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One Humanity, Shared Responsibility (ES99D-15)


The international community is expecting that we come together and tackle global challenges from poverty to gender quality and climate change, and to create a better world for future generations. Now it is time to turn promises into action for this generation, and uphold people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive.

The Agenda for Humanity outlines five core responsibilities in which we must take collective action. One of the core responsibilities is 'Leave no one behind'. It is our responsibility and commitment to transform the lives of those most at risk of being left behind. This means reaching everyone and empowering all women, men, girls and boys to be agents of positive transformation. It means reducing displacement, supporting refugees and migrants, ending gaps in education and fighting to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence and increasing disaster management.

Module aims

The module aims at mapping the practical context of humanitarian assistance. It also considers the interlocking of nature, social, economic, and political factors to examine the shared responsibility of humanity towards humanitarian challenges.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

The module will consist of 5 days sessions. The module leader will attend all of each session, to integrate and stimulate interdisciplinary learning.
The core design is that each day the module leader and subject specialists will choose how they wish to deliver a combination of discipline or application grounded material with activities that will allow the students (with the module leader) to develop their learning in an interdisciplinary style that will help them to explore and deepen their knowledge of that day’s theories and set texts/materials. Active learning methods (i.e. Team-Based Learning; Open Space Learning) will be implemented to heighten student engagement and understanding of the week’s topic. Below is a sample outline for the teaching week (Subject to modification).

Theme 1: Humanitarian challenges
This section will present and assess the current rise in Humanitarian Challenges around the globe. The social and environmental reasons will be discussed. Case studies will be used to examine the trends in a social, political, economic and environmental context. The session will also equip learners with knowledge and tools to; support refugees and internally displaced persons to be safe, live in dignity and become self-reliant; let humanitarian and
medical assistance operate in safety and reach all people in need; and work across humanitarian-development divides to meet humanitarian needs and reduce people's vulnerability in support of the 2030 agenda.

Theme 2: Leave no one behind
In this section social segregation, discrimination and particularly the status of women in developed and underdeveloped modern societies will be examined. The question regarding women includes far more than that of admitting women into the learned professions, and of the question of women's education. The issue concerning women embraces an economic, social and psychological side, and many other aspects as well. The day would also address the needs and risks faced by people with disabilities, older people, ethnic minorities and other
vulnerable groups in a crisis.

Theme 3: Economics of humanitarian development
This would focus on the economic implications of decisions in the humanitarian sector. It would critically analyse the conceptual interpretation of resources in conventional economics and economic development, externalities, economic realities, inequalities and economic policy reforms.

Theme 4: Empowering Communities for Disaster Risk Reduction and Project Implementation
This session aims to provide students with information that would allow them to appreciate the concept and importance of Nature-Based Solutions as a humanitarian tool in Disaster Risk Reduction. The section would identify implementation approaches that incorporate stakeholder participation and differentiate between alternative solutions with considerations for their long-time cost. It is expected that at the end of the teaching students would be able to discern and propose best practices for sample disaster scenarios. In addition, students will learn the basic principles and core concepts behind the Community-Based Approach and will put into practice some of its tools for designing and developing humanitarian projects.

Theme 5: Global responsibility
This theme will explore the multi-dimensional consideration in engineering decision making, in particular, consideration will be given to the social, environmental and economic impacts of engineering and technology development in the short and long term alongside the cultural sensitivity, sustainability, inclusivity, equality and other ethical issues. A workshop will investigate the cases from the social development projects of Engineers Without Borders and large impact projects (i.e. large sports events infrastructure projects) will be debated.

Theme 6: Humanitarian Engineering Career
This section would be facilitated by an individual or organisation within the humanitarian sector as a visit or a training session. It would provide an overview of the careers and career progression within the humanitarian sector.

Theme 7: Creating impactful material for raising awareness
This would focus on a series of short, fast-paced workshops that will take students step by step through the process of preparing powerful audio-visual material. The workshops involve content on:

  • Preparing an article and compressing it down to key points
  • Writing a video 'script' from those key points
  • Sourcing other material for your video
  • Recording and capture of video
  • Editing your video
  • Sharing/uploading your video.
    On completing the session, students will be able to take complex ideas and communicate them in a simple and accessible format - a very important skill in the world today.

Theme 8- Building Emergency Shelters
Practical learning is at the heart of this theme session. It is a simulation (role play) of emergency response in building an emergency shelter on campus. This will challenge existing motivations, provide a first-hand understanding of what it is like to work in the field. Practise sessions introducing on-field emergency response activities would be carried out before the actual build day. By the end of the day, students will have the chance to explore their own motivations for engaging in humanitarian work.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced understanding of the characteristics of natural disasters, conflict induced emergencies and the requirements for an effective humanitarian response;
  • critically analyse the impact that scientists have in tackling societal challenges;
  • critique the essentials of Humanitarian Practice and providing Humanitarian assistance;
  • evaluate the collaborative and creative responses to discrimination in society, particularly with regards to the position of woman in society;
  • consider how communities should enhance their engineering capacity and social integrity to catalyse transformative change and support individuals to become globally responsible citizens.
  • develop impactful and coherent material (videos, articles) which can be used to raise awareness and convey key messages to different audiences.


Week 33

Commencing 15/05/23


R2.41 (Ramphal)

Dr Modupe Jimoh

An open sewer running through the middle of the Kibera slum, Nairobi. With up to one million residents, Kibera is Africa

An open sewer running through the middle of the Kibera slum, Nairobi. With up to one million residents, Kibera is Africa's largest slum.

Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trócaire (CC BY 2.0)

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