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Transformative humanitarian training for Save the Children in Asia

In October, the HLA achieved a milestone by launching an innovative capacity strengthening initiative for Save the Children in Asia, blending the acclaimed Humanitarian Operations Programme (HOP) Core with the Train the Trainers programme to cascade vital humanitarian knowledge across the region.

17 Save the Children International staff from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand convened in Bangkok to benefit from the training which was led and facilitated by three experts from the HLA.

HOP Core aims to strengthen knowledge, skills and behaviours to respond effectively and prepare to respond to emergencies.

Thailand, October 2023: Save the Children International staff from across Asia convened in Bangkok for a dual training experience – Humanitarian Operations Programme (HOP) Core coupled with Train the Trainers (TtT) – designed to strengthen capacity throughout the region.

Balanced representation was given careful consideration in the composition of the training cohort. Eight of the 17 participants were women, and all participants hold diverse roles across Save the Children in Asia in both core support and programme functions, including field operations, training, humanitarian response, partnerships, and as technical advisors.

Eight of the 17 participants were women, and all participants hold diverse roles across Save the Children in Asia

Immersive training approach: interactive and engaging

Over the five-day HOP Core training, participants were guided through classroom sessions and a three-day desk-based scenario where they navigated an early response simulation delivered in a condensed timeframe. This allowed the participants to experience the pressures of balancing procedures, processes, coordination mechanisms and deadlines, using their knowledge and problem-solving skills to present a proposal on a multi-sectorial response to a rapid onset emergency.

The simulation also helped learners to realise the importance of relying and utilising the skills, knowledge and competencies of each other, as they had to share tasks to get the work done in the condensed timeframe.

Participatory exercises and activities that promoted discussion and sharing between individuals and in small groups were prioritised to encourage and foster connections forming.

Interactive sessions were carefully designed to foster group interaction and engagement

During the workshop participants had the opportunity to become familiar with and practice applying humanitarian principles, standards, needs assessments and proposal writing. Emphasis was also given to the importance of mainstreaming gender equality in humanitarian actions, ensuring that accountability for the affected populations and the wellbeing of staff involved in the response.

The whole overview of humanitarian action is a wonderful experience, I will use all these principles, steps, and learnings in my current role as education advisor. Becoming operations person in the simulation teaches me patience and understand limitations and improved my ability to work in critical situations.
HOP Asia participant

Amplified training impact

The learning experience did not end there: 15 of the participants with prior training and facilitation experience were then immersed in a three-day Train the Trainers (TtT) workshop to equip them with the skills to deliver HOP Core in their own countries.

HOP Core coupled with the Train the Trainers workshop is based on an innovative capacity strengthening format that has been successfully established in the HLA’s Eastern European Regional Centre as part of the transformation of humanitarian response for Ukraine. The first cohort of Eastern Europe graduates delivered their first HOP Core training in Poland in October.

The establishment of this regional pool of trainers not only bolsters local capacity, but also breaks through language and communication barriers; resolves access issues particularly in fragile contexts in the region; and supports the HLA’s commitment to locally-led learning.

The training content was carefully adapted for Asia according to a learning needs assessment (LNA) which identified the priority core competencies to develop.

A HOP Asia training participant from Sri Lanka praised the facilitation team for creating an inclusive learning environment:

“I have to commend the facilitators for doing a great job, understanding the different needs of all the participants, respecting them and hearing out everyone’s opinions, and of course addressing all queries being raised. That has been very important for the learning.”

Asad Zia Iqbal, the HLA’s Regional Capacity Building Lead for Asia said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity to bring together Save the Children colleagues from across Asia region to provide first-hand experience of HOP and to establish a group who are equipped and confident to organise and deliver HOP workshops in their own countries.

We will remain in close contact with the programme graduates as they develop plans to cascade HOP Core in 2024.”

During the Train the Trainer days, the facilitators were impressed by the training skills that the cohort already held. Tom Russell, Learning Solutions Specialist at the HLA said:

“We as facilitators learnt so much from the creativity, ideas and energy demonstrated by participants, especially when the tables-turned and our participants became the simulation team for ourselves as facilitators to enjoy.

I am filled with confidence that the future of the HOP initiative is in safe hands in the Asia region. I am looking forward to hearing about how HOP is delivered in the coming year or so. It is an exciting time for this cohort and the region. »

I acquired a lot of knowledge from this workshop. Each day we captured more technical knowledge as well as practical aspects. Another thing is communication – because we have different representatives and colleagues, we need to elaborate on our ideas in group discussions with effective communication. After this programme, my immediate objective is to deliver this training to our partners as well as my colleagues who require this training.”
HOP Asia participant

HOP Core: creating impact around the world

Since 2018, and through the HOP Core programme, the HLA has trained INGO staff and national partners in 14 countries: Uganda, South Sudan, Zambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Poland, Ukraine, Jordan, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Thailand and Peru.

With the latest cohort having completed the programme in Asia, the impact of this training is being realised in a total of 28 countries.

The HLA Asia Regional Centre expresses its thanks to Save the Children colleagues in Asia for their engagement and support as well as to Save the Children Thailand for hosting the training

Congratulations to all participants for being part of this ground-breaking training initiative for Save the Children in Asia!

Find out more about HOP

Read more about HOP on the programme webpage.

Attendees at the HLA’s upcoming Humanitarian Xchange conference taking place online and in London in February 2024 will be able gain a taster of the immersive experience of HOP.

HOP Asia videos

Watch our videos for a behind-the-scenes view of the training and to hear participant reflections

Watch on YouTube


Asia Humanitarian Operations Programme face-to-face training capacity strengthening Training of Trainers

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