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

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
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We are delighted to announce the winners of our innovation initiative, ‘Accelerating the Journey to Scale’, who have been selected to receive funding, mentoring and tailored support over a two-year period.

This initiative, supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, began in April when we identified nine cutting-edge innovations that were ready to scale and supported these teams in refining and strengthening their scaling strategies at our three-day Innovation Retreat held in the summer. The final proposals that resulted from this process were reviewed by our Scale Funding Committee which is made up of representatives from both our Funding Committee and Board, before the final decision was made.

The three winners have the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of people affected by crises, while representing a tremendous opportunity to bring about widespread and sustained transformative change in the longer-term. Each project is deeply rooted in the empowerment of local people affected by crises.

Each team face a different scaling challenge: deploying new technology in different contexts, establishing methods of replicating programmes, and pioneering new markets. Whatever the route to scale chosen, we will help these innovations grow, and we believe the combination of will contribute greatly towards the body of knowledge on scaling humanitarian innovations.


Field Ready

‘Manufacturing Humanitarian Supplies in the Field’ works with local communities to identify product requirements, and manufacture critical items at the point of need using design and manufacturing technology such as 3D printers. Field Ready’s projected pathway to scale involves an initial ‘scale up’ investment to increase the number of deployments building on their successes in Haiti and Nepal working with partners to create, iterate and certify new designs and techniques. With more deployments to generate core costs, the next phase will ‘scale out’ capabilities by developing distributed manufacturing techniques. Then, they will develop distributed manufacturing capabilities, including easy-to-use small manufacturing kits that are funded, licenced or sold to produce larger and larger quantities of certain categories of ‘field ready’-certified supplies.

Hear from the team:

view their profile  


Panzi Foundation

‘Healing in Harmony’ aims heal to traumatised individuals and populations through writing, recording, and professionally producing songs about their experiences, transforming pain to power. The first phase of Panzi’s scaling strategy is to refine and develop the methodology of their solidarity-based affiliate partnership approach, and to generate further evidence to support its replication in different contexts. In the second phase, Panzi hope to scale up this project to dozens of health centres and institutions throughout Congo, and to be ready to test their methodology and model in sites outside of Congo.

Hear from the team:

View their profile


Translators Without Borders

‘Words of Relief’ aims to enable local communities to better communicate with relief workers, so they can provide and receive information on the challenges they face. TWB’s pathway to scale involves developing the platform to meet emergent needs (such as on-the-ground interpretation and voice capabilities), developing new and more effective outlets for disseminating vital information directly to affected populations, promoting increased use of the platform across a broader spectrum of humanitarian NGOs, and implementing a new business model to ensure the long-term sustainability of its services.

Hear from the team:

View their profile


We feel extremely privileged to have engaged with nine brilliant innovation teams during this process, and having observed the incredible energy and enthusiasm of those present at our Retreat, we are looking at ways to foster this community of practice. While we could only fund three projects, we hope to engage everyone interested in this area of work in continued efforts to collaborate and share learning.

This is just the beginning of two years of work dedicated to scaling. We’re looking forward to supporting the three teams chosen to overcome the challenges ahead, and we look forward to our own journey towards a better understanding of what works in taking humanitarian innovations to scale.

Keep up to date with the latest news and follow the journey with us online using #journeytoscale.


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