We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

We drive greater investment and coordination for research and innovation

Cover photo from ODI’s publication on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. Photo Credit: Patrick Meinhardt/International Medical Corp.

Why we do this

The humanitarian community lacks evidence-based solutions that can meet the increasing scale and complexity of humanitarian need. Sectors that invest in research and innovation are proven to be more effective and adaptive than those that don’t, and the humanitarian sector should be no different. But current estimates suggest that less than 0.4% of humanitarian financing is allocated to research and innovation.

Creating a humanitarian system that is truly able to respond to crises requires us to urgently increase the funding for, and build better alliances with, communities of research and innovation.

What we do

We coordinate and drive collective global action to support the identification of research and innovation gaps, needs and priorities.

We work on this at a global level through our Global Prioritisation Exercise. This will provide public visibility of the range of global investments, capacity and activity in humanitarian research and innovation. From this, shared priorities for further investment and action will be identified and developed.

We also achieve greater coordination at a thematic level through our work on humanitarian public health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), gender-based violence (GBV), and scaling innovation.

Photo Credit: Elrha

What we’ve achieved

  • We launched our Global Prioritisation Exercise at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016, providing a global platform for our call for greater coordination.
  • We published our global mapping exercise in 2017, setting out for the first time a detailed baseline of global humanitarian research and innovation. The data reveals a rich community of 825 research and/or innovation actors supported by over 200 funders of humanitarian research and/or innovation.
  • We held a high-level donor meeting to raise awareness of the global mapping findings and to facilitate support and engagement for the next stage of work to identify clear global priorities for humanitarian research and innovation.
  • We conducted two gap analyses in humanitarian WASH and GBV, working in close partnership with the Global WASH Cluster and the GBV Call to Action. We’ve gone on to address the identified gaps and priorities through coordinated innovation challenges.
  • We have undertaken and published a systematic review of the humanitarian public health evidence base. Our Humanitarian Health Evidence Review (HEER) identified 133 quality papers between 1990-2013. We’re already contributing to this limited body of evidence through an additional 78 papers published in reputable journals such as the Lancet, BMJ Global Health, and JAMA. We’re also advocating for, and working with, our funding partners to fund new research to address the clear evidence gaps.

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