CENDEP at Oxford Brookes University to launch unique short courses in the Leadership of DEP
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CENDEP at Oxford Brookes University to launch unique short courses in the Leadership of DEP

The Oxford Brookes Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University has launced a series of master-level short courses for Senior Executives and Future Leaders within the humanitarian aid and international development sectors.

The last ten years have seen significant changes within humanitarian aid work, including among other things, changing demands (for example from urbanisation and an increase in disasters), more funding (for some), professionalisation of the aid sector (and current pushes for forms of recognised professionalisation) and an increased need for accountability to donors. With an average annual 6% increase in staffing across humanitarian organisations over the last ten years* there are now thought to be just over 210,000 humanitarian workers throughout the world**. At the same time the needs of affected populations have increased and the nature of the humanitarian response has changed. NGOs are re-evaluating their accountability structures, their working relationships with southern NGOs and governments, their response times and role as subcontractor. While organisations have made some progress on coordination and assessment tools in the humanitarian sector, and reconsidered their skills base and technologies accordingly, studies show that progress on leadership has been weak – responses to skill deficiencies have in many cases led to employing more technical experts and importing management approaches from outside the sector***. Organisations are struggling with the pull of responding to the ‘humanitarian imperative’ and the need at the same time for increased efficiency, effectiveness and professionalisation. To these ends CENDEP is working closely with NGOs in the humanitarian sector and looking at ways that we can support leadership development needs through a variety of educational tools.

The CENDEP short courses are based around personalised study routes, promoting self-discovery surrounding personal leadership and decision-making style, challenging choice, ethics and values. The courses develop high level leadership skills, inspiring and empowering individuals to unlock career-changing potential. This in turn enriches the leadership journey, enhancing an organisation’s vision and delivery. Newfound skills can be translated into greater effectiveness, co-ordination, accountability and professionalisation at grass roots level, to make a real difference to individuals around the world.

Accredited by Oxford Brookes University and pitched at postgraduate level the four short courses are cutting-edge in terms of their content and delivery. Flexible learning is coupled with current, relevant materials grounded in practice and simulation. The four courses cover:

  • Leadership
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources and Organisational Development
  • Co-ordination of Humanitarian Action

The key features of these courses are:

  • Five day long, standalone courses with flexible, time-efficient learning styles
  • Personalised study routes for self-discovery in leadership, unlocking world-changing potential
  • Inspirational, high-calibre tutors, each with decades of experience
  • Theory into practice – action learning sets and simulation – peer to peer networking and real life, practice-based learning
  • Based on CENDEP’s experience and knowledge from over 20 years of providing university-accredited qualifications in the sector


For more information read our leaflet about the courses and email Professor David Sanderson, Director of CENDEP, on cendepleaders@brookes.ac.uk

For more information on CENDEP at visit the Oxford Brookes University CENDEP research pages


* Stoddard et al. Quoted in Harvey et al. 2010, p.18

** Harvey et al. 2010, The State of the Humanitarian System: Assessing performance and progress – a pilot study, ALNAP, p.18. This refers to staff working on crisis response and rehabilitation only

*** Clarke P. and Ramalingham B., 2008 Organisational Change in the Humanitarian Sector, 7th Review of Humanitarian Action, ALNAP, Chapter 2.