Protection International’s e-learning programme Security and Protection Management for Human Rights Defenders and Social Organisationsis an educational and training initiative for all those who face security risks because of the human rights, humanitarian or social development work they do.

Since 2011, Protection International (PI) has offered its e-learning course to human rights defenders. In 2020, the programme was revised to incorporate the new approaches and methodologies that PI staff have learned over the years. The e-learning course is offered three times per year, in English, Spanish and French. 

Key information

  • Tutors: Sylvain Lefebvre, Zenaide Rodrigues de Andrade, Alexandra Loaiza and Paola Carmagnani
  • Administator: Ángela Diaz
  • Designed for: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights defenders and their communities, social development or social justice organisations, humanitarian aid workers.
  • Duration: 72 hours over 12 weeks (approximately 6 hours per week)

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to learn about new tools, methodologies and best practices for managing your security and protection, then this is the course for you. You will have the opportunity to engage with our experienced experts on preventative protection strategies for human rights defenders and engage with other activists who may be facing similar challenges to you. The course is divided into the following modules:

  • Introduction: The Right to Defend Human Rights
  • Module 1: Risk Analysis
  • Module 2: Protection Strategies and Responses
  • Module 3: Security Management

This newly revised course encourages greater interactivity and student participation. Teaching modifications accommodate different learning styles, including gamification, allowing for a more enjoyable learning experience.

For this new edition, Protection International has adopted an integrated and situated approach to conducting risk analyses and designing protection plans. This means that we have incorporated the physical, digital and emotional dimensions of security into the lessons and materials. Our instructors will walk you through concrete situations of risk faced by defenders and the various ways to interpret risk depending on the different identities of defenders (applying a gendered and intersectional approach).

This programme is for members of organisations who may experience risk because their work involves human rights, social development and humanitarian aid.

This programme will prioritise the enrolment of people commissioned by an organisation, association or community, who will be able to apply what they have learned in the course to a broader group or collective. We will also prioritise groups of 2-3 people within said organisation, association or community.

Each week, participants are expected to dedicate approximately 6 hours to the course, which includes time spent reading documents and complementary materials and completing written exercises. Under the guidance of a tutor, students will take responsibility for their own learning, using their experiences to identify and acknowledge what they need to improve upon in consideration of their own specific contexts. Beyond the written exercises, we will also work through case studies to allow for knowledge exchanges between participants.

  • A computer (PC, laptop, tablet or a smartphone);
  • Access to the Internet (Mozilla Firefox is recommended);
  • The ‘’New Protection Manual for Human Rights Defenders’’, which can be downloaded for free (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Indonesian and Swahili) here.

FIRST SESSION: 30 January – 23 April 2023
SECOND SESSION: 10 April – 2 July 2023
THIRD SESSION: 11 September – 3 December 2023

Upon the successful completion of the mandatory activities and after passing the final assessment, students will obtain a certificate. Each module contains activities and exercises that are mandatory for receiving the certification. 

“I realized that it is necessary to emphasize the importance of registering security incidents because many times the defenders I accompany do not get to the point of creating the security protocol because the other stages of the security cycle are weak. The notion and differentiation between an attack, a threat and a security incident has also been key to risk perception and prevention strategies.” – A woman human rights defender from Mexico

“The session equipped me with further knowledge on how to assess risk, identify the protection and support networks, as well as to prepare for info management and security for our office or homes. I was able to apply some part of the trainings and materials provided in the course such as the facilitator’s manual in my office’s risk assessment workshop where we regularly conduct internally with our staff.” – A human rights defender from Cambodia

“Excellent methodology. I have been impressed by PI’s ability to synthesize such complex content for a course with such a short duration. It has been an excellent exercise.” – A human rights defender from the United Kingdom

“The content of the course is very relevant for protection work and there are very interesting methodologies. We have learned about many new tools.” – A human rights defender from Nigeria

For detailed information about the course, please contact Ángela Díaz at e-learning@protectioninternational.org.