Training Courses for NGOs: Examples and Objectives

Training Courses for NGOs: Examples and Objectives
Non governmental organizations play an essential role in our society. They fight against human rights violations, bring perpetrators to justice and change discriminatory laws. Without NGOs our world would be a much darker place. Providing relief and protection to those in need requires a coordinated and effective response to emergencies from humanitarian actors. Despite widespread acknowledgement of the need to improve humanitarian coordination, many NGOs have only a limited understanding of, engagement in and influence over humanitarian coordination mechanisms (international council of voluntary agencies 2020).

Many of the challenges experienced by NGOs stem from this limited understanding of collaborative mechanisms in various areas of human rights that can be minimized with appropriate training. Although different courses may be held under different titles in-person or online, all of them work towards common goals, including the following:
– Gaining knowledge and tools, which they can use to ensure their voice is central in international human rights decision-making
– Developing strategies and lobbying techniques to increase the potential of their national and regional advocacy work and contribute to human rights change on the ground.

As an example, the above objectives are clearly stated by the HRDAP as calling for applications for the intensive training program for human rights defenders. This online course aimed to equip human rights defenders with the knowledge and skills to integrate the UN human rights system into their existing work at the national level in a strategic manner, and provide an opportunity for participants to prepare for and engage in lobbying and advocacy activities at the UN with the aim to effect change back home (HRDAP, 2020).

Human Rights Careers (HRC) (2021) refers to the fact that NGOs play an essential role in our society by fighting against human rights violations, bringing perpetrators to justice and changing discriminatory laws. It mentions 5 NGO courses that can be taken anywhere and anytime. These include Amnesty International: Human Rights Defenders, which is a free online human rights course offered by the organization Amnesty International. The second one is Amnesty International: The Rights of Refugees, which is an online human rights course that is offered by Amnesty International and one of the most successful online courses with more than 100,000 learners, learning about the hardships refugees are facing in every stage of their perilous journey. Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Leadership and Governance is an online NGO management and leadership course offered by the State University of New York in the United States. Lasting for five weeks, the course is taught through online videos, interactive exercises and assignments. Make Change Happen is a free online social sciences course offered through a partnership between the Open University and OXFAM and aimed to inspire activists and change agents to drive social change and to provide these individuals with practical tools that they can use to further their work. Finally, Research for Impact is a free online course offered by the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Oxfam. The course is useful for anyone involved in scientific and academic research in humanitarian and human rights fields.

The Center for Human Rights (2021) has provided a comprehensive list of training courses with their detailed information and objectives throughout 2021. These include Sexual Minority Rights in Africa (February 2021), Disability Rights in an African Context (March 2021), African Human Rights System in Comparative Perspectives (March 2021), Judicial Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Africa (May 2021), Policing Lockdown: Accountability and oversight of the criminal justice system in the time of COVID-19 (May 2021), Children’s Rights in Africa (June 2021), Civil Society Law in Africa (August 2021), The Right to Development in Africa (August 2021), Policing and Vulnerability in Africa (September 2021), Women’s Rights in Africa (October 2021), Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (November 2021), The Protection of Forcibly Displaced Persons in Africa (November 2021).

In line with same objectives, Global Human Rights Defense (2021) provided training for human rights activists, defenders or anyone interested in learning more about human rights, its violations, how to profile complaints, and human rights advocacy. This training aimed to provide the participants with useful and valuable knowledge along with the opportunity for EU/UN networking while teaching them about media reporting related to Human Rights. As providing relief and protection to those in need requires a coordinated and effective response to emergencies from humanitarian actors, the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (2020) created an online learning stream on how to navigate humanitarian coordination. Webinars, held in partnership with PHAP, were open to anyone interested in improving their understanding of humanitarian coordination and covered the topics of The IASC and the global humanitarian coordination architecture: How can NGOs engage? The humanitarian coordination architecture at country and regional levels; NGO fora and consortia – from local to global; OCHA and NGOs in humanitarian coordination; The New Way of Working: What is it? What does it mean for NGOs? And NGOs in government-led and refugee coordination contexts.

Such courses are not limited in number and all of them aim to provide a stronger understanding of different humanitarian coordination mechanisms, and the challenges and opportunities experienced by NGOs, while providing more chances to get involved in further discussions, influence policy when possible, and engage in humanitarian activities (International Council of Voluntary Agencies, 2020).

Center for Human Rights (2021).
Human Rights Defense (2021).