Humanitarian practitioner standing in doorway with clipboard

New certifications for humanitarian practitioners

New certifications for humanitarian practitioners in MEAL, needs assessment, and cash and voucher assistance

Humanitarian work takes place in the most challenging conditions and involves high-stakes, life-or-death decisions at every turn.  Yet, professionalism and accountability in this sector have long been a concern. Misunderstandings and inconsistencies are all too common, putting crisis-affected people at additional risk when aid work is not carried out and coordinated effectively.

The PHAP Credentialing Program, launched in 2017, aims to address this problem through the establishment of shared bodies of knowledge and a modular set of certifications. Following the hard work over the past 18 months of the practitioner communities supporting their development, we are today launching three new certifications as part of this program. These new certifications in Monitoring, Accountability, Evaluation, and Learning (MEAL), Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), and Humanitarian Needs Assessment (HNA) will help humanitarian practitioners have their competencies and professionalism recognized regardless of where they work or which organization they work for.

To earn a certification, individuals must pass a competency assessment based on multiple-choice questions, developed through a collaborative volunteer effort, with drafting and peer review by hundreds of experienced humanitarian workers. Certification candidates also have to agree to abide by the PHAP Code of Ethics, which sets out the fundamental ethical rules that all humanitarian practitioners should follow, as well as the . Successful candidates earn a verifiable digital “badge” or certificate of their competencies, and also get access to a continuing education program (coming soon for the new certifications).

We recommend that you visit the information pages for the certifications and review the competency frameworks and certification requirements. To help you prepare for the assessment, the program offers free diagnostic tests, which reflect the structure of the actual test and provide you with a custom competency profile, which can help guide you in your preparations. Study guides to help you prepare for the assessment will be available later this spring, but if your diagnostic tests indicate that you already have the needed competencies, you can sit for the assessment today.

The development of these certifications has been a collaborative effort involving the contributions of practitioners representing all parts of the humanitarian community, as well as institutional partners. Of particular importance has been the close partnership with, and support of, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and the HPass initiative, which has allowed the program to be part of a wider framework for building and recognizing professionalism among humanitarian workers.


Read more about the certifications