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Learner spotlight: meet James

Kaya learner James recently transitioned into a project management role within the humanitarian and development sector. He recently completed the Education in Emergencies (EiE) online course, which is designed to help EiE and education practitioners improve their overall understanding of EiE or their knowledge of specific EiE topics and areas.

We caught up with James and hear more about him and the start of his humanitarian learning journey with Kaya.

Tell us about yourself

I’m James (Jim) Downes, a project manager at Jouri Research and Consulting, which is an expert service provider in conflict and volatile environments in the Middle East and Europe.

In this role, I lead a variety of multisectoral projects in collaboration with partner NGOs and IGOs, including UNICEF, GOAL Global, the Danish Refugee Council, and War Child Holland, where I specialise in education and poverty alleviation initiatives.

My daily responsibilities encompass project management, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity building, working remotely from Ireland and Europe.

What is your professional background and how did you first get involved in humanitarian/development work?

I come from a previous professional background in public and private education whereby I spent close to 10 years designing and implementing curricula across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Over this period I built up a major passion for global change through humanitarian action and following the completion of my MA in International Relations, I made the transition full-time into the humanitarian sector in the last 12 months.

How did you first hear about the Education in Emergencies (EiE) online course and what motivated you to take it?

When transitioning careers, I made a concerted effort to align my prior professional experience with top-notch educational opportunities in emergency or conflict-based settings.

During my research, I was thrilled to discover the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and its comprehensive courses, particularly the Education in Emergencies (EiE) programme.

Right from the start, it became evident that these courses set the gold standard in terms of their well-organised structure, meticulously crafted content, and accreditation by the sector’s leading actors.

What did you like about the EiE course – and other courses on Kaya?

The EiE online course’s standout feature is its comprehensive coverage of all aspects relevant to education in emergencies, catering to learners at all levels. Newcomers gain a clear understanding of education’s role in these contexts, while those with prior knowledge such as myself can fill gaps or ensure their practices meet high standards.

The online, self-paced format, with no cost, further democratises access to vital information.

In my role at Jouri, I’ve found courses on Child Protection particularly valuable, as I regularly design research projects requiring adherence to strict child protection protocols.

Has your learning changed your outlook, perspective or approach to your work?

The EiE course has equipped me with a multitude of perspectives to comprehend education in emergency settings. These scenarios can often be intricate, but with the additional tools provided by the course, I’ve become more adept at analysing projects within my work and formulating case-by-case strategies effectively.

Studying with Kaya and HLA ensures that your learning adheres to the highest sector standards, ultimately enhancing your practice and, by extension, the assistance provided to those in most in need of quality care and support.

Find out more

The EiE Online Course is free and available to access on Kaya in EnglishFrenchSpanishArabicUkrainian and Polish.


Education in Emergencies Kaya Learner Spotlight

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