H.E.L.P. is a two-week course on the provision of humanitarian relief during disasters, armed conflicts, and other complex crises. It was created in 1986 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Geneva, to professionalise the delivery of humanitarian assistance during emergencies, and to promote professional ethics and humanitarian principles.

There are complex issues that humanitarian personnel have to tackle, often during emergencies. What are the most effective means to protect the lives and dignity, and promote the health, of people affected by major climate change-related disasters or armed conflicts? What must be done to analyse a complex crisis, evaluate needs, assess the resources available, and set priorities?

What goes into planning and managing a response and, later, evaluating its effectiveness? How should threats to public health be prevented or responded to, mental and social well-being promoted, and care provided in a way that is effective, sustainable, respectful, and ethically sound?

ICRC-sponsored courses have been held in various parts of Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, and Asia. Since 1986, over 5,000 health professionals and humanitarian aid workers from various organizations, academic institutions, Ministries, and military services have attended the course.

Admission requirements:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a Swiss or foreign university;
  2. At least two years of relevant professional experience;
  3. Excellent command of English (see below)

Documents required:

  • CV (Resume)
  • Cover letter (explaining what is the reason why you apply for this course and how will the acquired skills help you in your career)
  • Employer’s funding agreement, if applicable
  • Highest educational qualification obtained
  • Work certificate or official document of your current job position
  • Proof of English language competence to be dated less than 2 years (see details below)
  • Portrait photo (ID format)
  • Scanned copy of the passport

Language Requirements

The minimum required English level is B2. Providing a language certificate is mandatory, except in the following cases:

  1. If you are a native English speaker, please provide a copy of your passport as proof.
  2. You have been studying in English for at least three years: please provide a certificate from your institution, your transcript or your diploma.
  3. If you have worked for at least five years in English with MSF or ICRC, please provide a copy of the English test you have undertaken internally with your employer.

Recognized Tests and Scores:

    • Cambridge English First (FCE) 160-179
    • Cambridge English Preliminary (PET) 160-170
    • B2 Business Vantage
    • IELTS 5.5-6
    • TOEFL iBT 72-94
    • TOEIC Listening & Reading 785
    • TOEIC Speaking & Writing 310
    • PTE Geneval Level 3
    • PTE Academic 59-75
    • Duolingo : 110
    • EF SET (CEFR) : B2

More information about the admission process is available on our application page.