Social Impact

Save the Children

Save the Children

Humanitarian Leadership Academy: Business Plan and Operational Strategy for a New Disaster Relief NGO

In 2015, Save the Children set up a new independent non-governmental organization (NGO), the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (the “Academy”), to enable people to respond to crises in their own countries by leading their own disaster prevention, preparation, and management, as well as post-disaster reconstruction. The Academy sought out Oliver Wyman’s support for further developing of a sustainable business model, building on the vision and guiding principles that had already been established.


Oliver Wyman conducted a 10-week project to support the academy to determine the sector’s needs, identify services, and develop a pricing model. To understand the needs of the “disaster relief” sector, we conducted more than 30 interviews with leading providers from the global humanitarian capacity-building sector, including coordinating organisations and disaster relief NGOs such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We then identified services the academy can provide to address these needs and finally developed a pricing model for the learning and development products developed by each of the local Academy Centres.

During the course of the engagement, the Oliver Wyman project team also identified several key areas in which the Humanitarian Leadership Academy’s operating model should be further refined in order to better serve the sector’s needs.

So far, working with Save the Children has been excellent. The academy is a small organisation very much in start-up mode, so the work is truly strategic
Alexei Kalveks Oliver Wyman


The Humanitarian Leadership Academy’s impact is expected to contribute to the global humanitarian sector. In its first five years, the Academy aims to establish centres in 10 countries, reach communities in more than 40 countries, and help train around 100,000 aid workers.

Oliver Wyman’s work has helped the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to better understand how it should address the needs of the sector. It has provided the academy with a clear understanding of its market positioning, an economic model, operating model, and action plan. This will allow the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to better prepare the world for future humanitarian crises and provide real value in educating and empowering the next generation of humanitarian leaders and responders.

The clients are friendly and collaborative, and we are very excited that our work with them could have a significant, tangible, and genuinely useful impact on the world
Alexei Kalveks Oliver Wyman