In 2022, an estimated 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. That’s around one in 29 people needing access to life saving aid.
The world’s most vulnerable need an effective and coordinated humanitarian response.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities globally. Extreme poverty has risen for the first time in more than 20 years, and the full impact of the economic fallout has yet to be seen. With a global recession, increasing economic pressures on all countries, and anticipated cuts to aid and humanitarian budgets, it is more critical than ever that humanitarian investments are as impactful as possible in supporting humanitarian action.
The 2016/17 Global Mapping Report reveals we’re missing knowledge of how much is spent on which areas of research and innovation.
There is a marked disparity between where those who receive and make decisions about funding are located and where research and innovation activities take place. Most research and innovation resources are provided and received by actors in the ‘Global North’.
The experience and insight of those in communities affected by crisis is vital to identify where research and innovation for humanitarian aid is most needed and resources best allocated. However, they tend to be in Low and Middle Income Countries and their input is routinely marginalised.
Our aim is to increase the impact of humanitarian research and innovation investments for communities affected by crises, by targeting resources at the most pressing problems.
Crisis-affected communities have a right to effective aid that is lifesaving, relieves suffering and promotes dignity. By targeting resources at the most pressing problems, the humanitarian community can have a bigger impact on lives.
The Global Prioritisation Exercise (GPE), which is an Elrha initiative, will improve outcomes for people affected by crisis by amplifying the impact of investments in humanitarian research and innovation.
We will do this by:
We know that countries that consistently invest in innovation, research and development (of a new product, process or service) are more productive and adaptive. Unfortunately, the spend on research and development across the humanitarian sector remains low.
The GPE will bring together major funders of research and innovation, the humanitarian community, and countries and communities affected by crisis. Together, they will identify and prioritise challenges within the system and create opportunities for positive change.
The Global Prioritisation Exercise needs expert advice and counsel to ensure its success, which is why we’ve established a Reference Group. Its members reflect a broad range of experiences and backgrounds, with a strong, proven commitment to research and innovation. They are critical to us achieving our vision of a world where people affected by crisis receive an effective and coordinated humanitarian response.
Mark is a Senior Research Associate with the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI (Overseas Development Institute).
He was previously an Assistant Secretary General in the UN serving as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan in UNAMA with responsibility on development coherence, governance, economic development, gender and rule of law. He was also concurrently appointed as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in charge of coordination of the United Nations System activities, humanitarian disaster management and development coordination. He served In Afghanistan between November 2012 and March 2017.
From April 2008 to November 2012, Mark was the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Designated Official and UNDP Resident Representative for Somalia, and was previously assigned as the Director of Civil Affairs in the UN Mission in Sudan. From 2001 to 2005, he was extensively involved in the design of humanitarian reforms as the Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Prior to his work with the UN, Mark had extensive NGO experience and worked for Save the Children for twenty years as a country director, Regional Adviser and as Africa Director.
Mark was appointed CMG in the 2017 Birthday honours for his services to Humanitarian Assistance
Ayesha is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Course Director in Global Health at St George’s University of London, and Honorary Lecturer at UCL Institute for Global Health where she co-leads a module on Conflict, Health, and Humanitarianism.
Her areas of specialisation are in culture, mental health, and trauma, focusing on humanitarian responses to gender-based violence in conflict working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.
She is currently a co-investigator on an MRC/AHRC funded project on ‘Investigating trauma therapeutic interventions using traditional story-telling in Afghanistan’. She also provides Expert Witness reports on refugee and asylum seeker immigration cases.
Profile coming soon
Adele is Partnerships and Programmes Manager, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.
She completed her doctorate in excellence in enquiry based learning, exploring dimensions of contextualised power within higher education teaching and learning environments. Educational projects have included development, piloting and assessment of European training-of-trainers for emergency medical teams, focused on operational training within low-income countries and resource-poor settings; arts-based community education in fragile contexts in Nairobi, Soweto and New Delhi; and the creation of a flexible online masters in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontiers.
Adele has worked at the University of Manchester for 17 years previously in technology-enhanced learning, curriculum development and innovation.
Giulia Balestra leads research on humanitarian innovation, technology and forced displacement at the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Service. She is interested in ethical and human rights-based approaches to digital technologies. Through her work, she seeks to reimagine what a more inclusive and just future could look like, both online and offline.
Giulia has worked for various international organizations in East Africa and Europe, providing expertise on communication, ethnographic research, product development and User Experience (UX) research and design, and project management.
She has a background in Social and Medical Anthropology and Social innovation Management.
Christina is Chief Executive Officer at Start Network, a global membership of more than 50 local, national and international aid agencies, working together to transform humanitarian action through innovation, local action and fast funding and financing.
With 20 years of experience in humanitarian policy and practice, Christina has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Sudan. Prior to joining Start, Christina led research into local humanitarian action, drove policy initiatives related to counter-terrorism, humanitarian reform, refugee livelihoods and private finance and authored ‘Time to Let go: Remaking Humanitarian Action for the Modern Era’ at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). She has also served as the Chief of Policy Analysis and Innovation at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Christina serves on the board of the Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and is a frequent writer and speaker on conflict and humanitarian aid.
Kimberly is the Head of Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation at the GSMA, a programme that works with mobile operators and humanitarian partners to accelerate the delivery and impact of digital humanitarian action.
Previously, Kimberly was the Head of Humanitarian Policy at the British Red Cross and acted as adviser to the Chairman on the organisation’s role on the Governing Board and General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
She has worked on numerous multilateral negotiations and instruments, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, the Grand Bargain (World Humanitarian Summit), the Paris Climate Agreement, the Mine Ban Treaty, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
She holds a BA in Psychology from UBC (Vancouver), a MA in International Development Studies and Political Science from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok), and in 2020 completed an Executive MBA at the London Business School
At the ICRC, Nan works on some of the most interesting initiatives in humanitarian action. She served in Bosnia with the International Rescue Committee, subsequently led the Sphere Project, worked for UNHCR, served as International Director of the American Red Cross and as the Executive Director of International Council of Voluntary Agencies. She received the Global Leadership in Emergency Public Health award from the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine; was a Champions of Change (Obama administration); served 5 years as the Steering Committee Chair of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP). In 2019 Nan joined the Grand Challenges Canada Program Advisory Board; in 2020 became a founding member of the Geneva Innovation Movement Association and in 2021 served on the MSF Scientific Days editorial committee. Her Master’s in Public Administration is from Harvard University.
Tom is Executive Director and co-founder of Shelter Centre, an NGO which provides a central focus for humanitarian shelter and its global community of practice. He specialises in shelter, settlement and reconstruction and has operational experience in both conflicts and disasters in Africa, Asia and Europe for agencies such as FCDO (DFID), IOM, MSF, Oxfam, UNHCR and the World Bank.
He also founded Aidworld Humanitarian Information Communication Technologies and the Humanitarian Library project. He has lectured on humanitarian shelter and reconstruction at the universities of Barcelona, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Coventry, Geneva and York. Tom holds a PhD in Architecture from King’s College, University of Cambridge
For the past 20 years, Kelly David has been leading diverse local, national and international teams to prepare and respond to the humanitarian effects of conflict and natural disasters throughout West, East and Southern Africa. As the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Strategic Planning, Evaluation and Guidance Section, she has also been extensively involved in strategic planning, corporate performance monitoring, enterprise risk management, policy development and evaluation.
She presently chairs the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation (IAHE) Steering Group. As such, she managed the first ever systemwide evaluations of: the gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in emergencies; the humanitarian response to multiple recurrent droughts, year on year, in Ethiopia; and of the new scale-up procedures for major crises, in the responding to Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
She is presently leading the systemwide evaluation of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining the UN, Ms. David was a journalist for major regional and national dailies in the US, including The Los Angeles Times and Newsday.
Profile coming soon
Juliano is Head of Studies, Humanitarian Affairs, at Save the Children, where he has co-authored books including ‘Making lives: Refugee self-reliance and humanitarian action in cities’ and ‘The echo chamber: Results, management, and the humanitarian effectiveness agenda’.
He is also an editor of the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, a visiting researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and an honorary research fellow for the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Unit at University of Manchester. He is one of the editors of the forthcoming book, ’Amidst the Debris: Humanitarianism and the End of Liberal Order’. Prior to joining Save the Children, Juliano worked for several years as a researcher on the politics of conflict and development with think tanks, academic institutions, NGOs and the UN.
Aimee presently serves within Save the Children’s Asia Regional Humanitarian Operations team.
Her commitments to advocating for the dignity and rights of those underserved were formed in her years working alongside communities in the Global South. She’s a Singaporean with management experience across multiple continents, and has shaped her perspectives on praxis in the sector serving with civil society groups/ NGOs. Prior to Save the Children, she provided leadership for the implementation and coordination of a multi-sector relief and emergency response in Afghanistan with INGO Medair. Having worked in multiple protracted conflict settings, Aimee is particularly invested in GPE’s outcomes within the realms of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
Aimee holds an MA in International Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame and BA from Gettysburg College.
Dorothea is Professor of Humanitarian Studies at ISS/EUR, where she focuses on aid-society relations, and how aid is embedded in the context and shaped by actors in and around programmes for protection, service delivery and capacity development. She has a special interest in the intersections of humanitarianism with development, peacebuilding and gender-relations.
Dorothea’s research programmes have taken place in settings affected by disaster, conflict and fragility, including Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka. Author of several publications including ‘Disaster Risk Reduction and protracted violent conflict. The case of Afghanistan’ and Government and civil society organizations: Close but comfortable?’, her work focuses on the everyday practices of humanitarian aid, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, reconstruction and peace building. She currently heads an ERC advanced grant project on humanitarian governance.
Dorothea is also President of the International Humanitarian Studies Association and Honorary Director of Creged – Centre de Recherche et d’Expertise en Genre et Développement
Chris manages the Humanitarian Grand Challenge programme, which finds and accelerates life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. The programme is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with support from Grand Challenges Canada.
Previously, Chris worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia and Pakistan as a Logistician, a Project Coordinator, and a Deputy Head of Mission. He served on the board of directors of MSF Canada, worked for the Canadian Red Cross in Lebanon and Nepal evaluating and overseeing health projects and managed logistics and operational support for World Health Organisation in Yemen. He also co-founded kid-E-care paediatric urgent care clinic in Toronto and teaches the Complex Humanitarian Emergencies module at University of Toronto’s Global Health Education Initiative.
Grace is a development practitioner with 20 years’ experience in conflict-sensitive development approaches, project management, capacity strengthening of civil society institutions and rights-based humanitarian influencing.
She joined the ActionAid Federation in 2015, and is currently serving in the role of Local Humanitarian Partnerships Advisor within the International Humanitarian and Resilience Team (IHART). In this role, Grace leads the implementation commitments on meaningful partnerships between ActionAid federation members and humanitarian partners, focusing on promoting women-led localisation across the federation, and with programme projects in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somaliland, Kenya, Myanmar, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine (Gaza).
More recently she has lead on the participation of ActionAid and women-led organization partners in global and African humanitarian platforms that include the Grand Bargain, the Feminist Humanitarian Network, the Localisation Task team of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender Based Violence in Emergencies and the Charter for Change.
Profile coming soon
Bijay Kumar is the Executive Director of GNDR. He leads the Secretariat and represents the Secretariat on the Global Board.
Bijay has a long track record in humanitarian and development work, particularly in DRR. He has considerable expertise in leading and managing civil society organisations and networks, gained through hands-on experience working in Africa, Europe, South Asia & South East Asia.
Bijay is a strong advocate of shifting power from the international system to community led capacities, preparedness and response facilitated by the local organisations. He is also a passionate promoter of Human Rights and ‘people power’, both in policy advocacy and implementation.
Profile coming soon
Mohammed is Regional Director, Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). He has over 30 years of experience in humanitarian operations management, development work, representation, and strategic leadership.
In his previous role as IFRC’s Deputy Regional Director in the Asia Pacific, he led programmes on disaster risk reduction, community resilience, climate change management, agriculture, food security, nutrition, community-driven development, livelihoods, National Society development and capacity building. Mohammed has also held leadership roles in IFRC offices in Iran, Kenya, Pakistan, Beirut and Geneva Headquarters.
Prior to joining IFRC, Mohammed worked at the Ministry of Agriculture in Sudan, the Sudanese Red Crescent, Save the Children – Canada, Action Aid – UK, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Cranfield Disaster Preparedness Centre at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom.
Promise Nduku is a researcher at the Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) based at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds an MCom development economics degree from the University of Johannesburg and is currently pursuing a PhD in health economics at the same institution.
His work involves conducting, supporting, and planning external and internal empirical research concerning evidence-informed decision-making, including evidence syntheses, evidence networks, mechanisms for evidence use, among others. He has been involved in the production of more than 15 evidence synthesis products including evidence maps and systematics reviews across different sectors.
An ardent supporter of embracing sustainable development, particularly inclusive growth, as an effective tool for poverty and inequality reduction. He is enthusiastic about continuously learning new ways to contribute to poverty and inequality reduction. Not only is Promise passionate about health, education, and development, but he is also a budding urban agriculturist. His passion project includes growing a vegetable patch at his Johannesburg home.
Profile coming soon
Nathalie currently serves as a Senior Innovation Officer at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
Previously she led the design and development of Oxfam Iraq Response Innovation Lab Programme to identify, support and fund innovative interventions within the Iraq Response. Nathalie was the Grants Manager at Handicap International – Humanity and Inclusion office in Iraq, where she supported the Iraq office with identifying funding opportunities and preparing concept notes and project proposals.
Between 2011 and 2018, Nathalie held multiple positions with Energy 4 Impact, a British International NGO operating in the Energy & Climate Change sector, supporting innovative small and medium enterprises accelerate access to clean and affordable energy in Africa.
Nathalie holds an MSc in Finance from University of Strathclyde, and she has a great passion for international development.
Kevin has been working in humanitarian research and learning at World Vision International (WVI) since 2008. In his current role, Kevin directs global research efforts within WVI’s humanitarian programmes, working with technical units, communities of practice, and senior leadership to identify knowledge gaps in strategic areas, developing corresponding research agenda, and building relationships with external research institutes to foster long-term partnerships for shared research.
He has previously worked with organisations including Overseas Development Institute (ODI), International Rescue Committee and Act Today (ACTED) and holds a MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development, Political Economy from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Max leads the global RIL initiative, a collaboration of leading humanitarian NGOs that operates a network of field-based innovation support platforms. RIL Country Labs foster partnerships that develop, pilot and scale innovations that overcome context-specific problems or barriers to the delivery of aid and community recovery or resilience.
Max previously served as Save the Children’s representative on the RIL Executive Committee. Before joining RIL full time, he was the Humanitarian Program Quality and Development Director for Save the Children US as well as the designated Humanitarian Innovation Champion. He has experience across strategic planning, emergency preparedness, programme monitoring and coordinating emergency responses. Max has also held senior positions with UNICEF in Madagascar and Palladium Group, AIDSRelief and Catholic Relief Services in the Caribbean.
Currently based in UNICEF’s Office of Research, Innocenti in Florence, Gavin is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and portfolio of humanitarian research for children and adolescents in humanitarian and fragile settings. Gavin began his career in 1994 in research and postgraduate teaching in GIS and Remote Sensing applications at Cranfield University in the UK, seconded as Deputy Director at the National Soil Resources Institute of England and Wales in 2005, Senior Research Fellow and Manager of the applied remote sensing and GIS unit at Cranfield University from 2006. He then joined the Haiti earthquake response in 2010, and then other missions, before formally joining UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes in 2012, where he co-chaired and led several UN/inter-agency groups on information management platforms, decision support, performance monitoring for emergency coordination and, more recently (2019) on disability inclusion
The Global Prioritisation Exercise is so important because by investing strategically in research and innovation, we can accelerate the change needed to improve the lives of people affected by crisis. The world’s most vulnerable need an effective and coordinated humanitarian response.
There are no current opportunities available.
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