“Boots on the ground” create the action in humanitarian action. Whether it be medicines, tents, blankets, pumps, textbooks, communications equipment or vehicles, materials and supplies must be in place for humanitarian response to take place. Humanitarian logistics is the management and execution of the activities needed to plan for and move relief materials and supplies, along with related funds and information, from suppliers to beneficiaries. Logistics activities include needs assessment, planning, procurement, transport, warehousing, distribution to beneficiaries, and reporting. Effective, timely logistics is critical to response to emergencies arising from armed conflicts, epidemics, famine, and natural disasters.
This course provides an overview of humanitarian logistics by introducing the challenging context in which it takes place, the organizations typically involved, the products and services needed, and the operational approaches taken and challenges encountered in meeting the needs. Issues covered include operational challenges, funding issues, coordination and strengthening local capacity. The course combines lectures, readings and teaching cases covering international organizations, UN agencies, and international NGOs.