This quick video gives an insight into the change we want to see in the humanitarian sector and how we hope to get there.
Our 2019-23 strategy sets out a new ambitious direction for us. It’s outcome focused: it positions us as a key influencer, effectively coordinating our programmes, guidance and experience on research, innovation and partnerships to understand and address some of the most complex humanitarian problems.
Our new strategy is true to our guiding principles. It builds on our success and expertise and represents a responsible and exciting evolution of our work to date.
If our vision is to be realised, there needs to be a change in the way we all work:
This means: donors and governments will only want to fund humanitarian interventions that are underpinned by robust evidence, and where this is not possible due to gaps in the evidence base, they will commit to funding research to address the most critical gaps.
We want to see that the right people are equipped with the skills and knowledge to adopt ’what works’ into policy and practice.
This means: evidence and solutions will be tested in different contexts and will be accessible to the full diversity of the humanitarian community.
We want to see that the right people and the wider humanitarian community have the right motivations and incentive structures to adopt ‘what works’ into policy and practice. We also want a supportive environment for research and innovation stakeholders.
This means: the humanitarian community – from the donor to the responder – will increasingly professionalise the relationship between evidence and practice. As a result, research and innovation will become normalised within the humanitarian system, rather than be a ‘nice to have’ extra.
We want to see that the right people coordinate and adopt evidence and solutions of ‘what works’ into locally adapted guidance.
This means: system coordination mechanisms, such as the humanitarian clusters will take responsibility for supporting the access and uptake of ‘what works’ at all levels. This includes absorbing it into organisation-level guidance or ensuring adaption at local level, so guidance is consistent across the humanitarian system and responsive to those affected by humanitarian crises
We recognise that these changes are outside our direct control, but we will work in collaboration with our stakeholders to make change happen in these areas and to encourage others to support us in our mission.
Our strategy is made up of four interconnected areas of work. Collectively, they maximise the potential for research and innovation to achieve change and transform the effectiveness of humanitarian response:
We identify and prioritise the most pressing problems within humanitarian response and plan the research and innovation approaches needed to tackle them.
We will be solution-focused, even where problems are at their most complex. We will deepen our understanding around both the context of those problems and the needs of those who are affected by them. In developing new evidence and solutions, we will continue to collaborate with others so that efforts are coordinated around our key focus areas.
We invest in the right people to research, explore, develop, and test the solutions to these problems.
We will continue to fund the highest quality research and innovation programmes in the humanitarian system. We will use our experience and expertise supporting over 200 research studies and innovation projects to make sure our funded work has the highest chance of success.
We create and share practical tools and guidance based on evidence of ‘what works’.
We will systematically collect evidence on study findings and effective innovation solutions from across the humanitarian community. We will develop tools and guidance based on what we’ve learnt from carrying out research and innovation in humanitarian contexts. These will be made available in user-friendly, accessible and appropriate formats.
We empower the humanitarian community to adopt ‘what works’.
We will support projects from start to finish, focusing on ensuring maximum impact. We will engage early and regularly with key influencers and decision makers at global and national levels to ensure their involvement and commitment from the very beginning – a crucial component of success in this area.
Those ‘Four Ds’ – our primary areas of work – will lead us over the next five years. We will report against them, noting what we’ve achieved in each area and how this is affecting the changes we want to see.
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