The HUMLOG Challenge


Tracks: October, 2021


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GBSN and the Hanken Schools of Economics’ HUMLOG Institute invite learners across disciplines to form teams and participate in this international virtual competition focused on developing solutions to humanitarian logistics related problems. Participants have the opportunity to earn an international micro-credential after completing the competition.  The HUMLOG Challenge aims to engage learners in a team-oriented, interactive digital environment designed to facilitate collaboration and ignite innovation towards addressing disaster response systems within their local communities.

This year’s competition focuses on Community Disaster Resilience. The Covid-19 pandemic has tested communities across the world on preparedness and resilience. Major hazards such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, droughts, and landslides, among others, constantly threaten the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations across the world. In the context of accelerated climate change and population growth, the current trend of frequent major disasters is expected to increase in the foreseeable future. To mitigate this trend, increased Disaster Resilience and Community Preparedness is essential to reduce the potential impact of humanitarian crises on the poorest communities who are disproportionately affected by these disasters.

How does it work?

Register your team.

We encourage multi-disciplinary, diversified teams of 2-4 students / members from different schools and studies, background and levels, (Undergraduate, Graduate, or Doctoral).

Registration opens in June.

Select disaster problem.

All participants will be prompted to indicate a problem from a natural disaster group they wish to focus on that is relevant to their community environment. 

Select a problem from a locally relevant natural disaster.

Submit a concept brief.

Complete the concept form to provide the organizers and mentors an idea of your team’s project. We will review all concepts to ensure alignment and viability.

Concept forms deadline: Sept 30

Community disaster resilience (CDR) is the mainstay of disaster readiness and risk reduction in communities across the globe. 

Teams will be prompted to choose a locally-relevant natural disaster and address the community’s preparedness, response and level of resilience.

Resilience Defined.

The United Nation International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) defines resilience as “the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions.“

Operationalizing this definition presents its own set of challenges.

Operationalize Resilience.

It is important to note that “resisting” and “absorbing” (and the other components embodied in the definition) embody different processes. How they are executed varies from hazard to hazard (e.g., flood readiness strategies differ from those required for seismic hazards) and from country to country (e.g. reduction and readiness program in Japan differ from those in New Zealand, yet both face comparable levels of seismic risk). How resilience is operationalized should be able to encompass, for example, the hazard, cultural and national diversity that prevails in an international context. 2

The Challenge.

In order to improve the systems and processes that predict community resilience, teams will be challenged to choose a problem relating to a natural disasters relevant to their local community and assess the response, preparedness and resilience. The goal is to design solutions that encompasses the hazard and cultural and national diversity. No problem and solution are too small. We encourage students to form teams with other countries whose communities face similar hazards. (For example, earthquakes happen in Chile, Japan and New Zealand, but how each country is prepared to respond is different.)

Participants are welcome to indicate which of the four natural disaster groups that their locally-relevant problem relates to. 

As teams assess community preparedness and response they should keep the following questions in mind.

  • What is resilience?
  • To what threats should our communities be resilient?
  • What is the state of resilience-building collaborations across the community?
  • What makes existing partnerships effective?
  • What are the challenges in achieving successful community-level collaboration for disaster resilience?
  • What remedies are available?
  • What are the essential elements of a framework for effective collaboration?

By the end of the course, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of the humanitarian context
  • Explain how humanitarian relief is provided
  • Identify the role of logistics in humanitarian relief
  • Apply logistical principles and concepts to the humanitarian context

Online Course and Certificate

As part of the Learners Track and The HUMLOG Challenge, the Hanken School of Economics is offering participants the opportunity to take its online course, Introduction to Humanitarian Logistics, available on the FutureLearn platform. In this course participants will learn how humanitarian relief is provided and will explore the logistical concepts and principles that are applied in humanitarian operations. Learners will consider the importance of supply chain management and recognize how contextual differences alter the requirements of logistics management during aid operations.

This optional online course takes no more than two weeks to complete and estimates an average of 3 hours of work per week. After completing the course, assessments and submitting a solution in the competition, participants will earn a certificate that can be added to resumes, CVs, and LinkedIn professional accounts!


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Cash Prize.

The winning team will be offered a 5,000.00 USD prize to be used towards their continuing education!

One-on-One Mentoring

Top FIVE teams will be offered a one hour professional mentoring session from one of our judges!

Earn a certificate.

Participants have the opportunity to earn an international recognition after completing the competition. In addition, the Hanken School of Economics is offering participants the opportunity to take its online course, Introduction to Humanitarian Logistics, available on the FutureLearn platform.

More information on the competition will be released in early June when GBSN Beyond registration opens.