Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and former United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, has announced the launch of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.
Working with the humanitarian sector and partners from the technology industry, universities, and the private sector, the academy will train the next generation of humanitarian leaders and first responders in communities vulnerable to conflicts and natural disasters. Starting in Kenya, the Philippines, and Jordan, the academy will open ten centers by 2020 and provide training to a hundred thousand aid workers, healthcare professionals, and volunteers, with the goal of helping local communities become more resilient. The initiative also will work to develop best practices in disaster relief and disseminate knowledge of what works so as to increase the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance globally.
Created in 2013 as the Humanitarian and Leadership Academy, HLA is a collaboration among the private sector, governments, academia, and international aid organizations, including Oxfam, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The UK government's Department for International Development has pledged £20 million ($30 million) of the £50 million ($75 million) needed to fund the first five-year phase of the initiative.
"Too often in crises we parachute down from the West, take charge, give relief, and leave," Egeland told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We must empower local forces to respond and take charge in the first forty-eight hours after a disaster explodes, or in the first few weeks of a conflict."