Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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As part of the 2021 Humanitarian Leadership Conference and its focus on decolonising the humanitarian ecosystem, we co-organised and participated in a panel that  discussed how community-led innovation can challenge inequity and contribute to the decolonisation of humanitarian aid.

Against a backdrop of global protests over racism and inequity, the humanitarian and development sector is facing a reckoning about its role in colonisation and racism. How the sector approaches transferring power to, and building genuine partnerships with, national, subnational, and community organisations is an important consideration as it seeks to address inequity and power imbalances.

The objective of this panel was to explore evidence and experience of decolonising aid through community-led innovation from a multi-stakeholder perspective.


Don't worry. Based on the discussion, we have pulled together a blog that seeks to summarise the 'key takeaways'. As soon as a recording is available, we'll share it on this event page.

Read the key takeaways


The panellists were:

The panel was moderated by Hannah Reichardt, of the Start Network, in the UK.

Some of the questions explored

The panel brought global and community perspectives together to look at the role of communities as humanitarians. They asked:

  • What role can innovation play in making humanitarian aid more community-led and contextually relevant?
  • What barriers have they witnessed and experienced when seeking to drive community-led humanitarian work?
  • What are the solutions to these barriers, based on their experiences and evidence?
  • How can the role of communities in humanitarian aid be re-conceptualised through innovation to build more acceptable and effective solutions?
  • How can INGOs shift power and build genuine partnerships?
  • What are the panel’s concrete recommendations for the sector?


Humanitarian actors interested in learning about and contributing to community-led humanitarian action and decolonising aid or learning about best practices and evidence so far in our partnership.


The 2021 Humanitarian Leadership Conference is a two-day online event packed with panels, workshops and presentations aimed at challenging, exploring and developing a new dialogue and understanding around the real humanitarians and how we can approach current challenges through systemic change.

You can find out more here.

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