HPass is a new initiative fHPass is a new initiative focusing on professional development in the humanitarian sector. It is an online platform for humanitarian staff and volunteers, learning and assessment providers and employers. HPass aims to improve transparency, consistency and quality in the way that humanitarians are trained and recognised.
HPass is currently working with 27 organisations that are developing and issuing badges to humanitarian staff and volunteers worldwide.
Humanitarians collect badges as evidence of their skills and expertise, on a myHPas s profile, so they can quickly share them with employers and peers.
HPass is a new initiative focusing on professional development in the humanitarian sector. It is an online platform for humanitarian staff and volunteers, learning and assessment providers and employers. HPass aims to improve transparency, consistency and quality in the way that humanitarians are trained and recognised.
Esther Grieder, who works at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy where she manages the HPass initiative, explains that in the humanitarian sector, there is still inconsistency in the way that skills and experience are recognised and certified, posing a challenge for recruiters who often need to deploy people quickly in emergencies. There are also many people with highly relevant practical humanitarian experience, often based in areas where crises most often happen, that have no means to demonstrate their skills in order to access formal employment in the sector.
During 2012-2014, a research was conducted which established a demand for a “learning and development passport” among humanitarians. In 2017, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy conducted a feasibility study into the possibility to use digital badges for this purpose, followed by a pilot with several organisations in 2018. Esther says that since then they have further developed their offer to humanitarians and began to roll it out in 2019. HPass is currently working with 27 organisations that are developing and issuing badges to humanitarian staff and volunteers.
– Anna explains about the challenges.
“Through HPass, we are aiming to develop a system of recognising skills and experience, which responds to the specific challenges faced by the humanitarian sector. Digital badges are a consistent, quickly verifiable means of demonstrating skills and experience, which promote transparency through being available online. They offer a flexible medium in order to recognise more formal course completions and assessments, as well as a range of other practical experience,” states Esther
HPass works with a network of humanitarian organisations, that create and issue badges on a range of humanitarian themes. These range from general skills such as project management in an emergency, through to technically niche skills in relation to humanitarian logistics, safeguarding etc. Many organisations are looking at how they can use badging to ensure people have a minimum level of knowledge in place before deployment, while others are looking at more advanced professional development.
Badges are issued to humanitarians all over the world, who are able to gather badges on an online portfolio called a myHPass profile. It enables them to maintain one portfolio of evidence of their skills, throughout their career.
“The OBF platform has been a great tool for us to realise our vision of a learning and development passport for humanitarians. It enables HPass to oversee a network of organisations that create and issue badges, and we have worked closely with OBF to develop the myHPass profile feature (building on Open Badge Passport), enabling humanitarians to maintain their portfolio of digital badges.”
“for HPass, it is important to be able to work with OBF to develop the platform according to the needs of our users, which are emerging as we work with an increasing number of organisations. One specific feature that we find useful is the endorsement functionality, allowing organisations to endorse each other’s badges. Rather than creating new learning, it enables organisations to direct their staff towards each other’s courses.”
Reception of Open Badges
One of the main challenges HPass faces, is that online badges are a new concept for many users, who are used to receiving paper certificates. HPass is always working to develop their communications to make the concept as clear as possible and demonstrate its benefits and provide advice to users on how to get the most out of the platform.
“In 2019, we focussed on recruiting organisations to use HPass -we had a great reaction with 27 organisations already signed up. My organisation, Humanitarian Leadership Academy, developed a very popular course called Safeguarding Essentials, the badge for which has already been endorsed by 11 organisations,” says Esther. She explains that they haven’t done any specific promotion to audiences of individual humanitarians yet, but nevertheless, as of early 2020 there are already 2,600 users signed up to myHPass, with over 5,200 badges. They are starting to see some great examples of people using the myHPass functionality.
“We’re really pleased with how myHPass (a dedicated installation of Open Badge Passport) is looking – it now has an easily navigable dashboard and offers the ability for humanitarians to create and populate a really nice profile to share with their contacts,” describes Esther.
Over the next year, HPass is expecting to see a big increase in the numbers of humanitarians using the site, as the organisations they are working with issue increasing numbers of badges. They are also aiming to work with more organisations and to convene groups of organisations to develop badges which are recognised across the sector, as this is an area in which many have shown interest. “In future, HPass will be a way to access information about available skills in the sector, in order to speed up the process of recruitment and deployment -we are working with OBF on some developments this year to support this approach. We are also really looking forward to the mobile app which is going to be really brilliant for our humanitarian audiences,” Esther concludes.
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