The Changing Nature of Crises and Crisis Response: The Promotion of Evidence-Based Practice

The Henry J. Leir Research Program in Humanitarian Studies

The nature of crises affecting people in extremis is changing. Conflict remains an important source of vulnerability, but other hazards and risks are gaining prominence. Complex, multi-causal crises will become more common. Aid programming will also become increasingly complex.

Over the next three years we will pursue three critical lines of applied research. We will seek to understand the role of empirical evidence in driving humanitarian assistance programming. We will continue to research how institutions evolve and adapt and how to promote better accountability and professional competency in the humanitarian field. Lastly, we will research the way key global processes such as climate change and globalization affect community risk and vulnerability, and the subsequent consequences this has for the evolving humanitarian system.

The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Karamoja Resilience Support Unit (KRSU)

KRSU is a four-year project of USAID/Uganda aimed at increasing resilience and economic development in the Karamoja Region of northeast Uganda.

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The Agriculture Knowledge, Learning, Documentation and Policy Project (AKLDP)

The AKLDP is a five-year project of USAID Ethiopia which provides collaborative learning and coordination support across the Feed the Future portfolio, leading to improved agriculture, livestock and pastoral policy and programming.

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Gender, Sex, and Age in Humanitarian Response

This page brings together multiple projects related to gender, sex, and age in humanitarian response.

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Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards Raising Awareness, Ensuring Uptake

The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) have been developed as a set of international standards and guidelines for the assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises.

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Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) Operational Learning

The ultimate goal of The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) is more effective, efficient, and appropriate humanitarian responses to crises. The aim is to achieve this by promoting better-informed and more evidence-driven responses, specifically by supporting a process of coordinated needs assessment which is timely, coherent, and appropriate to context, with results that are accessible and relevant to decision makers.

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Planning From the Future

The Planning From the Future project aims to influence the direction of ‘non-traditional’ and traditional humanitarian actors to help them deal with a rapidly changing and potentially increasingly vulnerable world.

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Partnerships in Remote Management Settings

International organizations increasingly rely on local partners to engage in humanitarian action. This is particularly the case in highly insecure situations or when host governments limit or deny international access. Despite these trends, there have been few attempts to examine the effectiveness of international-local partnerships either in general or in insecure “remote management” contexts. This study explores these partnerships in the setting of cross-border assistance from Turkey to Syria in 2014. The case of Iraqi Kurdistan provides historical perspective.

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Policy Support to the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative, Ethiopia

This project aimed to strengthen policy and practice in selected pastoralist areas of Ethiopia.

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Evaluation of Community-based Animal Health in the Horn of Africa

This project is a collaboration between Feinstein and Vetwork UK to evaluate community-based animal health worker (CAHW) services in Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan on behalf of the US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

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Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance

This study was intended to compile the evidence base for improved practices by humanitarian agencies to mitigate the risk of corruption in humanitarian assistance. Case studies were conducted in seven disaster zones.

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Professionalizing the Humanitarian Aid Sector

With ELRHA we are building a global network of study hubs, one on each continent, which will help develop a set of core competencies for aid workers and from that a system for delivering those competencies through training and apprenticeship in order to establish a global mechanism for certifying the competency of aid workers.

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Humanitarian Horizons

The Humanitarian Horizons research seeks to understand the impact that climate change, globalization, demographics, and changing dynamics within the humanitarian sector will have on future crises and organizations’ responses to them.

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Livestock Interventions in Complex Emergencies: South Sudan and Somalia case studies

This project consists of two case studies on large-scale livestock programs in South Sudan and Somalia, focusing on issues of program impacts, coordination, and community participation.

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Annual Report: 2015-2017
| August 2017

Description of Feinstein International Center activities and achievements from 2016-2015.

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Evidence Brief: The Impact of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Interventions on People Affected by Humanitarian Emergencies

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on mental health and psychosocial support interventions in humanitarian emergencies.

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The Impact of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Interventions on People Affected by Humanitarian Emergencies

This systematic review investigates both the process of implementing mental health and psychosocial support programmes and their receipt by affected populations, as well as assessing their intended and unintended effects.

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Evidence Brief: WASH Interventions in Disease Outbreak Response

This evidence brief accompanies the full systematic review on WASH interventions in disease outbreak response.

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WASH Interventions in Disease Outbreak Response

How does the use of WASH interventions reduce disease outbreaks? This evidence synthesis identifies, synthesizes and evaluates the available evidence in order to find a response.

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Evidence Brief: What Practices Are Used to Identify and Prioritize Vulnerable Populations Affected by Urban Humanitarian Emergencies?

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on urban identification practices in humanitarian emergencies.

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What Practices Are Used to Identify and Prioritize Vulnerable Populations Affected by Urban Humanitarian Emergencies?

This systematic review represents the first ever attempt to systematically search, sort and synthesize the existing evidence in order to consolidate findings on the tools, methods and metrics used to identify and prioritize vulnerable people, households and communities, including those displaced within and to urban areas.

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Evidence Brief: The Impact of Protection Interventions on Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Humanitarian Crises

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on the impact of protection interventions on unaccompanied and separated children in humanitarian settings.

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The Impact of Protection Interventions on Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Humanitarian Crises

Programming for unaccompanied and separated children cases is often prioritized in the context of humanitarian interventions. But what is the impact of protection interventions on UASC in humanitarian crises in low and middle income countries?

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Evidence Brief: Shelter Self-Recovery in Humanitarian Emergencies

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on shelter in humanitarian settings.

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The Effectiveness and Efficiency of Interventions Supporting Shelter Self-Recovery Following Humanitarian Crises

What effects do humanitarian interventions that support affected populations’ own shelter self-recovery processes have on household-level outcomes following a crisis? And what factors have helped or hindered the implementation of such interventions? This evidence synthesis represents the first ever attempt to systematically review the existing evidence for an answer.

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The Impact of Food Assistance on Pastoralist Livelihoods in Humanitarian Crises: An evidence synthesis protocol
By Karol Czuba, Tyler O’Neill | March 2017

This protocol outlines plans for conducting an evidence synthesis on the impact of food aid on pastoralist livelihoods.

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The influence of market support interventions on household food security: An evidence synthesis protocol

This protocol outlines the proposed research questions and methodology for an evidence synthesis on the influence of market support interventions on household food security in humanitarian crises.

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Planning from the Future: Is the Humanitarian System Fit for Purpose?

Does the humanitarian system have the capacity and vision to respond effectively to the crises of today, tomorrow, and deep into the future? This report analyses the failings of the…

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Impact of WASH Interventions during Disease Outbreaks in Humanitarian Emergencies: A systematic review protocol

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on WASH in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks “What are the outcomes and impacts of WASH interventions during disease outbreaks…

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Regional Humanitarian Challenges in the Sahel

The Sahel rarely makes headlines. Until the early 2000s, it was on the margins of geopolitical interest and of humanitarian action and debate. Today, the Sahel is on center stage…

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The Road to Resilience A Scoping Study for the Taadoud Transition to Development Project
By Merry Fitzpatrick, Helen Young | March 2016

This scoping study explores the resilience strategies of households in multiple livelihood systems by describing how households in Darfur have coped with conflict and other shocks over the past fifteen…

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No End in Sight: A Case Study of Humanitarian Action and the Syrian Conflict Component 2. The Contemporary Humanitarian Landscape: Malaise, Blockages and Game Changes
By Kimberly Howe | January 2016

The scale of the Syrian conflict and resulting humanitarian need constitute one of the largest crises of our time.  This case study analyzes contemporary humanitarian action inside Syria, cross-border operations,…

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Protection in the context of humanitarian action
By Norah Niland | December 2015

The bulk of humanitarian action occurs in armed conflict settings and this will likely persist into the foreseeable future. Therefore, protection – keeping people safe from armed violence, abuse, discrimination,…

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Synthesizing practices of evidence appraisal in the humanitarian field
By Roxanne Krystalli, Lauren Emerson | November 2015

This paper synthesizes evidence appraisal practices to inform evidence syntheses in the Humanitarian Evidence Program. It is addressed to all audiences interested in humanitarian evidence, including but not limited to researchers,…

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Briefing Paper: Synthesizing evidence appraisal practices in the humanitarian field
By Roxanne Krystalli, Lauren Emerson | November 2015

This briefing paper accompanies a full report that synthesizes evidence appraisal practices to inform evidence syntheses in the Humanitarian Evidence Program. It is addressed to all audiences interested in humanitarian evidence,…

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The Return to Violence in South Sudan
By Daniel Maxwell, Phoebe Donnelly | August 2015

South Sudan became the world’s newest country in July 2011, but internal political struggles resulted in renewed violent conflict in December 2013, affecting nearly half the country’s population and displacing some…

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Can revolutionary medicine revolutionize the humanitarian system?
By Nicola Dahrendorf | August 2015

Cuba’s contribution to and involvement in humanitarian activities provide an instructive and challenging lens through which to investigate alternative courses to Western dominated humanitarian action. Cuba’s participation in a range…

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Challenges for Remote Management in Insecure Settings: Sustainability of Local Organizations and Donor Withdrawal: Second Briefing Paper from Breaking the Hourglass

This is the second briefing paper emerging from a longer report on humanitarian action and partnerships in remote management settings. This briefing paper offers key insights and findings on the…

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Challenges within Remote Management in Insecure Settings: Trade-offs, Capacities, and Trust: First Briefing Paper from the Breaking the Hourglass Report

This is the first briefing paper emerging from a longer report on humanitarian action and partnerships in remote management settings. This paper offers key insights and findings on the challenges…

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Mapping Evidence Syntheses in the Humanitarian Sector: Insights and Challenges

This publication accompanies a catalog of existing evidence syntheses in the humanitarian sector and discusses the methodological approach to this exercise. The purpose of this study was three-fold: (a) to identify gaps…

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Breaking the Hourglass: Partnerships in Remote Management Settings–The Cases of Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan

International organizations increasingly rely on local partners to engage in humanitarian action. This is particularly the case in highly insecure situations or when host governments limit or deny international access….

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Evidence Synthesis in the Humanitarian Sector: A Guidance Note
By Roxanne Krystalli, Eleanor Ott | February 2015

This Guidance Note discusses an approach to systematic evidence synthesis in the humanitarian field. Though its recommendations explicitly apply to the evidence synthesis outputs commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme,…

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Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
By Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid | August 2014

After two reasonably good years of recovery, 2014 appears to be shaping up as a difficult year for Somalia. Donors and agencies are ringing alarm bells about deteriorating conditions. There…

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Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012 Desk Review of Literature

On July 20, 2011, the UN declared a famine in South Central Somalia, which killed some 260,000 people (Checchi and Robinson 2013). Though Somalia was the worst affected country, the…

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Participatory Impact Assessment: A Design Guide Updated Version 2014

The Feinstein International Center has been developing and adapting participatory approaches to measure the impact of livelihoods based interventions since the early nineties. Originally released in 2009, this updated version…

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Experiences of National Governments in Expanding Their Role in Humanitarian Preparedness and Response
By Jeremy Harkey | January 2014

Many countries’ governments are slow to assume leadership of their disaster management system. Reasons for slow assumption of national leadership include a lack of government prioritization of disaster management, minimal…

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Annual Report 2012-2013
Annual Report 2012-2013
By Feinstein Center | November 2013

We are pleased to provide you the latest Feinstein International Center Annual Report, covering the academic year 2012-13. The report provides summaries of all the current research programs and our…

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Annual Report 2011-2012
By Feinstein Center | September 2012

This report covers the first year of our new three year strategy with its focus on seven critical areas of research. We now have active research ongoing in 16 countries…

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Annual Report 2010-2011
By Feinstein Center | September 2011

The Center’s scope of work has expanded in 2010–11 while staying focused on the subject matter of marginal communities and crisis. We now have active research ongoing in 14 countries…

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Sex and Age Matter Improving Humanitarian Response in Emergencies

This report shows that proper collection, analysis and use of sex and age disaggregated data, or SADD, allows operational agencies to deliver assistance more effectively and efficiently in a crisis.

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Annual Report: July 2009 to June 2010
By Feinstein Center | September 2010

The Center’s scope of work has expanded in 2009-10 while staying focused on the subject matter of marginal communities and crisis. We now have active research ongoing in 14 countries…

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One for All and All for One Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action
By Mackinnon Webster, Peter Walker | April 2009

A significant proportion of humanitarian assistance is now delivered by NGOs which have in effect become federated trans-national organizations, alliances of members from different countries, all seeking to provide assistance…

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Participatory Impact Assessment
By Andy Catley, John Burns, Dawit Abebe | October 2008

The Feinstein International Center has been developing and adapting participatory approaches to measure the impact of livelihoods based interventions since the early nineties. Drawing upon this experience, this guide aims…

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Humanitarian Agenda 2015: Final Report The State of the Humanitarian Enterprise

This report summarizes the findings of a major research project on the constraints, challenges, and compromises affecting humanitarian action in conflict and crisis settings. The building blocks are 12 case…

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Disaster globalization Evaluating the impact of tsunami aid
By Peter Walker | July 2005

The tsunami and earthquakes that hit the Indian Ocean 26th December 2004 caused a disaster so extreme and so unusual that it pushed all our models of response to the…

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One for All and All for One: Support and Assistance Models for an Effective IFRC
By Peter Walker, Larry Minear | August 2004

In recent years and for a variety of reasons, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been buffeted by an array of forces. In one…

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Ambiguity and Change Humanitarian NGOs Prepare for the Future

This study provides international NGOs with a rudimentary framework for strategic planning in the light of the likely challenges of ambiguity and change awaiting them during the next decade. It…

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