There can be no more urgent priority for humanity than addressing humanitarian need. Our new Strategy, which encapsulates our vision, values, and long-term commitments, will define our work until 2040 and see us radically focus our vision and raise our ambition for the role of research and innovation in the humanitarian system.
We have been at the forefront of humanitarian research and innovation for more than a decade. When we began, we were one of few working in these areas – now, we are one of many. This expansion is welcomed, but with it comes the responsibility to demonstrate impact.
Our new Strategy sets out how we will work with our community to realise the potential of research and innovation in response, and how we will better capture the real change and improvements to people’s lives because of those very interventions – the pioneering new approaches that have enabled research and innovation to deliver meaningful impact on humanitarian challenges; the responsible and ethical approaches that have produced research of the highest quality in some of the most challenging contexts in the world; and not only the innovations that go beyond new technologies, but the thinking and approaches that can address the socially complex lived challenges that people face during crisis.
Our collectively defined values will guide how we operate and hold ourselves accountable within the humanitarian system, as individuals, as an organisation and as an employer. These five values (putting people at the centre, working with others, acting responsibly, committed to learning and inspiring change) will drive the approaches we will use to deliver our ambition and define the way we want to engage and behave in the wider system and with each other.
Importantly, we recognise that we are one part of a much wider system, and that to deliver change we need to continue to work in partnership and collaboration with many others. Our Strategy is about sustained action to support the emergence of a collective vision for humanitarian research and innovation, and what unite us: a shared goal of finding solutions to complex humanitarian problems.
Our Strategy also acknowledges the inequities and deep- rooted challenges that we must consciously address through our work if we are serious about being part of the change we want to see. It sets out our three long-term commitments:
Finally, our Strategy establishes our clear commitment to demonstrating the impact of our work and describes how our approach to monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning is central to our mission. We are committed to ‘walk the talk’ to ensure that our own systems, processes and tools align with our values and are fit for purpose to achieve and demonstrate impact.
We know sustained change takes time, but it is vital to a system where multiple, complex and protracted crises are driving unmet needs into the hundreds of millions. We know how we can play our part, by working collaboratively with humanitarian actors, governments, and the research and innovation communities, alongside people affected by crises, to support the emergence of a collective vision for humanitarian research and innovation.
There have long been imbalances in power and privilege that have hindered a truly inclusive and equitable community. We and others must do more to bring about a truly diverse, fair and effective system of research and innovation for the benefit of all who need it.
We’re ambitious for a future that looks different. And that’s what motivates us.
We invite you to read our Strategy in full, to talk to us, to collaborate with us. We’d love to hear from you.
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