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Integrating evidence on the priorities, needs and perceptions of refugees and IDPs is essential to ensure that public health responses to disease outbreaks are effective and make best use of scarce humanitarian resources. Yet in practice, producing, translating, and integrating such evidence in health responses can be challenging. 

Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crisis (R2HC) programme funded some of the first rigorous research on COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts, with a focus on rapid knowledge translation and uptake of learning by humanitarian actors. This discussion aimed to share what they learned about the needs and priorities of people affected by crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic and previous Ebola outbreak responses, exploring how this evidence can better inform humanitarian and public health programme and policy adaptations. 

What was discussed? 

We shared findings and lessons learned from several R2HC-supported research-practice partnerships working in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Bangladesh; Lebanon, Zimbabwe; and Democratic Republic of Congo, during both COVID-19 and previous Ebola outbreaks. Speakers considered the following questions: 

  • How has COVID-19 affected the needs and priorities of people living in crisis settings?  
  • How did evidence on needs and priorities of communities inform programme adaptations during COVID-19 and the Ebola outbreak, and how successful have adaptations based on community inputs been?  
  • How is evidence on community needs and priorities practically applied to the response? How is evidence shared with decision-makers? 
  • What new tools, approaches show potential for information gathering on needs and priorities? 
  • What concerns remain? Are there outstanding evidence gaps that need to be addressed?  

Speakers

Jess Camburn

CEO

Jess Camburn

CEO

As Elrha’s CEO, Jess has developed and led the organisation from its early beginnings in 2009 to its place today as a leading global actor in humanitarian research and innovation. Jess works closely with our Board of Trustees and leadership team to ensure we have the vision, strategy, talent and experience to deliver transformative results in humanitarian action.

Jess serves on a number of strategic Boards for UK research and innovation, including the UKs Disaster Research Group, and the Strategic Advisory Group for the Global Challenge Research Fund.

Jess is passionate about challenging the lack of investment in research and innovation in the humanitarian system, and is committed to working with others to make sure the the challenges faced by people affected by crises get the attention they need, so they can be addressed by the very best that global science, research and innovation can offer. Jess drives Elrha to explore and demonstrate how meaningful partnerships between people affected by crises and scientific and innovative communities can become transformative agents of change and ultimately realise their right to humanitarian action informed by evidence of what works.

Katie Rickard

Director of REACH for IMPACT initiatives

Katie Rickard

Director of REACH for IMPACT initiatives

Katie is currently working as the Director of REACH for IMPACT initiatives, previously having worked as the Director of Country Programmes and Operations and the Head of Programmes for Africa and Europe at IMPACT HQ. In her HQ role Katie oversaw over 15 countries, conducting several country missions. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia are some from the 15 countries she was focused on. Previously Katie also worked as a Country Coordinator in South Sudan in several research positions with REACH in the Middle East. Prior to joining REACH, Katie worked for the OSCE, conducting research, including country visits in Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo. 

Nour Shawaf

Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Oxfam Lebanon

Nour Shawaf

Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Oxfam Lebanon

Nour joined Oxfam in 2013 and is currently the Humanitarian Programme Coordinator in Lebanon. She works in protection, policy, research and programme management in Lebanon and the region. Nour holds a Master of Arts in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is passionate about raising the voices of marginalized populations through participatory methods in research and programming. 

Raissa Azzalini

Community Perceptions Tracker Coordinator, Oxfam

Raissa Azzalini

Community Perceptions Tracker Coordinator, Oxfam

Raissa worked for more than 20 years in the Public Health Humanitarian sector responding and coordinating Public Health Promotion responses in various contexts and countries with Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). She supported their first established Global Public Health Promotion team when it became evident that more expertise was needed to the soft component of WASH responses. In 2010, Raissa joined Oxfam as a surge capacity for emergency responses before being a Public Health Adviser in the Global Humanitarian Team. She is passionate about community engagement and how programme quality should be improved in humanitarian responses and therefore is leading on the Oxfam Community Perception Tracker approach. 

Gillian McKay

Research Fellow & DrPH Candidate, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Gillian McKay

Research Fellow & DrPH Candidate, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Gillian McKay, MScPH, BSN, RN is a social scientist with a specialty in primary and secondary impacts of outbreaks of infectious disease.  She is currently finishing her DrPH at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on community engagement in Ebola. Gillian has worked with organizations such as WHO, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and others in her 10+ years in humanitarian response. 

Ngonidzashe (Ngoni) Macdonald Nyambawaro

Inter-Agency Country Support Officer, Eastern and Southern Africa, Collective Service for Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE)

Ngonidzashe (Ngoni) Macdonald Nyambawaro

Inter-Agency Country Support Officer, Eastern and Southern Africa, Collective Service for Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE)

Ngoni is the Regional RCCE Surge Coordinator of East and Southern Africa Collective Services. He holds a Bsc Psychology, Msc Strategic Management, MPH degree and is PHD candidate. Ngonidzashe has taken part in managing complex emergencies in Ethiopia, Eswatini, Iraq, Liberia, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  He is currently working in the ESAR region as RCCE Country surge support based in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Fatima Osman

Head of Learning & Change at FCDO's Monitoring & Evaluation of the Somalia Humanitarian, Resilience & Health Programme (MESH)

Fatima Osman

Head of Learning & Change at FCDO's Monitoring & Evaluation of the Somalia Humanitarian, Resilience & Health Programme (MESH)

Fatima Osman specialises in M&E, Reporting, Adaptive Learning and Research across multiple sectors, including Governance/Democracy, Climate Change, Social Accountability, Gender, Livelihoods, Health, WASH, Conflict and Education programming. She is currently the Learning and Change Management Pillar Lead for FCDO’s humanitarian MEL partner in Somalia-MESH II, the Monitoring and Evaluation for Somalia Health and Resilience Programme. Fatima is an ardent believer in the power of information but only if it is backed up by appropriate action; she also has a deep fascination with water bodies and believes that her true calling is sailing and marine conservation. 

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