Have you ever thought about becoming an aid worker and working in the humanitarian sector?

This two-week, hands-on experience in Indonesia will provide individuals with a unique learning opportunity and a chance to gain practical experience and valuable insight into humanitarian response. By the end of the fortnight, participants will be more aware of whether they wish to continue with further and more formal training or not. The itinerary will be similar to the highly acclaimed pioneer experience run in 2019. For a description of the 2019 trip, please see the following excellent report published in Red Alert.

I learned a considerable amount from this experience. It showed me the politics of humanitarian work and the social skills it requires are just as important as engineering knowledge. I now have a better understanding and appreciation of the sector, and this will help me so much in my career.” Hands-on-Experience 2019 Participant

What will I gain by attending this trip?

Indonesia is a country which is regularly in the international news due to its frequent major natural disasters. Typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently strike the Indonesian Islands. These have a direct impact on people’s lives as well as leading to flooding, landslides, tsunamis and mudflows. Indonesians have developed schemes and systems to mitigate the risks from such disasters and to cater to people’s needs when the disasters strike.

We had the opportunity to integrate with local communities, NGOs, and government organisations and understand how these groups work together… We also discussed plans with local communities and listened to how they wanted to implement responses.” Hands-on-Experience 2019 Participant

This field experience is aimed primarily at those potentially interested in working in the disaster relief sector. RedR Indonesia will be the host with the support of both Dr Mark Errington and Dr Robert Hodgson, who have practical experience of working in disaster areas around the world.

The experience will include living in the sort of basic field conditions often found within disaster relief work and will mainly be based within local communities. Hands-on exercises in rehabilitation and meetings with many different actors in humanitarian relief will give participants a valuable and realistic view of disaster relief work.

It was a challenge to go into disaster-prone areas with preconceived ideas of what we could do. I learnt that the solution is not always hard engineering one and it’s vital to speak to local communities about solutions because they would often have something different and better in mind.” Hands-on-Experience 2019 Participant

Experience Objectives

    • To give participants practical and authentic experience of ‘fieldwork’ to help them decide whether they wish to pursue further involvement in the humanitarian sector.
    • To experience living in challenging conditions and working directly with those who have lived through disasters and those who help communities to rebuild following disasters on the ground.
    • To help the participants appreciate that disaster relief work is very complex and while they might have relevant backgrounds, they will require further specialist training before they can be impactful in the field.
    • To give participants authentic and real experiences of field work that they can use in applying for humanitarian courses or jobs.

Who will be facilitating the event?

Benny Usdianto (RedR Indonesia Board Chair)
Benny is the CEO of RedR, Indonesia. He has been active in disaster management and humanitarian actions in complex emergencies with international organisations working in Indonesia for almost 20 years. Benny’s job involves indirect project implementation and facilitation of various training, particularly in tsunami early warning systems and building resilience for communities, government and NGO workers.

Robert Hodgson (former RedR UK Chair and current RedR International Co-ordinator)
Civil engineer Dr Robert Hodgson joined RedR when it formed in 1980. He has undertaken about 25 disaster relief assignments in 4 continents, helping relieve suffering during and after natural disasters, complex emergencies and acute health epidemics. Robert has served as a Board member of RedR UK for 14 years, being Chair for 3 of them, and is currently the Honorary Coordinator of RedR International. Robert’s day job includes design and construction of water infrastructure, flood defences and maritime structures.

Agnes Intan Puspadewi (RedR Indonesia)
Agnes Intan Puspadewi was the coordinator during the 2019 field experience trip. During the field trip, she carried out the majority of the translation work and set up relationships with community groups and other NGOs. Intan is a full-time member of staff at RedR Indonesia. She is involved in delivering capacity training and carrying out humanitarian projects on behalf of Redr Indonesia. In early 2019 she was part of a field team which travelled to Lombok to carry out a post-disaster needs assessment of communities devastated by the Lombok Earthquake.

Mark Errington (RedR SW Group member and ShelterBox volunteer)
Mark has volunteered as a ShelterBox Response team member for the past four years. He has deployed to Nepal, Fiji, The Caribbean and Mozambique. Before this, Mark ran ‘The New Build Uganda’ taking groups of volunteers to construct school buildings and composting toilets in rural Ugandan Primary Schools.


The cost is £650 per participant; this fee will cover all expenses in Indonesia. It also includes a £50 administration fee per participant to RedR UK and £50 donation to RedR Indonesia. The price consists of all essential accommodation, food and transport from arriving at the venue in Yogyakarta to transport back to Yogyakarta. Participants need to cover their travel expenses flight or travel costs to Yogyakarta plus visas if required and insurance. There will be additional costs for optional post-experience sightseeing according to participants’ preferences, and participants may wish to bring extra cash to buy treats or souvenirs. Alcoholic drinks may be available at times during the course, consumption of these is allowed within reason, but they must be paid for by participants.


If you have any questions about this trip or require further information, please contact Robert at:

R.L.P.Hodgson@exeter.ac.uk or Mark m_errington39@hotmail.com.