Starting a career as a humanitarian will allow you to improve the lives of people and promote social justice. Additionally, they also promote dignity and strive to alleviate suffering in the lives of people. This career path is a unique one because your work will not be centered on making money alone but on impacting the lives of people. A career as a humanitarian will allow you to impact the lives of people in different areas and sectors. You can work in fields such as healthcare, education, food security, water and sanitation, shelter, and protection.

A career as a humanitarian is a valued career in every part of the world. This is because every part of the world needs the service they render and the impact their services render on society. This career path involves working with humans, mostly those who are disadvantaged. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have the right education and skills to meet up with the needs that come with working as a humanitarian.

This piece will guide you through the skills and the requirements that are needed for starting a career as a humanitarian.

How to start a career as a Humanitarian

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s degree

    Firstly, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career as a humanitarian. You can obtain degrees in areas such as social work, international relations or public health. This degree will give you a good foundation in the knowledge, skills and ethics of this profession. Additionally, it will give you an in-depth knowledge of social issues and the ones faced by humanitarian organizations.

  2. Gain Professional Experience

    You can gain these experiences through internships or volunteer roles. They will give you hands-on experience in humanitarian activities. Additionally, these experiences will give you a chance to build your skills and insight into their operations. Therefore, you can seek opportunities with local non-profit organisations.

  3. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    There are various areas where you can work as a humanitarian. Most times, this can be based on your passion or interest. Therefore, you need to know your area of interest or the area that you are most passionate about. You can work in areas such as refugees, promoting gender equality, or providing aid during natural disasters.

  4. Develop Relevant Skills

    You need to learn the relevant skills that will be useful to start a career as a humanitarian. You can learn skills such as communication and negotiation skills and some technical skills.

  5. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    You can consider pursuing a master’s degree after your bachelor’s degree. However, this is not a compulsory requirement. This will allow you to gain in-depth knowledge and skills about the area of specialisation of your interest. Additionally, you will have access to higher opportunities as well as high earning potential.

  6. Join a Professional Association

    This is important for networking and building professional connections. You can attend events such as conferences, workshops and seminars. This will enable you to meet professionals in the field. Additionally, building professional relationships can give rise to employment recommendations, mentorship possibilities, and access to job markets.

Skills for Humanitarian Work

  1. Communication and linguistic skills
  2. Organisational skills
  3. Research and report writing skills
  4. Physical stamina
  5. Project and programme management
  6. Time management
  7. Empathy and sensitivity
  8. Teamwork
  9. Knowledge of developmental issues
  10. Networking skills

Types of Humanitarians

  1. Development Workers

    They specialise in industries such as infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, education, and other fields that support long-term economic development and the fight against poverty. Generally, they focus on advancing economic expansion and sustainable development in underprivileged areas.

  2. Medical Humanitarians

    Medical humanitarians are experts in treating those impacted by humanitarian situations with medical care.

  3. Social Workers

    They work in institutions such as schools, hospitals, community centres, or government organisations, to support individuals with challenges. They also concentrate on issues such as mental health, domestic abuse, poverty, homelessness, and other social concerns.

  4. International Aid Workers

    These professionals help and aid those impacted by calamities, disasters, and wars on an emergency basis on behalf of international organisations such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and others.

  5. Environmental Humanitarian

    Their major focus is on the environment and promoting sustainable practices to prevent environmental disasters and preserve natural resources. They focus on issues such as climate change, biodiversity, deforestation, and pollution.

Universities in Africa that Offer Degrees in Social Work

  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Covenant University, Nigeria
  3. Federal University of Technology, Akure
  4. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Cairo University, Egypt
  6. University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
  7. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  8. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  9. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  10. North-West University, South Africa
  11. Makerere University, Uganda
  12. University of Ghana, Ghana
  13. Tanta University, Egypt
  14. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  15. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  16. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  17. Alexandria University, Egypt
  18. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  19. University of Sfax, Tunisia
  20. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  21. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  22. Rhodes University, South Africa
  23. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  24. University of Botswana, Botswana
  25. Mansoura University, Egypt
  26. University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  27. Tunis University, Tunisia
  28. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  29. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  30. University of Zambia, Zambia

In Conclusion, pursuing a degree as a humanitarian involves acquiring the right education and skills. This career path deals basically with humans. So, you need to acquire the essential skills you need to function effectively in this career path. Additionally, you should pay attention to the area of interest you wish to pursue. You should get the right education and work towards meeting the career’s criteria.

Good luck!

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