Open Badges in Humanitarian Aid and Development

April 08, 2016 Tina Bolding

Issuing certifications to learners as a means of demonstrating their knowledge or skills is not a new concept.  But digital technology and social media are transforming the way we earn and display our credentials.  In 2011, the Mozilla Foundation established Open Badges to enable any organization to create and distribute digital credentials that learners can easily display in an Open Badge Passport or across any number of social media channels. 

Recently, Extreme Networks conducted a worldwide survey on the state of open badges in academia and the private sector and received over 1900 responses. Some interesting results from the survey include:

  • 65% of those surveyed believe the popularity and usage of badges will increase
  • While only 38% of those surveyed currently use or plan to use badges, 81% of those who are using badges plan to maintain or increase their use of badges in the future.
  • Of those with no current plans to use badges, the issue is either a lack of resources (44%) or lack of understanding of badges (34%).

Digital Badges may have come into prominence in the field of higher education, but they are quickly becoming a popular tool in other fields where the attainment of new skills happens either on the job or outside a traditional educational institution.  This is certainly the case in the humanitarian aid and development sector where the ongoing need for high-quality professional development accessible anytime, anywhere was the very impetus for  As more and more humanitarians have taken advantage of the learning resources in DisasterReady, we discovered that here is an equally important need for many of our learners to easily display and share their credentials with peers, employers, or future employers. 

So in 2015 we partnered with Discendum, a Finnish company specializing in eLearning environments and Open Badges, to make digital badges available through work completed in DisaterReady. Today, our learners can earn an Open Badge by completing any of the following learning packs:

Want to learn more about Open Badges in DisasterReady and our plans for making more of them available to more learners?  Our partners at Discendum have just published a fantastic profile of the Open Badge program in DisasterReady.  Read more about our work together in this profile of DisasterReady at


About the Author

Tina Bolding is the Director of and is responsible for the strategy, development and outreach for this effort to support the critical and demanding training needs of the global humanitarian community. Before joining the Foundation, Tina served as chief human resources officer at Food for the Hungry, an international relief and development organization, where she built a global HR department and implemented support services to assist HR operations across 22 countries. Tina holds a BA in Organizational Communication and Psychology from the University of Tulsa.


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