address a real issue submitted by the people in charge of Omoana House, a rehabilitation centre for HiV+ and malnourished children in Jinja. This entire process is done together by students with the Omoana House staff. This is a win-win experience: Omoana House gets an answer in the form of proposal of intervention to a real problem they have submitted, and our students get an opportunity to strengthen their capacities and apply them in a real-life scenario.

What’s next? Our course participants still have almost four months of online distance learning, more modules to study and the preparation of a Plan of Action, the central assignment of the course in which they must apply what they learned in concrete projects that are constructive in their present work environment and useful for their organisation.

More about the course

We have developed the Humanitarian Distance Learning (HDL) programme to answer to the real needs and demands of its public, mainly professionals working in the humanitarian sector and their organisations. The course offers access to our excellent education without having to take a break from their professional carrier. At the same time, the course literally comes into the working environment of participants as its focus is to have students reflect on their current practice as they learn.

The course programme has been developed in partnership with some of the largest humanitarian organsations in the sector. The 6th edition of the course will start on 31 August 2020, for more information visit: