Join us on a journey to transform humanitarian learning

Throughout 2024, ALNAP will be challenging itself, its members and the wider sector to unlock the full potential of humanitarian learning.

Our mission is to shift approaches and cultures in ways that better recognise and respond to the evolving complexity of humanitarian crises and the urgency of need.

There is a greater need than ever for us to unlock the rich learning and experience that already exists within the sector to meet the humanitarian challenges of our time head on.

Over the past few weeks, ALNAP has been encouraging humanitarians everywhere - leaders or those on the frontline of a crisis, researchers or those just starting a career in the sector - to start by taking some time out from their busy schedules to recommit to learning on the extra day we all get this year.

They could do this by reading a report, article or resource they’ve been meaning to get to for ages, completing an online training module, exploring an important area of their work in more depth and detail, or simply taking a step back for some much needed – and long overdue – reflection.

That Day For Learning is today - Thursday, 29th February.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and energy for this we have seen from organisations across the sector, many of which have been helping us promote the day to their global audiences.

The initiative was always meant to be collective and interactive, so we have been encouraging ALNAP colleagues, members, other organisations and humanitarians wherever they are, to share their insight and favourite learning resources and links. Noted humanitarians and organisations have also contributed content covering key aspects of learning.

You can find much of this material on the ALNAP website here.

Today, ALNAP will also be premiering our new documentary film Improving humanitarian action: Learning for the future.

In the film, humanitarians from across the world offer fresh, deep insight on current crises and how we can better work together as a sector to improve future responses. Featuring interviews with AIDMI, the DEC, the Norwegian Refugee Council and SEEDS India, the film explores the future of humanitarian aid, what we can learn from different crises together and how ALNAP can help the sector chart a way forward.

The film will be streamed live on LinkedIn and X at 1pm GMT (check ALNAP social media channels for more details).

When ALNAP was established, its mandate was to develop and implement a process of systematic learning to improve the quality of international humanitarian assistance.

Since then, the learning landscape has been transformed. There have been successes and considerable achievements in humanitarian learning, but also well-documented, ongoing frustrations and challenges.

ALNAP is now taking stock of what we have learned about learning itself and the steps required to build on the successes and rise to the tricky challenges that have dogged progress.

Looking ahead, ALNAP and its members will be seeking to build on what’s gone before and improve our collective approaches to capturing and sharing learning.

As the nature of crises evolves and humanitarians are challenged to work differently, our sector’s ability to learn and change must be equally adaptive and dynamic.

This means transforming our thinking: stepping off well-trodden linear learning paths, unpicking power relations within the system, creating a more inclusive learning environment and accelerating the pace of change.

The sector has more knowledge and experience than ever before. A wealth of quality evidence, research and learning, tools and guidance already exists to help us learn better.

Humanitarians need to be bolder in increasing and diversifying learning spaces across the sector, embracing approaches more suited to the true complexity of change and different learning experiences.

The reality of learning and change is complex. It is rarely linear or predictable, but relies on countless interactions – formal or informal, planned or unplanned – where evidence, opportunity, and leadership coincide to create change. The humanitarian sector’s traditional learning approaches fall short of enabling the kind of changes the sector is now asking of itself.

"We must create an environment that is receptive to learning and changing in response to what emerges"

We need to embrace systemic approaches that will better enable learning throughout the sector, making learning more inclusive, accessible and positioned as close as possible to the decisions that need to be made. Critically, we must create an environment that is receptive to learning and changing in response to what emerges.

Every humanitarian organisation should be committed to learning and improving our individual and collective performance to better serve people affected by crises. We know that with learning comes change.

So join us today on a new journey to transform humanitarian learning.