Urban Humanitarianism


As the world grows more urbanised, large scale disasters are increasingly impacting urban areas. The role aid agencies have and the response that they provide is changing from the more familiar rural or camp contexts.

 Urban emergencies have a higher level of complexity and the kind of response required is greatly affected by the different urban environments, whether huge cities, medium-sized towns, periurban or slum areas. Aid agencies are much less significant players in urban responses, as their available resources are often dwarfed by those of existing service providers. It is crucial for effective urban disaster response to build strong relations with national and municipal authorities as well as private sector services suppliers, and to work within existing legislation and long term plans for the cities. Working with communities is as important as ever, but communities are less tightly defined and engagement becomes more complex: communities are unlikely to be geographically-identified but instead based around common interests or, for instance, income opportunities. This Urban Humanitarianism course aims to explore and develop the necessary skills and knowledge of a humanitarian to work effectively in the early stages of an urban emergency.


Participants should have an interest in working in an urban emergency response and have some experience in the humanitarian and/or development sector. This course presupposes a working knowledge of basic humanitarian principles.


The course will take place over two days of face to-face training. Sessions covered will include:

• Introduction to urban disasters

• Urban stakeholders and working relations in emergencies

• Defining and targeting affected populations and communicating with them in emergencies

• Coordination approaches for urban emergencies

• Multi-sector assessments in urban environments

• An introduction to market assessments and cash and voucher programming


The course will run for two full consecutive days. Each day will begin at 9am and finish at 5:30pm, with time allowed for lunch and coffee breaks. Training methods will include a mixture of presentations, group discussions and exercises. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences of urban emergencies. The trainers are experienced humanitarian trainers with urban experience.

Terms and Conditions

For full RedR UK terms and conditions, click here

Course Overview

Course Length
2 days
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