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.

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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
Gender, Sex, and Age in Humanitarian Response

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

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
Can revolutionary medicine revolutionize the humanitarian system?
Revolutionary medicine
By Nicola Dahrendorf | June 2016

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…

Read More
Protection in the context of humanitarian action
Protection
By Norah Niland | June 2016

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,…

Read More
Regional Humanitarian Challenges in the Sahel
Sahel Drought

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…

Read More
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
palmyra
By Kimberly Howe | May 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,…

Read More
The Road to Resilience A Scoping Study for the Taadoud Transition to Development Project
The Road to Resilience
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…

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

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

Read More
Briefing Paper: Synthesizing evidence appraisal practices in the humanitarian field
PeopleOnTheMove
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 Programme. It is addressed to all audiences interested in humanitarian evidence,…

Read More
Catalogue of Evidence Appraisal Practices
By Lauren Emerson | November 2015

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

Read More
Breaking the Hourglass: Partnerships in Remote Management Settings–The Cases of Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan
Breaking-the-Hourglass_Syria_Iraqi-Kurdistan-1

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….

Read More
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,…

Read More
Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
Another-HC-in-Somalia-1
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…

Read More
Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012 Desk Review of Literature
Desk-Review-Somalia--GHA-Crisis-2011-2012-1

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…

Read More
Participatory Impact Assessment: A Design Guide Updated Version 2014
PIA-guide_revised-2014-(3)-1

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…

Read More
Experiences of National Governments in Expanding Their Role in Humanitarian Preparedness and Response
TUFTS_13118_Humanitarian_response_V3print-1
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…

Read More
Sex and Age Matter Improving Humanitarian Response in Emergencies
sex-and-age-matter-1

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.

Read More
One for All and All for One Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action
one-for-all-and-all-for-one-2009-1
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…

Read More
One for All and All for One Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action
one_for_all-Webster-1
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…

Read More
Participatory Impact Assessment
Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.56.58 PM
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…

Read More
Humanitarian Agenda 2015: Final Report The State of the Humanitarian Enterprise
ha2015-final-report-1

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…

Read More
Disaster globalization Evaluating the impact of tsunami aid
Walker--Disaster-globalization--Evaluating-the-impact-of-tsunami-aid-1
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…

Read More
One for All and All for One: Support and Assistance Models for an Effective IFRC
one_for_all-1
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…

Read More
Ambiguity and Change Humanitarian NGOs Prepare for the Future
Ambiguity-and-Change--Humanitarian-NGOs-Prepare-for-the-Future-1

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…

Read More