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University of Toronto Launches Course on Aid Work in Conflict Zones

Learn about the challenges humanitarian organizations are facing in conflict zones. Explore how to mitigate dangers during aid work, develop the skills to stress test humanitarian aid projects and learn how to take action without inadvertently causing harm.

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When conflicts emerge and governments fail, non-profits join forces to help. But too often well-intentioned non-profits and humanitarian organizations can become part of the problem they are trying to solve. That’s why the ‘Do not harm’-principle is the first and most important rule of aid work. But how do you get there? How can you effectively plan for positive outcomes when working in conflict zones? How can you minimize the risk of causing harm? What do effective humanitarian projects in conflict zones look like? How do you plan for success?

Responding to these questions, University of Toronto is offering an online course on Doing Good in a Conflict Zones. The 4-weeks course is part of the ExpertTrack Field Ready! Planning for Success in a Conflict Zone and can be taken on its own or as part of the broader curriculum.

In this course, you will explore the potential perils and shortfalls of aid and development initiatives in conflict zones. You will learn how to critically assess humanitarian aid projects, and what steps you can take to avoid causing harm. Throughout the course, you will develop hands-on skills to mitigate challenges and risks associated with aid work in conflict zones and you will practically stress-test your aid plans before implementation. The course is designed for active participation, and you will have the opportunity to discuss pressing aid issues with humanitarian aid workers, students and professionals around the world.

The course is taught by Dr. Aisha Ahmad, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Dr. Ahmad researches civil war economies and jihadist insurgencies and has been involved in conflict zones all over the world.

The course will be especially useful for aid workers, human rights professionals, humanitarian organizations, and volunteers engaged in a conflict-affected environment. Students of related subjects such as international development, humanitarian action and human rights, will also find the course beneficial.

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