The Humanitarian Evidence Program

Overview

Humanitarian actors and researchers have amassed evidence about the state of knowledge in the humanitarian sector, including assessments of what works and what does not work. Synthesizing this information and making it readily available to policymakers and humanitarian practitioners remains challenging. The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of reviews to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

In the tabs to the left, you can find the published systematic reviews of the evidence, each of which is accompanied by a protocol detailing the methodology and an evidence brief synthesizing key insights. You can also find the program’s guidance documents for how to map, synthesize, and critically appraise humanitarian evidence.

This initiative is a DFID-funded partnership between Oxfam and the Feinstein International Center (FIC) at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Outputs & Impact

The Humanitarian Evidence Program aims to strengthen the evidence base of humanitarian policy and practice and to enhance the availability of this evidence-based research to decision-makers. This includes, but is not limited to, the following key activities:

  • Consulting key stakeholders in the humanitarian sector to identify the key areas and questions for evidence synthesis.
  • Producing guidance for how to conduct an evidence synthesis in the humanitarian field, as well as how to appraise humanitarian evidence.
  • Publishing protocols for reviews.
  • Engaging with researchers from low- and middle-income countries to ensure diverse representation in the humanitarian conversation.
  • Making requests for proposals from humanitarian researchers and practitioners to conduct the reviews.
  • Assessing proposals and selecting researchers to carry out reviews.
  • Providing feedback on the draft evidence syntheses to ensure that the documents provide a rigorous synthesis and analysis of the evidence base for each research area.
  • Emphasizing the significance of evidence for conversations on humanitarian policy and action. The Humanitarian Evidence Program submission on this topic was quoted in the World Humanitarian Summit synthesis report.
  • Focusing on research uptake throughout the program. Final reviews will leverage existing platforms and networks in innovative ways to communicate results, spark conversation about the role of evidence-based humanitarian research, and influence policy and practice.

Evidence Briefs

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.

Karol Czuba, Ana P. Ayala, Tyler O’Neill

• March 2017
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.

Hélène Juillard, Lili Mohiddin, Marion Péchayre, Gabrielle Smith, Rebecca Lewin

• April 2017
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.

Mukdarut Bangpan, Anna Chiumento, Kelly Dickson, Felix Lambert

• March 2017
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.

Katharine Williamson, Debbie Landis, Harry Shannon, Priya Gupta, Leigh-Anne Gillespie

• March 2017
acute malnutrition in children

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

Robert Akparibo, Andrew Booth, Andrew CK Lee

• March 2017
shelter self-recovery

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

Victoria Maynard, Elizabeth Parker, John Twigg

• March 2017
WASH disease outbreak response

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

Travis Yates, Jelena Allen, Myriam Leandre Joseph, Daniele Lantagne

• March 2017
prioritize vulnerable populations

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

Ronak Patel, Jami King, Laura Phelps, David Sanderson

• March 2017

Systematic Reviews

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.

Karol Czuba, Ana P. Ayala, Tyler O’Neill

• March 2017
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.

Hélène Juillard, Lili Mohiddin, Marion Péchayre, Gabrielle Smith, Rebecca Lewin

• April 2017
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.

Mukdarut Bangpan, Anna Chiumento, Kelly Dickson, Felix Lambert

• March 2017
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?

Katharine Williamson, Debbie Landis, Harry Shannon, Priya Gupta, Leigh-Anne Gillespie

• March 2017
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.

Robert Akparibo, Andrew Booth, Andrew CK Lee

• March 2017
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.

Victoria Maynard, Elizabeth Parker, John Twigg

• March 2017
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.

Travis Yates, Jelena Allen, Myriam Leandre Joseph, Daniele Lantagne

• March 2017
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.

Ronak Patel, Jami King, Laura Phelps, David Sanderson

• March 2017

Review Protocols

impact of food aid

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

Karol Czuba, Tyler O’Neill

• March 2017
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.

Hélène Juillard, Lili Mohiddin, Marion Péchayre, Gabrielle Smith, Rebecca Vince

• March 2017
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...

Mukdarut Bangpan, Felix Lambert, Anna Chiumento, Kelly Dickson

• April 2016
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...

Katharine Williamson, Priya Gupta, Debbie Landis, Harry Shannon

• April 2016
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...

Robert Akparibo, Andrew CK Lee, Andrew Booth, Janet Harris, Helen B. Woods, Lindsay Blank, Michelle Holdsworth

• April 2016
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...

Victoria Maynard, Elizabeth Parker, John Twigg

• April 2016
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...

Travis Yates, Jelena Vijcic, Myriam Leandre Joseph, Daniele Lantagne

• April 2016
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...

Laura Phelps, David Sanderson, Jami King

• April 2016

Additional Resources

Humanitarian Evidence Synthesis: A Mapping Exercise

How has the humanitarian sector synthesized and cataloged evidence based research between 2009 and the present? The map linked below is a starting point for identifying existing evidence synthesis outputs in this field. This map has informed assessments on which topics are currently in need of evidence synthesis. It is accompanied by a memo explaining the approach to cataloging these evidence syntheses; the two documents should be read concurrently.

Catalogue of Evidence Appraisal Practices

The catalog linked below 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 but not limited to researchers, humanitarian practitioners, and policymakers. The full report helps answer the question, ‘How confident are we in the quality of evidence supporting a finding?’ The catalog contains an overview of the reviewed evidence appraisal approaches. Additionally, a briefing paper with key insights can be found here.

 

Collaboration

This program is a DFID-funded partnership between Oxfam  and the Feinstein International Center (FIC) at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Oxfam and FIC are highly-recognized and respected names in the humanitarian sector and bring a range of complementary skills, experience, and capacity to support the objectives of the program. In addition to the Oxfam-FIC team, the Program Management Board has consulted researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who engage in the humanitarian sector in a wide range of roles and who bring diverse perspectives to the conversation.

 

Video

The state of humanitarian evidence
October 2017

This is the fourth and final video as part of the Humanitarian Evidence Program webinar series. The video explores the state of humanitarian evidence through talks given by several panelists.

Shelter Self-Recovery and Urban Response
October 2017

This is the third video as part of the Humanitarian Evidence Program webinar series. The video explores what we can learn about identifying and prioritizing vulnerable people from shelter self-recovery...

The impact of WASH responses and market support interventions on disease outbreaks and food security
October 2017

The is the second video as part of the Humanitarian Evidence Program webinar series. The video explores WASH responses to disease outbreaks as well as the impact of market interventions...

What works in mental health and child protection
October 2017

The first video as part of the Humanitarian Evidence Program webinar series. The video explores the topics of mental health and child protection through talks given by several panelists.

Humanitarian Evidence Program Syntheses Launch
February 2017

In February and March 2017 the Humanitarian Evidence Program released eight syntheses of evidence. Roxanne Krystalli discusses the project, its purpose, and what people can find in the syntheses.