Preparing – Networking – Accompanying

Programme description

Title: Key qualifications for international cooperation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2015 to 2017


Experts and managers engaged in international cooperation frequently work under difficult conditions and in complex environments. To be effective they require intercultural skills and an understanding of the political and social conditions in their given country of assignment. Moreover, development cooperation experts need to be able to meet the ever increasing demands on their skills and competences.


Experts and managers engaged in international cooperation have a solid skills base, enabling them to meet the increasingly high work demands in their partner countries.


The Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ) has been carrying out the programme Key Qualifications for International Cooperation on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for many years now.

AIZ offers a range of training activities to prepare German international cooperation experts and managers for their assignments abroad. These induction measures focus on the individual level and provide needs-based training for experts and managers who will be spending at least one year abroad under a contract from one of the 30 or more German sending organisations.

Training covers a wide range of topics: Country, Culture and Diversity; Language and Communication; Personal Safety, Stress and Conflict; Digital Literacy; Development Policy; Management; and Human Resources and Organisational Development. On top of this, the programme offers individual learning formats and information services such as Tutored Learning, an interactive Learning Landscape, and the Multimedia Information and Education Centre with its extensive materials and options. A stay at the Academy in Bad Honnef also presents many opportunities for international cooperation specialists and managers to share their experiences and to network.

AIZ constantly updates and adapts its training courses in line with the sending organisations’ needs and with the German Federal Government’s development policy objectives, including the latest events and milestones in this field, for instance the 2030 Agenda. In addition, new forms of learning are always being tested and digital learning opportunities expanded.
Given the growing number of countries and regions affected by conflicts, violence and fragility, the programme’s focus since 2016 has increasingly turned to issues of personal safety, conflict, fragility and violence.

In 2017, the Key Qualifications Programme will not only offer its proven two-and-a-half day security training course, but also a monthly five-day intensive training course on safety and security for experts and managers heading to regions where security risks are significantly higher. Also, 2017 is the first year the programme will be offering a course on Digital Skills for Project Work Abroad. This course aims to empower people to make safe and efficient use of information and communications technologies to maximum effect in their country of assignment and project context.

Participants attend up to four weeks of training as well as an additional four weeks of language instruction. Furthermore, within the scope of catch-up preparation, they can continue using the programme portfolio for up to six months after departure.

The Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ) takes a didactic approach that links international standards for adult education with the requirements of international cooperation.


Every year around 1,300 experts and managers along with their accompanying family members prepare for their foreign assignments through the Key Qualifications for International Cooperation programme.

AIZ carries out more than 1,000 training courses annually to prepare individuals for international assignments.

Some 30 sending organisations, including official development services, federal ministries, non-governmental organisations, political foundations and state organisations, book courses on the Key Qualifications programme.

More than 90 per cent of participants recommend their pre-assignment training courses to other people afterwards.

Six months into their assignment and once they have gained experience on the ground, some 80 per cent of participants are still satisfied with their preparatory training. In fact, 88 per cent would recommend it to others.