The world’s first centre for humanitarian leadership opens today in Melbourne, Australia, supported by a €5 million grant from the IKEA Foundation.
Save the Children and Deakin University have teamed up to run the centre. It will act as a hub for the groundbreaking Humanitarian Leadership Programme, set up in 2012 to give aid workers the skills and expertise they need to protect, educate and save children during disasters.
The centre is based in Australia so it is close to the disaster-prone Asia-Pacific region, and the rigorous course will include a week-long simulated disaster in Indonesia.
The IKEA Foundation believes every child has the right to a safe place to call home and a quality education. That’s why the Foundation is supporting this programme to develop aid workers who can save and protect children when they need it most.
Climate change makes more children vulnerable
“Children are the ones suffering most during natural disasters,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation. “Our ability to save their lives, and help them cope during initial stages, depends on having capable humanitarian leaders on the ground, able to take the right decisions and provide appropriate support.”
The centre’s launch comes two years after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines in November 2013, killing 6,000 people and destroying 500,000 homes. The majority of the world’s disasters take place in the Asia-Pacific region, costing the global economy tens of billions of dollars each year.
Per says: “With extreme weather events increasing due to climate change, we know we will need more aid workers ready for immediate leadership in challenging situations. We want to play our part in training and preparing aid workers to become effective leaders. We are calling for other businesses to join our efforts and do the same.”