Humanitarian Action Recognition (HA Recognition) aims to facilitate professional development of humanitarian workers by promoting the recognition of all types of prior learning (formal, non-formal and informal) and by identifying clear progression routes and learning pathways.
HA Recognition has produced several deliverables which are jointly called the Toolkit for the Recognition and Validation of Prior Learning in Humanitarian Action. It benefits individual learners (by improving self-awareness and facilitating recognition of informal and non-formal learning), training providers (by enabling greater retention of and widening access to a range of learners) and employers (by helping to identify employees’ skills and skill gaps in organisations more effectively).
The Guidelines explain what the Humanitarian Action Qualifications Framework is and how and why it can be used for recognition of prior learning. The HAQF and its underlying HA Profile was developed by the EUPRHA project and acts as a common reference system based on learning outcomes. Recognising prior learning in the context of the HAQF helps the learner make connections between the life experience he/she has gained in the humanitarian and/or any related sector and: (a) the ways in which he/she has applied this learning to his/her current work practice or other activities (providing reflective evidence of this); (b) the ways (pathways) in which he/she can plan to build on this learning through his/her current role to meet particular goals.
Through its descriptors and levels, it facilitates inter-system transparency and recognition of (non)formal and informal learning by linking occupations, skills & competencies and qualifications, thus benefiting the humanitarian sector as a whole: humanitarian actors, educators, policy makers, students, volunteers, and the society at large in an effort to further professionalise assistance to crisis-affected people.
2. The HAQF Profiling Tool
The HAQF Profiling Tool is a key element for the identification of clear progression routes and learning pathways for humanitarian professionals. The Profiling Tool helps: (a) humanitarian learners reflect on and express learning from experience just to know which is one’s level of learning or to identify what someone has learnt in relation to particular requirements of a programme or a job description; (b) identify how that learning matches the HAQF level descriptors and therefore show the qualifications which are available to individuals/learners; (c) identify how any prior learning could contribute towards qualification completion; (d) identify the career stages to which each qualification level is equated and the range of job roles to which each qualification relates.
The tool is in a form of a table, one for each level of learning (level 5, level 6, level 7), divided in the six dimensions of the humanitarian profile where knowledge, skills and competencies can be identified. Individuals outline their work experiences and link these experiences to the required level of learning and/or job profiles and skills required by the employers. Consequently, the table provides space for outlining the learning and skills that have been gained through these experiences. Finally, the Profiling Tool aims to somewhat inspire individuals carrying out the profiling exercise by asking them to outline actions needed to acquire the learning.
The Toolkit contains (a) a detailed explanation of recognition and validation of prior learning and its differences; (b) the key features and core principles of the HAQF and how to use it in the process of recognition; (c) the Handouts explaining the process of learning and recognition of learning to support individual learners or facilitators working with learners to identify what they know or are able to do and can use in other situations and make connections between their learning experience and particular qualifications or job profiles.
Learners might want to map their prior learning against a particular job requirement or particular qualification or learning programme in the humanitarian sector. Learning providers or employers might want to check the level of qualifications of someone applying for a particular programme or job position. Some humanitarian workers might be aiming to undertake a formal programme of learning at a college or university to advance in their career and need to obtain recognition and validation of previous learning experience. Others might want to benchmark their knowledge and skills for personal development or for career planning. Whatever the reason to decide to start a recognition process, the Toolkit can be used by all learners and organisations to support learners or employees in the recognition of prior learning and might encourage them to seek validation, that is to attribute value to their learning.