The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, supporting disaster management operations in 192 countries.

One way IFRC assists in emergencies is by deploying “surge” personnel. This includes everyone from medical staff to experts in logistics, communications, shelter, hygiene, and more. Surge personnel are recruited from national Red Cross Red Crescent societies around the world, and must be ready to deploy literally anywhere on short notice.

The IFRC hired Sonata Learning to redesign its onboarding program for surge personnel, with the aim of reducing the time and expense to prepare team members for deployment. This was a massive undertaking, as participants required training on everything from logistics to cultural awareness, supervising volunteers, and information management.

Sonata worked with IFRC’s experts to design a blended learning program combining self-guided e-learning, small group workshops, graded assignments, and 1-on-1 tutoring. The program walked participants through interactive scenarios based on real-life case studies, following a fictional IFRC surge team through each phase of an emergency operation.

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In its first year, two cohorts representing 38 countries completed the program.  96% of participants agreed the course better prepared them for emergency operations and said they would recommend it to their peers.

Results of survey data
Animated scenario created for IFRC training
Excerpt from a training on Strengthening Community Resilience

“The  last 5 weeks have been  an incredible experience! The training is simply amazing.”

“Thanks so much. This is indeed the most informative ( and also the toughest) training I’ve ever taken, even though it’s online.”

“The team created comfortable, interactive learning environment that made this course so enjoyable.”

IFRC Participants