European Universities on Professionalization on Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA)

Daniel Weyermann

The University of Turku, through the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, has been actively involved in the European Initiative “European Universities on Professionalization on Humanitarian Action” (EUPRHA). In Turku, the project has been managed and coordinated by Prof. Juha Räikkä. Daniel Weyermann has been active as a researcher.

The aim of the EUPRHA project is to contribute to the professionalization of the humanitarian sector by means of the promotion of a competence-based education of the humanitarian workforce. Actively involved are 30 European universities, Network on humanitarian Action (NOHA) Alumni, and two humanitarian associations (The Sphere Project, The International Council of Voluntary Associations).

The project has been working on the following issues during the last few years:

  • Work Group Mapping: The result will be a database with actors and educators in the humanitarian sector covering all European countries.
  • Work Group Qualifications Framework: The result will be a European Qualifications Framework for the humanitarian sector. (See
  • Work Group Trends: The result will be an analysis of trends in the humanitarian sector as well as of skills for new and old jobs therein.

The University of Turku has been participating in the work groups mapping, and in the dissemination of the project and its findings in Finland. For the case of Finland, it was found that there are several central actors in the humanitarian sector in Finland (such as Finn Church Aid), as well as a range of actors that also, and often more explicitly, focus on development issues. Finland lacks explicit and professional education in the field of humanitarian action, be it on university or vocational education level. Courses in development studies at universities or through the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID) seem relevantly related, but often do not explicitly focus on humanitarian action issues.

The results of the project will be presented in summer 2014, at the final EUPRHA conference that will be held in Brussels. The project will also be officially closed with this conference. There are, however, plans to uphold the cooperation amongst the 30 involved universities and to further pursue – be it formally or informally – the professionalization of humanitarian action in European countries.

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