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 literature and systematic reviews to distil 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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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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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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Sex and Age Disaggregated Data to Improve Humanitarian Response

This research documents and analyses current practices concerning the collection and use of sex and age disaggregated data (SADD) and gender and generational analyses of SADD within the humanitarian community

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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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Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
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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
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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
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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
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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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Sex and Age Matter Improving Humanitarian Response in Emergencies
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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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One for All and All for One Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action
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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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One for All and All for One Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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