DNS began in Denmark in 1972. Its Danish name Det Noedvendige Seminarium translates to “The Necessary Teacher Training College.”  DNS was established to reform the standard educational paradigm, offering a training program that develops the whole student and is capable of adapting to modernizing circumstances and cultures.

DNS seeks to create a new generation of high-quality educators who are committed to making a difference, and who are prepared to teach in a rapidly changing globalized world. Basic to the DNS philosophy is the idea that people must become mobilized and take charge of their own growth and development. DNS thus trains teachers to expand their horizons and grasp opportunities to facilitate empowerment for themselves, their students, and their community. 

In 1977, a group of DNS instructors and students took their ideals to the next level. They formed Development Aid from People to People (DAPP), embracing the idea of providing on-the-ground development assistance from people to people. The group embarked on a journey to southern Africa in 1980 to celebrate the liberation of Zimbabwe, and build a school for returning refugees. Members of the group also traveled to Mozambique, where they organized the construction of a vocational school, established an orphanage, and started village literacy classes. They persevered in their work despite the violent civil war that was raging at the time.  Later, after the Mozambique peace treaty was signed, the group established the first of many DNS teacher training colleges.

By the mid 1990s, the efforts of the DAPP team inspired a movement of local development organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. To better coordinate efforts and share experiences and lessons learned, these organizations joined together in a federation of associations, naming it Humana People to People. Headquartered in Shamva Zimbabwe, Humana People to People has become a hub from which members can obtain technical and administrative support and guidance to carry on their development efforts.  Project leaders from member countries also meet periodically at the headquarters facility to participate in conferences and share ideas that can improve project effectiveness.

Today, Humana People to People’s members include 32 organizations working in 43 countries. The organization remains true to the mission of working shoulder to shoulder with the poor, and continues to embrace education as a primary goal. Humana People to People has been instrumental in helping establish DNS colleges for the purpose of building a cadre of qualified teachers who are dedicated to improving education in rural areas. Today, there are 32 DNS colleges in six African countries and 22 additional colleges in India. 

Beyond education, Humana People to People is helping to strengthen food security, promoting health and hygiene, and helping stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Through 460 projects, members of the Federation benefit 12 million people and employ more than 9,000 staff on an annual basis.

Humana People to People is represented in the United States through Planet Aid, a 501(c)(3) U.S. non-profit development organization that operates a clothes-recycling program. With income derived from the sale of used clothing and other sources, Planet Aid has provided tens of millions of dollars for development programs worldwide since 1997.