Humanitarian Encyclopedia at ICVA’s Annual Conference

The CERAH took part in ICVA’s Annual Conference “Navigating the Nexus: NGO Perspectives”.

On 21st March, we presented the Humanitarian Encyclopedia project at the Members’ Market Place.

It was a great opportunity to hear more about this exciting project and tell us how you would wish to be involved.

TDH and the Humanitarian Encyclopedia project

TDH is one of the key partners for the Humanitarian Encyclopedia Project. After the mobilization of their entire staff, of which 90% are nationals, for the online consultative survey , they invited us to join their MENA Regional workshop (Budapest – 05th to 09th March 2018).

During one day TDH delegates shared and confronted their perspectives regarding the most salient terms for their organization.

The workshop allowed participants to discuss their understanding of key concepts and confront this with the reality of operations.

They gained a better comprehension of how key concepts are apprehended by major donors and other key stakeholders in the MENA region.

This workshop was also an opportunity to identify key concepts the institution would wish to work on in the medium-term.

Meet Humanitarian Encyclopedia team member – Dr Edith Favoreu – at the DIHAD conference!

On 5-6 March, Dr Edith Favoreu, Humanitarian Encyclopedia Knowledge Manager will be attending the DIHAD conference. She will be panellist in a session on “Emergency Aid; development and conflict prevention”. If you are also attending the DIHAD conference, please contact us in order to schedule a meeting with her, discussing how you can be involved in the Humanitarian Encyclopedia Project.

The Humanitarian Encyclopedia at the HNPW (Geneva, February 5, 2018)

During a 1h30 workshop, 25 participants coming from different humanitarian organisations and organisations playing a role in humanitarian response identified the concepts they would include in a resource seeking to clarify the terminology used in the humanitarian sector.

Taking the example of resilience, the most frequently mentioned concept, they then reflected on the type of information they would like to find in such a resource. This includes:

  • A clear definition
  • Whether the term is specific to the humanitarian sector or not
  • Sectoral definitions of the term
  • Some indicators which could explain how resilience is measured by different organizations
  • Related terms
  • Conflictual and-or opposite terms
  • Links to institutions which use and work a lot on resilience
  • Concrete operational examples related to the concept
  • Data visualization.

Finally, participants started to identify terms associated with resilience (e.g. business continuity management; prevention; preparedness; Capacity building) and contradictory terms (e.g. dependency; aid).



From 6 to 10 February the Humanitarian Networks and Partnserhips Week (HNPW) 2018 will take place in Geneva.

On Monday 5th 2018, from 11 to 12:30 am (room 15) during the HNPW2018, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia team will hold a two-hour participatory workshop.

The main objective of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia project is to identify and explain divergences and commonalities in the definition and uses of concepts across the humanitarian field. This workshop will be an opportunity to start exploring the diversity of humanitarian languages. Participants will articulate – using their own terminology – what humanitarianism entails in their daily practice.

By joining this workshop, participants will contribute to defining the structure of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia. We are particularly looking for participants currently working in the field.

Attend and Follow this event!

@CERAH @HumanEncyclo


How do you speak humanitarian?

From 6 to 10 February the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) 2018 will take place in Geneva.

This event is the largest of this kind and brought together more than 1’200 experts in crisis preparedness and response in 2017. It aims to provide a space where humanitarian experts jointly meet to identify and implement sustainable to cross-cutting challenges. And it is where the Humanitarian Encyclopedia – as an initiative to improve mutual understanding in the humanitarian sector – fits in!

On February 5th The Humanitarian Encyclopedia team will animate a concept selection workshop from 11 to 12:30 am (Room 16). We are particularly looking for participants currently working in the field.

Then on Friday 9th from 11 to 12:30 am (room 2) you are welcomed to come to learn more about the initiative and how you could contribute.

Follow us on twitter @CERAH, @HumanEncyclo #HNPW2018

Make the Humanitarian Encyclopedia yours : take our online survey!

Have you ever been left with the impression that, while we all use the same words in the humanitarian sector1, they don’t have the same meaning to all of us? To analyse this diversity of “humanitarian languages”, the Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) and its partners are launching an Encyclopedia for Humanitarian Action.

To explore what humanitarian practitioners perceive as priority concepts, we are launching a consultative survey.

The survey is available here.

This survey will contribute to the selection of the entries of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia. By answering the survey, you will ensure that the Humanitarian Encyclopedia addresses your priorities and you will contribute to defining the structure of the Encyclopedia. When answering the questions, please refer to your current experience as aid worker. Quotes may be cited anonymously in the report.

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to be filled. It is part of a four stage participatory approach to select the entries of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia.

1 We define as part of the humanitarian sector any actor, regardless of organizational affiliation, profession, geographical origin or value, who undertakes most of his activities in crisis situations and self-qualifies the activities as belonging to “humanitarian”, “relief”, “emergency” work and to “disaster” or “crisis” response.

ADRNN Regional Partnership Event – Bangkok – 12 to 14 December 2017

A partnership between the Humanitarian Encyclopedia and ADRRN has developed over the past year. Since May 2017, Manu Gupta chairs the Advisory board, one of the two main governing bodies.

This partnership was presented during the ADRNN Regional Partnership Event (Bangkok, Thailand 12-14 of December 2017). The Humanitarian Encyclopedia team was also invited to facilitate a workshop on “Localization in Action in Asia Dialogue 2017” during a day organized by ICVA. The discussion on “successful localized humanitarian practice”, allowed to capture the terminology used by Asian humanitarian practitioners (illustration below).

2018-02-22 article addrn illustration

Dialogue with CoAN members in Chad (Nov 22-25 2017)

The Humanitarian Encyclopedia realized a first assessment with 14 humanitarian organizations, members of the Coalition des ONG africaines (CoAN) in Chad (November 22-25 2017).

Representatives from Chad, DRC, RCA, Cameroon, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon shared their perspectives on the relevancy of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia, their needs in terms of related products and their capacities to share organizational knowledge internationally. They also reflected on their practices regarding their current use of existing resources within the sector, their digital user experience as well as social media practices.

In individual interviews, three main concepts were highlighted as particularly salient and challenging for their practices: “Stateless”, “Resilience” and the concept of “Vulnerable groups”

Humanitarian Encyclopedia at the Humanitarian Evidence Week 2017

From November 6-12 the HEW2017 provided an international platform to deploy and promote initiatives and products related to the generation, use or dissemination of evidence in support of humanitarian action.

It was the place to be for the Humanitarian Encyclopedia project since it promotes a more evidence-based approach to humanitarian action.

Learn more on the HER2017 Webpage: