DV443      Half Unit
Humanitarian Consultancy Project

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Darron Gordon and Ms Sarah Cooper-Knock


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is not available as an outside option.

Compulsory for and limited to students on the MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. (NB MSc IDHE students do not sign up for DV428 Managing Humanitarianism).

Course content

This unit is a core course for the MSc IDHE. Students work on a consultancy report in Michaelmas Term and Lent Terms and attend the taught element of DV428 Managing Humanitarianism in the Michaelmas term.

Students will gain practical experience of dealing with current policy issues and best practice in the fields of humanitarian assistance or international development by working on a live consultancy team project for a real client and an historical case study of a major humanitarian emergency. The consultancies are based around an experiential learning format.

Students will be allocated to consultancy teams comprising between three and five people. Students are able to express preferences for particular clients but may not be allocated to one of these. Past project sponsors have included the UK Department of International Development (DFID), the ICRC, MSF, the Disasters and Emergency Committee (DEC), Christian Aid, the UK Stabilisation Unit and NATO.

The consultancy project begins in Michaelmas Term with client reports due at the end of Lent Term. The client report and final presentation form part of the assessment.

Skills Workshops - There will be a series of skills presentations and workshops in Michaelmas Term. There will be a mandatory workshop covering the topic of humanitarian evaluations in the Michaelmas Term (weenend between weeks 4 and 5). At the end of Michaelmas Term there is a progress board for each consultancy group.

Academic Component - The course includes a significant theoretical/academic component starting in Lent Term. This follows the same format as the DV428 Managing Humanitarianism course, consisting of 10 two hour lectures, 10 film/voice of experience/practitioner sessions of two hours and 10 seminars of one-and-a-half hours. For further details on the content, please refer to the course guide for DV428.


15 hours of lectures, 15 hours of seminars, 12 hours of workshops and 15 hours of workshops in the MT.

MT Consultancy Skills Workshops: 4 x 3 hour sessions. The last of these takes place in at the end of Michaelmas Term and is in the form of a progress board for each consultancy group.

Workshop and feedback sessions take place Fridays (1300-1600) in weeks 2,3,4,6 and 10)

MT Managing Humanitarianism: (follows DV428): 10 x 1.5 hr lectures, 10 x 2 hr film sessions, 10 x 1.5 hr seminars. For further details on the content, please refer to the entry for DV428.

Formative coursework

Students will contribute to the Group inception, interim and final reports/presentations and will be given indicative grades for each of these.

Indicative reading

John Rowley and Frances Rubin, 'Effective Consultancies in Development and Humanitarian and Humanitarian Programmes' (Oxfam: Oxford: 2006); Michael Bamberger, Jim Rugh and Linda Mabry, 'Real World Evaluation: working Under Budget, Time, Data and Political Constraints' (Sage: London, 2012);
Michael Quinn Patton, 'Utilization Focused Evaluation' 4th Edition (Sage: London, 2008);
Michael Edwards and Alan Fowler, 'NGO Management' (Earthscan: Oxford, 2002);
Eric James 'Managing Humanitarian Relief: An Operational Guide for NGOs' (Practical Action Publishing: Rugby, 2008)


Project (35%, 6000 words) and presentation (5%) in the LT.
Essay (10%, 750 words) in the MT.
Take home exam (50%) in the ST.

35% group-based project (ideally 6,000 words but may be between 4-8,000 words depending on the client's preferences) submitted at the end of Lent Term.

5% group based presentation to clients at the end of Lent Term.

10% individual assessed essay (750 words) and individual contribution to a group presentation on an historical disaster case study submitted Friday of week 9 (Michaelmas Term).

50% unseen exam (as per the DV428 exam).

Final client presentations are at the end of the Lent Term and are scheduled by the students in consultation with academic staff AND the clients. Students should be aware that presentations to clients MAY have to take place during the first week of Easter Vacation. They will be informed as soon as possible, but should not make any travel plans until presentation dates are confirmed.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2012/13: 47

Average class size 2012/13: 48

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information