Shaping the Next Generation of Humanitarian Supply Chain Professionals

In a world grappling with humanitarian crises, the need for skilled and devoted supply chain professionals has never been more urgent. Enter the Humanitarian Logistics Internship Programme, a cornerstone initiative within The Center for Humanitarian Logistics and Regional Development (CHORD). Developed through collaboration between HELP Logistics and the Kühne Logistics University (KLU), the Humanitarian Internship Programme not only aims to cultivate the next generation of humanitarian supply chain experts but also supports organisations to effect enduring change in the lives of those in need.

For master's students at KLU, the internship programme offers a unique opportunity to move beyond the confines of textbooks and lectures. It immerses them in the complex realities of humanitarian operations, providing a platform to apply their expertise in real-world contexts. This experience transcends mere education; it is a journey of personal growth and professional development, shaping future leaders who are both skilled and compassionate.

This impact of the programme extends beyond just the participating students; it also brings numerous benefits to host organisations. The interns bring fresh perspectives, academic insights, and analytical skills to the table, providing valuable assistance on humanitarian projects that propels organisations forward in their mission to alleviate suffering and create positive change.

Last year, nine KLU students embarked on transformative journeys to support international humanitarian organisations across six countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Students were guided and supported by dedicated project managers from HELP Logistics. These mentors provided valuable support and expertise, helping the students gain practical insights, overcome obstacles, and understand the complexities of humanitarian work.

Join us as we venture through the experiences of some of these interns, exploring the challenges they encountered, the lessons they gleaned, and the impact they made on the world around them.

Mr. Nikhil Sajeev embarked on a journey to measure and mitigate the World Vision Mongolia’s carbon footprint using the Humanitarian Carbon Calculator (HCC), a tool developed in collaboration with the ICRC. Mr. Sajeev’s analyses revealed that 77% of the organisation’s emissions stemmed from goods and services provided to beneficiaries, underscoring the significant impact NGOs have on reducing emissions in their supply chains. This initiative is critical in addressing carbon emissions in humanitarian operations, emphasising the importance of precise carbon accounting and proactive emission reduction.

“Assisting World Vision in Mongolia with carbon accounting was enlightening and rewarding. It broadened my carbon accounting knowledge and strengthened my commitment to the humanitarian sector’s sustainability.”

– Nikhil Sajeev

Assigned to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Mr. Adithya Muralidharan undertook a project focused on calculating carbon emissions in supply chain processes. Using the Humanitarian Carbon Calculator, Adithya analysed non-food item purchases across three different country missions.

Throughout his internship, Mr. Muralidharan developed methods for carbon accounting and explored ways to reduce emissions within the organisation. Reflecting on his achievements, Adithya considers completing his internship and providing IOM with a methodology for carbon accounting as significant milestones.

The internship has reshaped Mr. Muralidharan's career aspirations, sparking an interest in the humanitarian sector and sustainable supply chain processes.

“This internship opened my eyes to new career possibilities and kindled an interest in humanitarian work and sustainability, which I have not considered in the past.”

– Adithya Muralidharan


At the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Ms. Lea Juergen embarked on a mission to streamline procurement procedures for smaller National Societies, condensing IFRC’s Procurement Manual. Her internship journey was a whirlwind of responsibilities: from deciphering procurement manuals and conducting risk assessments to defining software integration needs. Ms. Juergens' efforts set the stage for IFRC's future endeavours, leaving a mark that extends beyond her departure.

Remarking on her experience, Ms. Juergens highlights the internship's pivotal role in bridging academia and the humanitarian sector and says it will have a lasting impact on her career.

”The experience I have gained will stay with me and shape my understanding of humanitarian operations.”

– Lea Juergens

In the heart of the UNFPA Humanitarian Response Division (HRD), Mr. Swanand Sanjay Athalye found himself immersed in a world of humanitarian health, delving into the intricate world of humanitarian health supplies.

Tasked with shaping the Humanitarian Health Supplies Preparedness Operational Guide, Mr. Athalye played a pivotal role in structuring and formulating content critical for effective emergency response preparedness. His responsibilities ranged from refining the guide's structure to developing comprehensive checklists essential for crisis mitigation.

A significant highlight of his internship was witnessing the piloting of the Preparedness Operational Guide in South Sudan, signifying the tangible impact of his contributions within the humanitarian community.

Through the internship, Mr. Athalye uncovered a newfound interest in global reproductive health and gender equality.

“Having been immersed in critical humanitarian work, particularly in global reproductive health and gender equality, I'm now more committed to impactful endeavors. Witnessing the direct effects of UNFPA Humanitarian Response Divison (HRD) initiatives reinforced my dedication to a career that betters society.”

– Swanand Sanjay Athalye

During her internship at UNFPA Humanitarian Response Division (HRD), Ms. Nupoor Mahjan delved into the humanitarian supplies training pilot cohort and participated in UNFPA Humanitarian Response Division's (HRD) simulation exercise and training programs. Her primary responsibilities included reviewing and enhancing online training modules to suit the needs of diverse audiences and coordinating in-person sessions.

Amidst her journey, Nupoor's experience unveiled invaluable lessons in coordination, communication, and leadership, indispensable skills in the humanitarian landscape. A standout memory for her was attending an immersive training in Nairobi, where she found herself in a melting pot of cultures, exchanging insights, and forging lifelong connections.

Ms. Mahjan emerged with a clarified vision for her future, deeply rooted in the humanitarian realm. Her experience underscores the importance of internships in providing hands-on experience, fostering skill development, and offering clarity in career aspirations within the humanitarian sector.

“This internship has given me the opportunity to not just learn but contribute meaningfully to the humanitarian cause. It's about making a difference, one step at a time.” – Nupoor Mahjan

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