The Humanitarian Action Qualifications Framework: a quality assurance tool for the Humanitarian Sector

  • Bastiaan L. Aardema University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Cristina Churruca Muguruza University of Deusto, Spain
Keywords: humanitarian action, emergencies, disasters, sectoral qualifications frameworks, sectoral profiles, meta-profiles, lifelong learning, learning outcomes, competences


The article presents the European Universities on Professionalisation on Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA) Project as an initiative that seeks to contribute to the professionalisation and quality assurance of the humanitarian sector. Its purpose is to explain the approach and the process leading to the development of the Humanitarian Action Qualifications Framework as an example of good practice for other sectors aiming at improving the recognition of qualifications as a precondition of academic and professional mobility. With this aim, it introduces the educational and humanitarian trends that led to this project: the move from transnational qualifications frameworks of which the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) is the best example to sectoral qualifications frameworks and the increasing demand from the sector seeking to determine the competencies and required skills of a professional humanitarian aid worker. Based on the EQF and the Tuning methodology the framework will act as a translating device to make national and sectoral qualifications more readable and promote humanitarian workers’ and learners’ mobility between countries and organisations. It will facilitate inter-system transparency and recognition of (non-)formal and informal learning by linking occupations, skills, competences, and qualifications, thus benefiting the Humanitarian Sector as a whole.

Published online: 4 July 2014


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Author Biographies

Bastiaan L. Aardema, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Bastiaan Aardema, MA, MSc, works as academic staff member for the Joint Master programme in International Humanitarian Action at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Since 2004 he has been intensively involved with curriculum development, quality enhancement and TUNING within the framework of NOHA (Network on Humanitarian Action) and its European universities. In the EU funded project ‘European Universities on Professionalisation on Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA)’, he is co-leading with the University of Deusto (Spain) the work package that focuses on the development of a European Qualifications Framework for the humanitarian sector. Its intent is to provide a bridge between the already established humanitarian frameworks in the professional sector and the specific demands of the educational sector in terms of lifelong learning.

Cristina Churruca Muguruza, University of Deusto, Spain

Cristina Churruca Muguruza, PhD in International Relations, is lecturer and researcher at the Human Rights Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the University of Deusto (Spain) where she teaches international relations and humanitarian action and peace building. She is Director of the Joint Master’s Erasmus Mundus in International Humanitarian Action at this university, and Coordinator of the NOHA Master’s Consortium of Universities on Humanitarian Assistance and of the EUPRHA (European Universities on Professionalization on Humanitarian Action) Network. Her current areas of research are human security, protection and peace building. She combines her teaching and research work with the promotion of joint curriculum development and quality assurance in humanitarian action and participation in joint recognition and accreditation initiatives supported by the European Commission, national accreditation agencies and the European Consortium for Accreditation.


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How to Cite
Aardema, Bastiaan L., and Cristina Churruca Muguruza. 2014. “The Humanitarian Action Qualifications Framework: A Quality Assurance Tool for the Humanitarian Sector”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 1 (2), 429-62.