Viewing archives for Eastern Europe

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Kaya – strengthening humanitarians’ skills

Since May 2016, Kaya – the free digital learning platform operated by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy has upskilled thousands of humanitarians globally to directly respond to crises in their localities. Kaya is providing high quality, expert led and industry recognised learning at times and places where access can be challenging.

A Kaya learner from Syria said: “As someone who faced challenges due to the Syrian crisis, such as limited access and remote management, I found Kaya’s designed courses to be invaluable in enhancing my skills and knowledge.

The platform not only helped me keep learning but also enabled me to share this knowledge with colleagues, team members, and partner staff, ultimately making a positive impact on those affected by the crisis, especially since many courses are available in different languages including Arabic.”

With over 700,000 learners from 190 countries registered on the platform; there are now over 500 learning resources available on Kaya in 12 languages at varying levels of expertise. Resources for people who have never been involved in humanitarian action to resources for people who have worked in the sector for many years.

A Kaya learner from Cote D’Ivoire said: “The learning has changed my outlook, it’s opened my eyes to some of the challenges faced by our colleagues on the ground.”

Kaya content is contextually relevant and is often updated by experts across the globe with new information as new processes are introduced to humanitarian action.

How can I access Kaya and what will I find?

Kaya is free and accessible on a phone, tablet or laptop. You will need access to the internet to sign up and find content. However, your coursework can be done offline, and progress uploaded when you have access to internet again.

Resources range from games, quizzes, and assessments to online self-directed courses and pathways, webinars, videos, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and blended courses. Kaya users can also find registration for face-to-face workshops and events and so much more available and accessible at the learner’s time/flexibility.

A Kaya learner from South Africa said: “I believe that Kaya fosters creativity and critical thinking and for me that is an essential skill that every humanitarian needs.”

Kaya is not only helping humanitarians grow, but also supporting international, national and local non-governmental organisations (who we partner with) to share their knowledge on an accessible platform.

Another Kaya learner from Ukraine said: I’ve used the Kaya platform during my work with International Rescue Committee till October 2022. And nowadays I was really surprised to see this hub available in Ukrainian. I don’t remember any other humanitarian platform with trainings available in our language.”

Kaya resources are accessible; the platform includes a screen reader helper, a dyslexia friendly view and much more. As a learner on Kaya, you can earn certificates and showcase the certificates you receive from completing courses. Some courses award HPass digital badges, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile. These certificates and badges validate gained knowledge and encourage and motivate humanitarians to accelerate their learning and professional development.

I was really surprised to see this hub available in Ukrainian. I don’t remember any other humanitarian platform with trainings available in our language.”

What should I do now?

If you’re looking to learn something new as a humanitarian – from project management to proposal writing, understanding big concepts like cash and voucher assistance or the Grand Bargain. If you’re looking to join valuable networks such as the Women in Leadership network hosted on Kaya – sign up now.

If you’re already a Kaya learner, tell a friend about Kaya. Share one of the #KayaAppreciation posts on our social media channels or create your own.

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy remains poised to support professional growth and Kaya learners’ impact and invaluable contributions to individual communities.

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Streamlining synergy in Eastern Europe: HLA, Save the Children and local humanitarian actors on response in Poland 

Rachel O’Brien, Director of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, and Gareth Owen, Humanitarian Director at Save the Children UK, visited the country office of Save the Children Poland and the HLA’s Eastern Europe regional team.  

The HLA and Save the Children International Poland teams held joint workshop sessions to align and support synergies between our programming and to discuss the priorities and constructive solutions to the challenges we and other response actors face.   

Rachel O’Brien, Director of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, says: 
“It was wonderful to spend time with the HLA Eastern Europe regional team, who are embedded into Save the Children Poland’s team. Different thinking is crucial in this time of change, and the HLA team’s drive to build alliances and networks, hold space for critical thinking and pilot different ways to respond is of both critical importance and very difficult to achieve. They are doing an exceptional job collaborating with other organisations, both local and international, to drive and support new initiatives where a need has been identified and where we can accelerate positive change.” 

As Poland is at the forefront of the new approaches in the humanitarian and, specifically, refugee crisis response, teams’ leaders reviewed current localisation activities, the vision and the strategy to increase our positive impact. During the joint sessions, teams also focused on catalysing positive changes in the cooperation between local and international actors.

Gareth Owen, Humanitarian Director at Save the Children UK, highlights: 
“It is not about ‘becoming activists’ but about responding to the critique that INGOs have lost the art of functioning with purposeful political astuteness in this dominant era of technocratic aid. I can fully agree with the ‘Crafting Poland Response Vision 2023 and Beyond’ by the Save the Children Poland Response Office that it is essential that we adopt a three-pronged approach to make the right transformation of the Response Office: agility, people, and alliances.”  

Bujar Hoxha, Save the Children Response Director for Poland, reflects:   
“I think, the HLA, with its Engine 2 approach, provides us with a platform to anticipate, especially in terms of the context, where we sit as Poland, so we can analyse and plan for the future. It has enormous potential not only to create new humanitarian leaders, but also to create a robust cohesion among the different civil society actors for what is coming ahead.”  

The HLA, Save the Children UK, and Save the Children International Poland working on aligning and supporting synergies between our programming.

To follow up on and continue strengthening relations with our local partners, Rachel, Gareth, and our regional team met actors across the Ukraine response in Poland. Various organisations, including small businesses, social entrepreneurs, civil society and non-profit organisations contributed to the humanitarian response in Poland, facing different limitations. Representatives from the Humanitarian Folkowisko Foundation, Ashoka,, Towards Dialogues Foundation (W Strone Dialogu), Fluent, and the Association of Ukrainians in Poland, Przemysl Branch, attended the meeting. The participants shared their challenges and discussed what institutional and systemic support is needed and how to mitigate existing and potential struggles.

Kamila Wujec, Regional Lead, HLA Eastern Europe Regional Centre, emphasises: 
“The personal sharing of our purpose in conducting our daily work helped us to create a reflective space, connect and feel a sense of togetherness in the moment, and in the response as a whole. Nobody knows how long this conflict will take when people will be able to feel safe again. To continue the work despite fatigue and struggle and seeing so much suffering of the people affected by this conflict, organisations and their leaders need a sense of shared purpose, feeling the societal ties and bonding with each other.” 

Joanna Kucharczyk-Jurgielewicz, Eastern Partnership Manager, Strategy holder, Ashoka, says: 
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the scale of needs and wideness of the social challenges we face, both in Poland and the region. As social entrepreneurs, we need to do two things: take care of ourselves and each other and create and maintain safe networks. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘heropreneurship’, where one feels the most important and irreplaceable saviour. We need to analyse what are the root causes of the problems, choose a piece, and tackle it, recognising that there are other actors around who address other parts. Having this collaboration prevents burnout and increases the collective impact which is changing the world.” 

Meeting with the local humanitarian response actors, discussing what institutional and systemic support is needed and how to mitigate existing and potential struggles.

Visiting the Digital Learning Centre, our team got to meet a group of librarians who, with the support of Save the Children, have set up a learning programme to support Ukrainian children as they settle into studying in Poland. The Centre has significantly expanded the programme to include after-school care and access to reading, organising various workshops and offering space for refugees to share their traditional crafts. However, the librarians shared about the uncertainty children and their caregivers experience, which makes social and educational integration difficult. As many children struggle with being separated from their family members, who stayed in Ukraine, the support and positive impact provided by the librarians of the Digital Learning Centres is truly invaluable. 

Gareth Owen, Humanitarian Director at the Save the Children UK, shares:   
“This group of courageous Polish women not only offer extra-curricular activities for Polish and Ukrainian children. They are the ones who created a safe space where the children are able to share their fears and hopes. History would remember these women, and the children’s memories of this library, set in a place of extraordinary historical resistance, would be happy ones.” 

Digital Learning Centre, librarians share experiences and insights from their work with children from Ukraine.

The Ukraine crisis response in Poland proves that the active involvement of and cooperation with the local actors, respecting and learning from their deep knowledge of the context and experience on the ground, is vital for effective and impactful action. The HLA and Save the Children champion localisation, aligning our work with the Engine 2 approach, which strives for a transformational response. 

Learn more about the HLA’s activities in Eastern Europe

Visit the Eastern Europe Regional Centre page: Eastern Europe – Humanitarian Leadership Academy .

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Celebrating successful Education in Emergencies training in Jordan

Colleagues from the HLA Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe (MENAEE) Regional Centre were delighted to recently welcome facilitators and participants to Jordan for a one-week Education in Emergencies residential training programme.

Congratulations to the 24 participants who travelled from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Libya, Ukraine and Greece to attend the Education in Emergencies (EiE) training which took place in Amman between 11-17 June 2023.

Participants were from national and international organisations – this year was notable for having a participant from a local NGO in the training cohort.

The cohort was involved in a range of interactive sessions, group work, individual tasks as well as scenario-based training.

The training is part of the EiE Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) – a comprehensive 450-hour blended learning experience accredited by the University of Geneva. It is a sector-facing course targeting mid-senior level EiE and education practitioners working and based in emergency-affected or prone regions. The course aims to help them further develop their EiE design, implementation and leadership skills, as well as their ability to share these with others.

Through the residential, the cohort had the unique opportunity to apply their learning gained across the six course modules to an in-person EiE simulation.

There is one more module to go before this training cohort’s graduation – good luck to everyone in the final stages of the course!

The Advanced course is delivered by the EiE Professional Development Programme teams in HLA’s Regional Centres, in collaboration with EiE technical experts from Save the Children, other supporting organisations, and previous cycle graduates.

As someone who is passionate about promoting access to quality education in crisis situations, I found the course to be challenging and rewarding. I’ve learned a lot and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and apply it in my work and daily life. Let’s continue to advocate for access to education during emergencies so that everyone, no matter where they are in the world or what crises they’re facing, can have the opportunity to learn and grow. – Participant from an INGO in Jordan

Upcoming EiE training opportunity – apply by 5 July

The MENAEE Regional Centre invites applications for the EiE Arabic Fundamentals course in Gaziantep, Syria.

This is a sector-facing Arabic course for education/education in emergencies (EiE) practitioners based in Gaziantep. The facilitated in-person training will take place between 24 – 28 July 2023. The deadline for applications is 5 July 2023.

Learn more about EiE training at the HLA

Our EiE Professional Development Programme (PDP) aims to develop staff with the right skills to deliver timely, high quality Education in Emergencies (EiE).

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Promoting Sphere humanitarian standards in Eastern Europe 

This year the Humanitarian Leadership Academy has become a focal point for the Sphere standards in Poland. The Sphere standards is a primary humanitarian standards reference tool for national and international NGOs, UN agencies, governments, volunteers, and other humanitarian actors. We are proud to continue our mission of supporting local responders to prepare for and respond to crises and to empower practitioners to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance as a Sphere focal point. 

About Sphere

The Sphere movement was started in 1997 by a group of humanitarian professionals aiming to improve the quality of humanitarian work during disaster response. They framed a Humanitarian Charter and identified a set of humanitarian standards – initially developed by non-governmental organisations, along with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – to be applied in humanitarian response. 

Sphere’s flagship publication, the Sphere Handbook, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognised sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in humanitarian response. 


Sphere Standards is the international language of humanitarian aid. I am proud that I managed to start relations with Sphere which led to effective cooperation, and now for us to becoming the Sphere standards focal point in Poland. I am sure that the knowledge we provide together helps local actors to support refugees in the most professional way.
Katarzyna Bryczkowska, Learning Solutions Specialist at the HLA
Sphere’s partnership with the HLA and Save the Children Poland has been invaluable in helping us respond to the crisis in Ukraine. We have worked closely together to deliver humanitarian standards workshops in Poland for both Ukrainian and Polish aid workers, familiarising them with the Sphere Handbook. Built on the foundations of human rights, evidence and experience – the Handbook guides those responding to crises to implement better quality and more accountable humanitarian programmes, leading to better outcomes for and improved resilience of people affected by crisis.
Felicity Fallon, Learning and Events Manager at Sphere

Our team in Poland conducts Sphere standards workshops on a regular basis. In May 2023, we traveled to Przemysl, a town in southeastern Poland near the Polish-Ukrainian border. With participants from Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania in attendance, the training was truly a regional event. The three-day workshop was hosted by the Ukrainian House, which played a critical role in the country’s response to the refugee crisis in Ukraine.  

About the Ukrainian House

The Ukrainian House was founded in 2004, by a group of Poles and Ukrainians in Warsaw to support migrants coming to Poland. Since 2014, the main goal of the Ukrainian House is to help and support the Ukrainian community in Poland through informational, educational and cultural activities. After aggravation of the situation in Ukraine in February 2022, the Ukrainian House started to operate on a larger scale, and transformed into a crisis center, offering various types of support for refugees. 

Sphere standards workshop in the Ukrainian House, Poland

Sphere’s flagship publication, the Sphere Handbook, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognised sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in humanitarian response. It covers four technical areas of humanitarian response: Water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH), Food security and nutrition, Shelter and settlement, and Health. Humanitarian standards are based on evidence, experience, and learning, and reflect accumulated best practice at a global level. They are revised regularly to incorporate developments across the sector. 

This training was a great learning opportunity for someone like me, who is at the beginning of the path in the humanitarian sector. I really enjoyed the trainers’ approach, which is very close to mine – to see not only the needs of affected people, but also their capacity. I appreciate how the workshop highlights that every humanitarian response should be focused on what can be done in the specific context because there is no universal pattern for all situations. I think my work will be more professional and more conscious after learning more about humanitarian standards and how to find sustainable solutions. The Sphere Handbook is a great guide and instruction to do so.
Magdalena Lewicka, Information Management Officer at Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH)
The Sphere Training was an excellent opportunity for practitioners to discuss how humanitarian aid standards can be applied in fast-changing contexts. Such discussions are an important addition to the Sphere Handbook.
Anastasiia Korobchuck, Learning Solutions Specialist at the HLA-Save the Children Ukraine
Sphere provides a unified source of standards to support our work. It truly is a universal humanitarian aid language that provides helpful guidelines for navigating the response.
Liubov Shynder, Save the Children Poland
The Sphere training was a great practical learning experience about humanitarian response. It allowed me to understand the Sphere approach and how to make use of the resources available, particularly the Handbook. I came out of the training more confident, knowing there is a base of reference I can use to build on the quality of my work.
Bogdan Andrei, Country Coordination Consultant for Romania and Moldova at Kindernothilfe

The training is based on the critical experience of the people in the room. Participants engage in interactive exercises, group discussions, and exploring relevant case studies. The workshop is designed to share examples of their practice, address commonly encountered challenges, and apply Sphere standards to realistic scenarios. All the activities address cross-cutting issues integral to Sphere, such as protection, gender, age, and diversity. The training specifically highlights the risks of not taking into consideration the local community expertise.  

The training gave me an overview of sectors and topics that the humanitarian field encompasses. The trainers’ experience and knowledge made it interactive and the learning process entertaining. The opportunity of getting to know the perspective of humanitarians from different countries and various types of organizations was enriching and inspirational. Thanks to the workshop, I learnt that not everything is always possible and that considering each situation individually is the best way to ensure the help we try to provide meets the needs. It also provided me with a practical tool – the Sphere handbook – which will definitely come in handy in practical settings in the future.
Marta Wójcik, Information Management Officer at Polish Humanitarian Action
Great things happen when good-hearted people work together, continuously improve their skills, and strive to reach the standards in humanitarian work. I’ve learned that a people-centered approach in humanitarian response means assessing and knowing about people’s needs and capabilities. For me, it is important to share the knowledge I got during the training with my colleagues and other individuals engaged in supporting those affected by the conflict.
Diana Antir, Project Manager at Caritas Modolva
The training reinforced my conviction to put a strong accent on people-centred approach in humanitarian response. Contextualising qualitative minimum standards, we can meet the needs of affected communities. By involving these people and their capacities, we can lead them to efficient recovery. The basic right to life with dignity comes first, so we should always involve affected people. I think the training directed me towards more social models in approaching people and especially in using an anthropological approach in carrying out assessments.
Michał Krupczynśki, Volunteer
This training helped me to put the knowledge I got from the practical experience into a clear system. In times of complex humanitarian crises, it is vital to know how to organise localised support for affected people in the most efficient way and in alignment with international humanitarian standards.
Inna Groshkina, Psychologist at Ukrainian School in Warsaw

Watch a video about the Sphere workshop in Przemysl

by Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM)

With the goal to support locally-led learning, our next step is to train local facilitators. This June, we have trained 16 trainers to conduct Sphere standards workshops in various languages of the region. A five-day Training of Trainers course aimed to upskill the responders from Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, and the Slovak Republic to spread Sphere standards for fellow humanitarians involved in the Ukraine crisis response and form a network of experts in the sector. 

Poland, same as other countries in Eastern Europe, is relatively new to the emergency humanitarian response. That is why there is still a need for training in humanitarian standards within the local humanitarian sector. Sphere standards training proved to be of great use, but we needed to make them more inclusive. After this Training of Trainers course, many more local actors will be able to receive this knowledge and apply the Sphere standards to their vitally important work on the ground.
Katarzyna Bryczkowska, Learning Solutions Specialist at the HLA
Newly certified Sphere standards trainers

Take free online courses to learn about Humanitarian Standards and how to apply them in your practice. 

Introduction to the Core Humanitarian Standard 

Sphere in Practice 

How to be a Sphere Champion

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

The Art of Repair: reflections on the Group Relations Conference 

When you register for a conference, you usually expect a formal event with panel discussions and presentations. But O.Centre (Cracow Centre for Human Relations) in partnership with the HLA’s Eastern Europe Regional Centre, ISPSO (International Society for Psychoanalytic Studies of Organisations), Wszechnica UJ, and OPUS (Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society) organised a different type of learning conference in Cracow last April. 

The Art of Repair Group Relations Conference concept is based on the traditional Tavistock learning methodology which combines systems thinking and psychoanalysis. As this methodology examines what dynamics are occurring within and between groups, the experiential learning process was framed by a sequence of group sessions.

Kamila Wujec
Understanding what is happening within and among groups is a crucial competence for all of us, as we are all part of social systems from birth on. It endorses our feeling of belonging and supports understanding of all sorts of groups, be that families, communities, societies, or organisations.
Kamila Wujec, Consultant at the Conference, Regional Lead at the HLA Eastern Europe Regional Centre

The goal of this learning conference was to help humanitarians to better define and take up roles, better deal with the concept of authority, study one’s own and others’ leadership and followership preferences and patterns, and ultimately examine the wider societal dimension of repair and fracture. 

Understanding conscious and unconscious group processes helps leaders to make decisions based on choice, not what might be perceived as “accidentally”, in a hurry or as a result of mobilization of others. Ultimately, understanding of group processes allows a “group as a whole thinking” in regard to the whole humanitarian sector, as it is emerging in Eastern Europe and to find a place in it, as a subgroup (organization) and as an individual humanitarian leader.
Kamila Wujec, Consultant at the Conference, Regional Lead at the HLA Eastern Europe Regional Centre

The HLA sponsored seven representatives of local NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) to attend the learning conference, so that humanitarians who are witnessing and responding to painful events in their daily work can have a space for connection, reflection and containment. 

Due to the nature of the event, every participant had a personal and unique experience, which resulted in deep self-reflection and a new view of their own roles and approaches at work. The reflections on the outcomes of the conference highlight how differently individuals can experience and process the group relations methodology.  

It was a unique opportunity to experience all stages of group forming, facing the discomfort of unknown, exploring each step forward and the personal restrains along the way, the awareness of making the call of speaking up or stepping back, facing our own fears, discovering strengths, and finally, experiencing how human connection is transformative on both individual and system level, and the power of vulnerability. It was fascinating to discover how organisations can be understood in the very same psychoanalytical way as individuals.
Olga Piasecka-Nieć, Founder & Executive Director Kocham Dębniki Foundation
The Group Relations Conference is a mind-blowing experience which creates a unique tool to help you learn a lot about yourself, improve the way you communicate with team members and how you can approach other people in teams to build a connection. I consider myself a very empathetic person, however this experience made me become more attentive to what I say and how I pass the message to the team members, especially when the team is composed of people who might struggle with trauma.
Dominika Czerniak, Operations Manager Fundacja Innowacja i Wiedza
The conference has definitely changed my approach towards my work. It has given me a renewed perspective on leadership and the value of self-reflection. I believe these insights will prove invaluable in my role with Salam Lab. The highlight of the conference for me was the Review Group with Julian [Lousada, Consultant at the conference, Psychoanalyst & former Clinical Director of the Tavistock Clinic’s Adult Department]. The dynamics of this event and Julian’s expertise made it a significant experience for me. His mentorship allowed me to critically assess my leadership capabilities and to strive for improvement.
Przemek Trepka, Senior Tech Advisor at Salam Lab
If I needed to describe this experience with one word, that would be ‘depth’. I re-approached my understanding of the leader’s role within the organisation. I think, in the modern world, it is so important to learn how to be a leader while delicately repairing not only broken ‘things’ (responding to disasters and emergencies) but also hearts. It is crucial for my work, as my organisation supports immigrant families with children with disabilities.
Maria Buchanowska, PATCHWORK Stowarzyszenie na rzecz wsparcia imigranckich rodzin osób z niepełnosprawnością

Several specialists from the HLA also took part in the learning conference. Even as experienced humanitarians they found the event novel, unique, and insightful. 

First time being in a Group Relations Conference made me appreciate organisational/ group dynamics especially since we had to create new ‘social systems’ in large group as well as small group settings. What was obvious was that differences existed among individuals, whether they were based on how we were socialized, our perspective of things or even our emotions. Yet there were inherent similarities and common themes that repeatedly sprung up. For example, a natural desire for a sense of belonging and connection; the role of leadership/ authority/ power in a group setting; or even constantly looking up to the management group (which was very silent) for guidance. As someone who facilitates group conversations during training, I appreciated the power that exists in a group to experientially find its own rhythm and a culture that works for them. As a facilitator, I learnt there is so much power in listening… and actively listening for that matter!
Gladys Mutuku, Strategic Lead – Strengthening Civil Society Organisations
The Art of Repair Conference was my first time attending a Group Relations Conference. It was an immersive experience where I was able to analyse the interactions that happen between individuals in groups. I was challenged to look at my own personal role in a group and how that can impact the wider system. From the conference, I have gained a new understanding of group dynamics and how to apply this when thinking of the role that INGOs play in the humanitarian ecosystem. It was an intense 4 days that I will never forget, and I am confident it has shaped me to be a better humanitarian.
Fiona Tan, Programme Officer

The special approach adopted at the learning conference helps to learn how to build better teamwork and cooperation, and as a result, a healthier and eco-mutualistic environment both for responders and people affected by conflicts or disasters.   

The Art of Repair Conference
The Art of Repair Conference has shown the power of understanding systems as a tool for resilience and better collaboration between humanitarian actors. Additionally, the psychoanalytic component in a Group Relations Conference allowed the membership for a deep engagement with the notion of Repair, which is especially meaningful for humanitarian actors in this part of the world, with the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine. Hopefully, it can have positive impact on working through societal trauma.
Kamila Wujec, Consultant at the Conference, Regional Lead at the HLA Eastern Europe Regional Centre

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Adolescent wellbeing: supporting providers to act in times of crises

Supporting providers to care for the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents affected by conflict.

The course provides practical tools and resources aiming to help service providers address the mental health and psychosocial needs of adolescents in conflict-affected contexts. Download the flyer

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Adolescents Affected by Conflict course is designed to provide valuable knowledge on the risks and challenges faced by adolescents during times of peace and conflict. Practitioners, teachers, counsellors, and anyone who works with adolescents will find this course useful.

The course designed by The MHPSS Collaborative, Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA), and HIAS provides knowledge on the impact of conflict on adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, techniques for identifying specific groups with unique needs and challenges during conflict, and best practices in terms of tools and interventions.

Worldwide, half of the global displaced population are children and adolescents. Several studies demonstrate that individuals displaced by violence are at higher risk of mental health issues or diseases.

Adolescence is a period of great susceptibility due to the undergoing biological and social transitions. It is also a period of huge importance for physical and mental welfare; coupled with the distress of a conflict situation, it is important to equip care providers of adolescents with the best resources.

Kira Lomakina, Lead MHPSS Consultant at The MHPSS Collaborative / Save the Children Denmark and one of the authors said:

“Promoting peer networks and support is crucial to the well-being of adolescents affected by conflict. But in practice, how can we build supportive relationships and networks with parents, caregivers, teachers, and peers to protect children from the adverse impacts of conflict? This is the key question this new course sets out to respond to.”

Vikki Marmaras, Digital Learning Specialist at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy played a key role in the design and set up of this course which is hosted on HLA’s free learning platform Kaya. Speaking on the process and importance of the course, she said:

“This course is self-guided and can be completed in two to three hours, it is accessible in English, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish and Hungarian.  Though it has been developed with Ukraine in mind, it is relevant to any context where adolescents are being affected by conflict.

Yenehun Ashagrie, MHPSS Regional Technical Advisor, Africa and Eurasia, HIAS, said:

“This course provides practical tools and resources aiming to help service providers address the MHPSS needs of adolescents in conflict-affected contexts.”

Alessandra Sacchetti, MHPSS Regional Technical Advisor, Ukraine Response, HIAS, said:

“This is a course developed and tailored for field practitioners to help them provide services to adolescents, by having a good understanding of adolescents’ MHPSS needs and interventions in order to practically offer support in a thoughtful way.”

Ashley Nemiro, Executive Director of the MHPSS Collaborative / Save the Children Denmark and one of the course authors said:

“The course is an excellent opportunity to gain more knowledge in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescents affected by conflict. Upon completion of each of the six modules, participants will receive a certificate; and a digital badge at the end of the course, which is easy to access through New users of Kaya would need to register an email address to access the course.”

Take the course here.

Notes to editors

About The MHPSS Collaborative

The MHPSS Collaborative is a global platform for research, practice, learning and advocacy. We connect key academic and humanitarian actors with local civil society to give children and families in fragile circumstances the possibility to thrive.

About HIAS

HIAS is an international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital protection services, including mental health and psychosocial support, to forcibly displaced people in more than 20 countries. HIAS advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives and seeks to create a world in which they find welcome, safety, and opportunity.

About Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA)

HLA is a global learning initiative set up to facilitate partnerships and collaborative opportunities to enable people to prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises and development challenges in their own countries. The Academy aims to support the needs of individuals and organisations by facilitating access to learning resources, platforms and tools. This enables locally relevant capacity-sharing and mutual learning. 

Kaya is the Academy’s online learning platform, designed specifically for humanitarian and development professionals and volunteers to access relevant, up-to-date learning content covering a broad range of general and technical subjects. Kaya is accessed by over 530,000 registered users from over 190 countries and offers over 450 courses in up to 12 languages. The Kaya interface itself is available in Arabic, French, English and Spanish. 

HPass is a digital platform for humanitarians to showcase their skills and expertise. Badges awarded can be shared online or printed as with normal paper certificates.   The initiative promotes transparent and efficient recruitment, by enabling humanitarians to quickly provide verifiable evidence of their skills as they transition between organisations and locations.

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

Experiential learning and expanding network: updates from the Eastern Europe Regional Centre 

As Poland plays a massive role in Ukraine response, our Eastern Europe Regional Centre team has been actively working in the country for more than a year, supporting the localisation agenda. In April, they engaged in exciting events and provided training activities, in line with our Engine 2 approach. 

The Art of Repair 

The HLA Regional Centre in Eastern Europe supported the organisation of the International Group Relations Conference ‘The Art of Repair: Leadership, Culture, Change’, which took place on the 20-23 April in Krakow, Poland. Kamila Wujec, the regional lead, was one of the consultants, while Gladys Mutuku, HLA Strategic Lead, Nancy Mureti, HLA Head of Regional Centres, and Fiona Tan, Programme Officer, participated in the event.  

The conference was based on the traditional Tavistock learning methodology and was devoted to systemic leadership. The event aimed to discover how humanitarians might take up working and social roles more creatively and effectively, to better deal with the concept of authority, and to study leadership and followership preferences and patterns. Experiential learning and consultancy were conducted through work in small groups, large groups, and inter-groups. 

Gladys Mutuku, HLA Strategic Lead, Nancy Mureti, HLA Head of Regional Centres, and Fiona Tan, Programme Officer attended the Art of Repair Conference in Krakow, Poland

W4UA report presentation 

On 19 April, Kasia Bryczkowska, HLA Learning solutions specialist in Poland, and Karolina Mackiewicz from HLA’s partner Safeguarding Hub Polska attended the press conference by World for Ukraine Foundation (W4UA).  

The World for Ukraine (W4UA) Foundation is a non-governmental organization supported by the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland. Its primary goals are to integrate and support the efforts of NGOs, central and local government institutions, businesses, media, think tanks and private individuals to respond to the crisis in Ukraine. 

The W4UA Foundation’s report on humanitarian crisis in Ukraine was officially presented during the conference. The report includes recommendations after the W4UA Summit, which took place in Rzeszów in December 2022. Pawel Mania, HLA Deputy Director for Transformational Response, was a panelist at the summit. The second edition of the W4UA Summit is planned for the 28-29 September in Rzeszów. 

The World for Ukraine (W4UA) Foundation press conference, 19 April 2023, Poland

Sphere standards 

We’re pleased to announce that the HLA Regional Centre in Eastern Europe has become the Sphere standards‘ focal point in the region. For more than two decades, the Sphere standards have been a primary reference tool for national and international NGOs, volunteers, UN agencies, governments, donors, and the private sector. 

Together, our team and Sphere are organising a face-to-face workshop on Sphere standards in May in Przemyśl. Continuing our cooperation, the HLA is going to provide a Train of Trainers workshop for Sphere in June.    


Kasia Bryczkowska, HLA Learning solutions specialist, conducted regular coaching sessions for managers of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland. Expanding our activities in the country, the team plans to work with the Humanitarian Aid Center “My z Wami” in Wrocław. The team also continues to conduct Humanitarian Operations Programme (HOP) training sessions. The next ones are planned to be held in Lublin and Białystok. 

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

The ripple effect of learning: HOP Training cycle in Eastern Europe

As digital learning becomes more predominant in the modern world, some programs achieve the best results when delivered in combination with face-to-face sessions.


Save the Children and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy conducted the Humanitarian Operations Programme (HOP) Core Training in Warsaw, Poland this March. 31 participants from Poland and Ukraine took part in three distinct parts of the multilevel program aimed at raising an understanding of the fundamental principles of humanitarian action and strengthening the capacity and capability of regional and national humanitarian response actors.

The first five-day session of the HOP Core training was aimed at humanitarians with little to no experience in the sector. Some of the participants have been working in related fields and recently got involved in humanitarian response work but have not yet received formal training. Thus, the HOP workshops focus on softer skills and cross-cutting themes crucial to effective and quality humanitarian response.

HOP training helps newcomers who are interested in being a part or playing a role in humanitarian response to learn more about humanitarian programming, safeguarding, wellbeing, and many other topics. HOP can help them to learn about the basics of humanitarian activities and programming, so they can really make a difference in the humanitarian crisis.”
Amr Kamel, Learning Solutions Specialist, Humanitarian Leadership Academy

16 participants joined the first session to learn from the expertise and experience of humanitarian practitioners, covering the essential aspects of emergency response required for humanitarian personnel. Such topics as wellbeing in emergencies, rapid needs assessments, proposal writing, conflict sensitivity programming, safeguarding in emergencies, and gender equality were covered in interactive face-to-face workshops and desk-based scenario parts of the training. A three-day desk-based scenario provides an experience of what working in an early response in an aid organisation could be like.

Leaving the comfort zone of what we already know well was the biggest challenge for me. I realised that all the topics that came up during HOP are something I am working with daily e.g., cultural differences, moral dilemmas, conflict-sensitive programming, safeguarding, and more. It is important for me to be able to name it and be aware of it. Now I know how to start to deal with it better than ever.”
Katarzyna Fesnak, Coordinator of Volunteer Center at The Association of Ukrainians in Poland, Przemyśl Branch, Participant in the HOP Core Training

Six participants continued their learning experience with HOP Train the Trainer (TtT) Programme and are now able to support localisation by providing learning for fellow humanitarians in the region in native languages. The aim of the further training is to introduce humanitarian sector technical areas and support functions and help develop the behaviors, knowledge, and skills required to operate effectively in a breaking emergency as part of a first phase response to local actors. 

I have decided to go through TtT and become a trainer because I am motivated to share all that I’ve learned about humanitarian operations with others in the sector. For me, the most interesting part was learning how to teach others about practical topics, that might sometimes seem dry, in an engaging way. I feel very excited to go through this experience with the new group of learners as a trainer now!”
Jessica Anderson, newly trained HOP Core training facilitator

The second session of the HOP Core training was attended by 15 new learners from Poland and Ukraine. An important outcome of the HOP is participants’ understanding of the humanitarian eco-system (including technical sectors, operations, and support functions), as well as the ability to recognise the key responsibilities, activities, and roles of organisations operating within the humanitarian eco-system.

If I could share one thing learned during this training that would be to remember the RACI model: always know who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. In this sector, it is vital to have a shared understanding of this model.”
Piotr Toczyski, M.Psych., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology. M. Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw

While the program of the second session of the HOP training was the same as for the first one, the experience was different, as newly trained co-facilitators joined the HLA trainers.

This training shows the power of the ripple effect of learning and how quickly it creates impact. With the start of HOP Core 2, we not only continue providing learning to humanitarians but also see its result in action. Last week six participants continued their HOP Core training with TtT (Train the Trainers). This week they are already part of the team of facilitators here in Poland with the perspective to provide HOP training in Ukraine – in Ukrainian language.”
Kamila Wujec, HLA Eastern Europe Regional Centre Lead

Designed to create a new generation of humanitarians by empowering local and national response actors, HOP is part of our Engine 2 approach and Ukraine response work, which catalyses progressive localisation and transformational change.

We are currently supporting humanitarian responses in multiple locations - Find out more

A successful Sphere standards training

Our colleagues in the Eastern Europe Regional Centre recently held a three-day training on Sphere standards.


Sphere Standards Training in Poland

The workshop drew Polish and Ukrainian participants from Save the Children International and representatives from humanitarian sector NGOs.

Preparations are underway for the next training, as well as a Transformation of Training (ToT) session which will lead to a team of Polish and Ukrainian language-speaking trainers.

These activities form part of our Ukraine response work – named Engine 2 – which champions progressive localisation and supports local solutions, including capacity strengthening through training.

Newsletter sign up