Taking action to shape the humanitarian sector

Bioforce has developed a proven track record in course design based on its 35 years of experience.
The course design provides professional training solutions to individuals and organisations, but also to the humanitarian sector as a whole. A humanitarian professional community that speaks the same language and uses the same standards and tools for developing skills is needed more than ever to increase the attention paid to a key sector, that of capacity building.

Innovation for the benefit
of the humanitarian community

Defining humanitarian profession

As the leading professional training body in the sector, the Bioforce Institute has gained recognition in France for the range of humanitarian professions, based on guidelines which set out the skills required and the activities involved for each profession, and which are reviewed regularly with humanitarian organisations to make sure they take the changing context into consideration. To make sure they remain relevant, the professional guidelines are developed by analysing profiles and job offers made available by key organisations, and with the support of staff in the field and at the headquarters  questionnaires, interviews, steering committee). These guidelines are drawn up in line with the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance's Core Humanitarian Competencies Framework.


Innovation to put local stakeholders back at the centre of crisis response

At the heart of aid localization issues, Bioforce and Oxfam Taking the Lead’s joint initiative aims to give the power back to local stakeholders, by placing them at the centre of their individual and collective capacities’ reflection and analysis process. This initiative fosters an inclusive vision - not an external interpretation - of capacity building needs. 

Our objective: local stakeholders (in the broadest sense, from NGOs to local authorities, academic institutions and private organisations) must be able to make their own choices and to pilot adapted, local humanitarian responses. The Taking the Lead initiative has 3 steps, all associated with a methodology and tools: supporting local stakeholders in analysing their own context, self-evaluating their organisational capacities, and designing action plans to enhance their individual performance. Finally, conducting a collective assessment with an action plan to strengthen coordination and complementarity of action within a given geographical area.

Hence, Taking the Lead will allow local stakeholders to define a collective humanitarian and leadership capacity building strategy, and to ensure the optimal coverage of humanitarian needs within their area.

Providing a reference tool to the aid community : The State of Humanitarian Professions

In a rapidly changing aid ecosystem, how to help humanitarian organisations better recruit, retain and develop competent staff? How to help individuals have greater clarity on how they can enter the aid sector and be effective for people in need?

How to help learning providers better target the most acute learning needs? With the State of the Humanitarian Professions 2020 project, Bioforce will share with the humanitarian community a reference study for recruitment, professional development, recognition and individual career pathways. Join the team!

As we all know, multiple changes are underway in the humanitarian sector. These changes include ceding more power and control to local responders, ensuring that humanitarian workers and communities are safeguarded, operating with new approaches and technology... For these to be successful, the humanitarian community needs to ensure there is sufficient professionalism in the sector, and individuals operate with the necessary competencies. Recognising the professional functions that exist and the increasing understanding of the competencies they require will help organisations and individuals to adapt to new challenges and eventually, better answer the needs of vulnerable people. While initiatives seek to give more visibility to professions and careers in humanitarian action (HPass, ELRHA...), there is currently no holistic, exhaustive and prospective publication on this crucial theme: as an actor in the professionalisation of the humanitarian sector, Bioforce has launched, with the support of the Principality of Monaco, the first international study on humanitarian professions.

Developing standards for training and for assessing skills: the HPass initiative.

Enabling access to quality training and the recognition of humanitarian skills: this was done in 2018 following a global consultation by developing two quality standards established for and by the aid sector. The “Humanitarian Learning Standards”, the “Standards for the Assessment of Humanitarian Competencies” and the quality assurance mechanism (including a self-evaluation tool and a certification tool) have been run by HLA (Humanitarian Learning Academy), RedR, Pearson Education and Bioforce since 2016. 
These standards are now supported by the HPass initiative (of which Bioforce is a member) and will enable the humanitarian sector to use the same standards to recognise, develop and validate professional skills around the world, for local staff or for those who have been posted abroad. 

Organisations wishing to adopt the Quality Standards can access HPass Support Services which are implemented by Bioforce. The Support Services assist organisations to adopt one, or both, sets of standards, or focus in on one specific Standard. HPass Certification provides international recognition that an organisation is providing a quality service which meets global best practice in learning and/ or assessment within the humanitarian sector.

Bioforce obtained its HPass pre-certification during the pilot certification scheme. When HPass becomes fully operational, Bioforce will be certified and able to issue badges to participants on our training courses. They will be able to enhance their training in their personal space on the HPass online platform, https://my.hpass.org

Contributing to the sixth edition of the guide to good humanitarian practice, All in Diary

Having been part of the first French-speaking edition in 2016, Bioforce once again contributed to the sixth edition of the essential guide to good humanitarian practice, which has new factsheets on key areas such as “conflict and fragility”, new trends such as “financial assistance” and the latest references in terms of resources. The All in Diary is now part of PHAP (Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection).

Mobilising the humanitarian community.

Mobilising the humanitarian community around capacity building issues

We are certain that improving capacity is now a major challenge and are therefore mobilising our energy and know-how to ensure that it is recognised by all the organisations and institutions that make up the humanitarian community.


​​​​​​​The Training Providers Forum (TPF) aims to improve access to and the quality of training in the humanitarian sector by strengthening collaboration between the main European training organisations, sharing knowledge and best practice and advocating for the importance of training in the sector. After a 2017 study on e-learning solutions for humanitarian workers, 2018 was devoted to the network's future focus group on “How to measure the impact of training?”, the theme of the 2019 meeting. A French version of the TPF has been launched, which includes Groupe URD (Emergency, rehabilitation and development), Iris (the Institute of international and strategic relations), F3E, IRCOM (a higher education institution), CIEDEL (the Local development international studies centre) and Bioforce.
Our learning and development coordinators (thematic humanitarian experts) are also mobilising into sectoral coordination bodies (“clusters”) to monitor and contribute to changing practices. In 2018, we co-facilitated a workshop on capacity building at an annual Global Wash Cluster meeting.