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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 build communities of practice

Why we do this

The humanitarian innovation and research agendas are rarely integrated into humanitarian architecture or response. Their role and importance in improving humanitarian response is relatively new and needs to be better networked and supported.

QRCS team and beneficiaries examining the 'Smart Bucket', a practical solution that ensures handwashing and making use of soap water for discharge. Photo Credit: Suleiman Al Sumairy.

Partnering with communities of practice provides strategic opportunities to advance our collective agendas:

  • We inform key communities about our available funding
  • We encourage the identification of priority research topics and feed these up the chain into research agendas.
  • We collectively identify the best pathways to impact.
  • We facilitate discussion on how new guidance and tools can be incorporated into humanitarian response.
First use of Oxfam's new handwashing station for Burundian mother Bigeme Nadia, aged 23 with 1 year old son Frigasi. Photo Credit: Joel Trotter/Oxfam.

What we do

We bring together those engaged in research and innovation in certain key areas and broker relationships with others both inside and outside the sector.

We connect research and innovation and make that combination central to addressing humanitarian problems and crises.

"Collaboration and partnership, including with people affected by crisis, improves the quality, impact and uptake of research and innovation." - our guiding principle #5

What we’ve achieved

We’ve built and supported communities of practice at multiple levels: global, thematic and crisis-focused:

The team developing ‘EbolaCheck’, a point-of-need diagnostic device suitable for simple, rapid and safe patient triage at treatment centres anywhere in West Africa. Photo Credit: University of Westminster.


Our Humanitarian Innovation Forum in June 2018 was a one-day, high-profile event in Brussels, which included representation from across the sector. Our event explored the critical gaps in innovation skills and capability. It addressed cross-cutting challenges (measuring impact, standards and principles for ethical innovation, and meaningful engagement of populations affected by crises). We used the Forum as our opportunity to launch our Humanitarian Innovation Guide – our evolving online resource that helps individuals and organisations define humanitarian problems and successfully develop innovative solutions.

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


We convened a workshop in Geneva with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies (MHPSS) community, sharing information about MHPSS projects funded through our public health research programme (our R2HC). The workshop enabled responders to share challenges in maintaining quality standards when implementing new MHPSS interventions in the field. This led to us co-editing a Special Edition of ODI’s Humanitarian Exchange magazine, which included articles from many of the participants at the Geneva workshop. The publication showcases the innovative approaches that are being adopted in humanitarian contexts to support individuals suffering from mental health and psychosocial problems.

Adaptation and Evaluation of a Disaster Mental Health Intervention for Earthquake Survivors in Kathmandu Valley. Credit: University of Colorado


We’ve worked with the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN) and the Centre for Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines to look at earthquake awareness at a local level. The aim has been to mobilise the humanitarian innovation community around major predicted earthquake events, using the latest innovation management methods and tools to mitigate the impact of the disaster if and when it occurs.

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