Promoting Evidence-based Practice

In the era of information overload, sifting through information to find the best evidence is challenging.

We are bolstering our efforts to support effective local, national, and international decision-making by generating:

  • Evidence on the experiences of people affected by or at risk of crises;
  • Evidence on the effectiveness of the systems that impact these populations;
  • Access to the evidence that exists; and
  • Dialogue between academic researchers, humanitarian decision-makers, and practitioners.
Views from the Ground: Perspectives on Localization in the Horn of Africa
Report on Localization

This study interrogates the assumptions that underpin a localized response, and identifies the factors that enable and hinder local actors in providing a high-quality, principled, and effective response in three countries in the Horn of Africa: Kenya, Somalia/Somaliland, and South Sudan.

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Feinstein International Center Strategy Report 2019-2022
Feinstein International Center Strategy
| August 2019

In 2018, the Feinstein International Center undertook a nine-month strategic planning process. This document describes the outcomes of that process, our 2019–2022 Strategic Plan.

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Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Yemen

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, as it is used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity in Yemen.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Yemen

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, as it is used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity in Yemen.

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis: Evidence from Somalia Briefing Paper
Somalia Brief

The humanitarian situation in Somalia is among the world’s most enduring current crises. As a result of conflict and a very weak central state, the country ran for two decades…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Somalia

The humanitarian situation in Somalia is among the world’s most enduring current crises. As a result of conflict and a very weak central state, the country ran for two decades…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
identify famine

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
Integrated Phase Classification

The briefing paper about a study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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Document d’information : Contraintes et complexités liées à la collecte et à l’analyse de donées en situation d’urgence humanitaire : Le cas du Nigeria
famine in Nigeria

Dans le but d’identifier et de classifier la sévérité de l’insécurité alimentaire, y compris la famine, le Nigeria utilise l’approche du Cadre Harmonisé (CH), un processus analytique semblable au Cadre…

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Contraintes et complexités liées à la collecte et à l’analyse de données en situation d’urgence humanitaire : Le cas du Nigeria

Ce rapport examine le Cadre Harmonisé pour mieux comprendre les contraintes techniques et politiques à l’analyse des famines et des urgences extrêmes.

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Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis: Data Planning in Famine-Risk Countries
data planning in famine

The humanitarian community has technical definitions of famine and food security or nutrition emergencies: the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The classification requires good quality and coverage of food…

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Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Nigeria
humanitarianism in Nigeria

This report examines the Cadre Harmonisé in Nigeria to better understand the technical and political constrains to analyzing famines and extreme emergencies.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from Nigeria
analyzing famine in Nigeria

This brief examines the Cadre Harmonisé in Nigeria to better understand the technical and political constrains to analyzing famines and extreme emergencies.

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Annual Report: 2015-2017
impact-annual-report
| August 2017

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

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Evidence Brief: The Influence of Market Support Interventions on Household Food Security
Impact of market support interventions evidence brief cover

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on the impact of market support interventions on household food security.

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The Influence of Market Support Interventions on Household Food Security
influence of market support interventions

This evidence synthesis represents the first ever attempt to identify, synthesize and evaluate the existing evidence on the influence of market support interventions on household food security in humanitarian crises.

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Evidence Brief: Managing Acute Malnutrition in Children in Humanitarian Emergencies
acute malnutrition in children

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies.

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Recovery, Relapse, and Episodes of Default in the Management of Acute Malnutrition in Children in Humanitarian Emergencies
management of acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies cover

This systematic review represents the first attempt to apply systematic review methodology to establish the relationships between recovery and relapse and between default rates and repeated episodes of default or relapse in the management of acute malnutrition in children in humanitarian emergencies in low- and middle-income countries.

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

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
psychosocial support programs

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
WASH 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
WASH interventions on disease outbreak cover

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?
prioritize vulnerable populations

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?
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 In-Kind Food Assistance on Pastoralist Livelihoods in Humanitarian Crises
in-kind food assistance

This is an evidence brief, accompanying the full systematic review on the impact of in-kind food assistance on pastoralist livelihoods in humanitarian emergencies.

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The Impact of In-Kind Food Assistance on Pastoralist Livelihoods in Humanitarian Crises
impacts of in-kind food assistance

This evidence synthesis represents the first ever attempt to identify, synthesize and evaluate existing evidence on both the short- and long-term impacts of in-kind food assistance on pastoralist populations and their livelihoods in humanitarian crises.

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

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
shelter self-recovery

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
shelter self-recovery processes

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
impact of food aid
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
household food security

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?
failings of the humanitarian system

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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Key Lessons Learned on International Engagement
international engagement

This paper explains that aid actors in South Sudan have largely failed because they applied technical solutions to political problems.

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The impact of mental health and psychosocial support programs for populations affected by humanitarian emergencies: A systematic review protocol
mental health support

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on psychosocial and mental health support in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks “What are the effects of mental health and…

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

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

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What are the practices to identify and prioritize vulnerable populations affected by urban humanitarian emergencies? A systematic review protocol
identify and prioritize populations

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on urban humanitarian action. The evidence synthesis asks, “What are the practices to identify and prioritize populations affected by urban humanitarian…

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The impact of protection interventions on unaccompanied and separated children in humanitarian crises: An evidence synthesis protocol
child protection in humanitarian crises

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on child protection in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks: “What is the impact of protection interventions on unaccompanied and separated…

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The effectiveness and efficiency of interventions supporting shelter self-recovery following humanitarian crises: An evidence synthesis protocol
shelter self-recovery processes

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on shelter in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks: “What is the evidence on the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions that…

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Relationships between recovery and relapse, and default and repeated episodes of default in the management of acute malnutrition in children in humanitarian emergencies: A systematic review protocol
acute malnutrition

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on acute malnutrition in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks: “What is the evidence on the relationship between recovery and/or cure…

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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
humanitarian action in syria
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 in Syria, cross-border operations,…

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Protection in the context of humanitarian action
protection
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
evidence appraisal
By Roxani 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
synthesizing evidence
By Roxani Krystalli, Lauren Emerson | November 2015

This briefing paper accompanies a full report on synthesizing 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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Challenges for Remote Management in Insecure Settings: Sustainability of Local Organizations and Donor Withdrawal: Second Briefing Paper from Breaking the Hourglass
remote management

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
remote management settings

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
evidence syntheses
By Kristin Bushby, Roxani Krystalli | April 2015

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
organization partnerships

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
systematic evidence synthesis
By Roxani 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
Somalia
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
Somalia crisis

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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Community-Based Animal Health Workers in the Horn of Africa An Evaluation for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance

This report describes the process and findings of an evaluation of community-based animal health workers (CAHWs) in Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. Overall, the researchers find that CAHWs continue to…

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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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The Use of Evidence in Humanitarian Decision Making ACAPS Operational Learning Paper

This paper reports the results of a study undertaken during 2012 by Tufts University for the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), as part of the latter’s “Operational Learning” strand of work….

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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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Response Analysis: What Drives Program Choice?
By Daniel Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh | August 2012

This research considers “response analysis”: the analytical process by which the objectives and modality of program response options in an emergency are determined. The research question was whether improved analysis drives program response choices in humanitarian food security interventions?

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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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Professionalising the Humanitarian Sector A Scoping Study
By Peter Walker, Catherine Russ | April 2010

This study, commissioned by the UK’s Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance project (ELRHA) and carried out by the Feinstein International Center in collaboration with RedR, comes after a…

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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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Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance

Leaders in the humanitarian community have resolved to do more to address the risks of corruption in relief efforts. Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance documents perceptions of corruption in humanitarian…

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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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Impact Assessment of the Chical Integrated Recovery Action Project, Niger
By John Burns, Omeno Suji | November 2007

This report is the outcome of an impact assessment of the ‘Chical Integrated Recovery Action Project’ an integrated livelihoods and drought mitigation intervention implemented by Africare in the Tillaberi region…

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Review of WFP Food Assistance Programming Practices in Southern Sudan

The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of…

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Humanitarian Agenda 2015: Principles, Power, and Perceptions Preliminary Report

This report summarizes the findings of the first phase of a major research project on the challenges and compromises that are likely to affect humanitarian action in the next decade….

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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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Localization of Humanitarian Action

This body of research seeks to identify the barriers and enabling factors that facilitate effective international partnerships with local and national humanitarian organizations in conflict affected countries.

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The Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis

This study seeks to understand the availability and quality of information, and the external influences on data collection and analysis for the classification of food emergencies.

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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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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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Food Security and Resilience in Somalia

This project is a major retrospective study of the 2010-2011 Somalia famine. It considers the reasons for the delayed international response, the engagement of non-western humanitarian actors, and the agency and actions of affected communities and groups in protecting their own livelihoods and lives. The project also develops interventions to build resilience in the famine-affected areas.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Our academic courses at Tufts and other institutions are a key part of our research and our mission. Our faculty teach the following courses at The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy:

  • Introduction to Research Methods (DHP D235), Spring Term, taught by Karen Jacobsen
  • Humanitarian Leadership: The Political and Policy Challenges of Being in Charge (NUTR 0329/Fletcher-D234), Spring Term, taught by Greg Gottlieb

Go to Humanitarian Education Courses at Tufts on our Education page for more related courses.