Ukrainians supported to lead in response to ongoing humanitarian crisis

Media release

20 December 2022

Ukrainians coping with the impacts of Russia's war of aggression will have access to a suite of humanitarian leadership training resources through the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership (CHL).

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership (CHL), a partnership between Deakin University and Save the Children, has received a AUD $1.1million (approximate) grant to deliver its flagship Crisis Leadership Program, a short course targeted at local leaders to enable more inclusive, equitable, and appropriate responses to humanitarian crises.

The expanded program has been made possible thanks to a USD $749,000 grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). The grant marks the first time the CHL and CDP have worked together.

Deakin Arts and Education Faculty Acting Dean Associate Professor Meghan Kelly said the expanded program would equip Ukrainians with the skills needed to guide their communities through the ongoing crisis.

"This grant has enabled the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership to expand its program to better assist those who need it most – including people living in Ukraine," Associate Professor Kelly said.

CHL Acting Director Joshua Hallwright said the flagship course would enable the Centre to elevate, empower and strengthen local civil society leadership in places like Ukraine.

Feedback the centre received from local leaders who recently graduated from the program's first cohort had also been overwhelmingly positive, Mr Hallwright said.

"We are excited to be partnering with CDP to expand the Crisis Leadership Program, and conduct important research alongside it," he said.

"Participants have highlighted how they are now more confident in navigating the international humanitarian system as well as being able to advocate for the changes they want to see in how humanitarian assistance is provided in their country."

Alex Gray, Director of International Funds at CDP, said the organisation has long recognised the centrality of local humanitarian leadership in ensuring the most relevant preparedness, response and equitable long-term recovery for crisis-affected communities.

"CDP is thrilled to partner with CHL to offer, develop further and generate evidence on the effectiveness of this type of crisis leadership development approach," Mr Gray said.

"The global humanitarian system is at a critical inflection point and historical power imbalances need to shift, with more power and resources placed in the hands of the local communities who are impacted by a crisis. This starts with investing in local humanitarian leadership, and the Crisis Leadership Program does just that."

The grant will fund the following key activities between 2023-24:

  1. The co-design of an additional component of the Crisis Leadership Program (the 'Extend' course) and the ongoing refinement of the 'Seed' and 'Grow' courses, with 'Seed' to be translated into relevant local languages.
  2. The delivery of all components of the Crisis Leadership Program to those responding to the humanitarian impacts of the war in Ukraine and to similar crises around the world, through a combination of online learning, synchronous live sessions and in-person workshops.
  3. The delivery of a 'Training the Trainers' program, targeting Ukrainian, Polish and Romanian nationals with significant humanitarian and leadership experience, ensuring 'Seed' can be delivered by local leaders in local languages.
  4. A rigorous research program, in partnership with Ukrainian and Polish academic institutions, to build evidence for supporting local leaders and exploring the impact of crisis leadership development on the ability of local leaders to engage more effectively with and challenge the internationally-coordinated humanitarian system.

About the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership is leading and influencing change within the global disaster response system through critical analysis, transformational and disruptive education and research, and meaningful contributions to policy and practice. For more information, visit: http://centreforhumanitarianleadership.org

About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP)

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy's mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. CDP manages domestic and international Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localised grantmaking. For more information, visit: http://disasterphilanthropy.org, call (202) 464-2018 or tweet us @funds4disaster.

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