UCP Training Course

The Creating Safer Space research network invites Expressions of Interest to participate in a 10-week training course on Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians.

This course is an introduction to the objectives, principles, sources of guidance, and methods of Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP). UCP is a set of field-tested methods for the protection of civilians in areas of violent conflict. It does not rely on the use of guns or other weapons, or on the threat of their use. UCP encompasses nonviolent strategies used by communities to self-protect as well as networks of protection built in partnership between local communities and national or international organizations. These networks rely on coordinated communication and on relationships that can be activated to deescalate episodes of conflict and to prevent or interrupt violence. More information about the content of the course is available at the bottom of this page.

The course is led by Dr Ellen Furnari and Dr Thor Wagstrom, and is based on course content developed by our partner organisation Nonviolent Peaceforce.

There are no course fees, and course material will be provided for free.

Dates and Time
The course dates are 7 January – 17 March 2023. The course will require about 8-10 hours per week to read, participate and complete assignments.

Course Structure
Participants complete all activities online through modules that are accessed through the course website. There are no required meetings for this course. However, participants are invited to meet the course facilitators and each other during an informal kick-off Zoom meeting on Sunday 8 January. Up to three additional meetings will be arranged during the course for opportunities to meet and question experienced UCP practitioners and to practice UCP methods through role-play exercises. Attendance for these meetings will not be required but is encouraged.

Basic Requirements
The course is conducted in English, and participants should have access to the internet either by computer or by smart phone.

Researchers, Masters/PhD students and relevant practitioners are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to participate in this course. Anyone is welcome to apply, but places are limited. Priority will be given to those candidates who are most likely to benefit from the course, with priority to candidates from the UK and from the Global South. We especially encourage Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, Project Partners and Research Assistants on Creating Safer Space research projects to participate in the course.

How to apply
Please submit an Expression of Interest of no more than 100 words to creating-safer-space@aber.ac.uk by 22 November 2022, with an explanation of your interest in the course and how it would benefit you in your work or studies. Please specify if you are involved in a Creating Safer Space research project, including your role in the project.

Certificate of Completion
Successful students will receive a certificate upon completion.


Learning Objectives:

At completion, students will successfully:
• describe the key principles, objectives, and sources of guidance for UCP;
• analyze a conflict and identify vulnerable populations;
• demonstrate an understanding of the methods of UCP and how they can be adapted and applied to a conflict situation; and
• identify key features of an effective UCP implementation plan and exit strategy, with a view toward maximizing the security both of UCP staff and local civilians.

The course consists of five modules:

Each module contains 15 – 30 pages of reading, with some optional additional video and document resources.

A very important part of the course experience is the online discussions about the readings. Each participant is expected to make at least four contributions to the discussions for each module. These contributions will be made through the course website and must include considered responses to the provided discussion topics as well as responses to posts made by other course participants. It will be necessary to complete the reading assignment before contributing to the discussions. The course facilitator will moderate the discussions.

Each module also includes one short assessment designed to check comprehension of some key concepts, and one written assignment for practicing the application of the module concepts to example scenarios.

Dr Ellen Furnari and Dr Thor Wagstrom, the course facilitators, will be available via email to assist with any challenges as you work through the course.

The complete list of required work for the course, then, is as follows: