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

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Eight projects addressing gender-based violence and the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities were presented as part of our Innovation Showcase at HNPW 2024.

As part of this year’s Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) we hosted an online webinar showcasing a series of innovations in Protection Sector programming, specifically gender-based violence (GBV) and inclusion of persons with disability and older persons.

The webinar highlighted eight innovations supported through our Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), including tools for safer programming, assessment and monitoring and evaluating frameworks that orient programmes towards more inclusive programming and better outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises.

We invited innovators to present their work, share successes and lessons learnt, and to shine a light on new approaches developed through the innovation process.

Read more about the innovations below and watch the presentations.

1. Participatory Research: Practical guidelines for co-researching with people with disabilities

Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Indonesia and the Philippines, Center for Health Policy and Management, and the Working Group of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in Central Sulawesi.

There is a systemic lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian response, even though they face disproportionate risks in disasters. People with disabilities have no voice in shaping the direction of research nor in making sure the research outcome benefits them.

This innovation is a set of practical guidelines for co-researching with people with disabilities. Aimed at researchers and humanitarian actors, the guidelines are based on evidence of what works, and what doesn’t, in participatory research. It means future research practices can prioritise the meaningful involvement of people with disabilities at all stages.

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2. Sensemaking

International Organization for Migration and Queen’s University, Canada.

Millions of women and girls experience GBV in humanitarian contexts. GBV programming is essential to prevention, mitigation and to supporting survivors. However, it has been difficult to safely, ethically and efficiently collect data to inform programming using traditional data collection methods.

Sensemaking uses storytelling to encourage people to speak freely and openly about aspects of their life, their community and the world we live in. It aims to create a nuanced snapshot capturing individual and collective experiences of a humanitarian issue. And it avoids many of the risks and limitations associated with traditional data collection approaches.

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3. The Inclusive Humanitarian Program

Paris School of Economics, Harvard University, Addis Ababa University and Partnership For Pastoralists Development Association (PAPDA).

Workplace gender bias takes many forms and can influence policies, processes and decision-making, as well as the work environment and culture. Despite the fact that 57% of humanitarian practitioners report experiencing gender bias at work, individual-level and organisationallevel gender biases in the sector have not been well studied or addressed.

The Inclusive Humanitarian Program builds practitioners’ awareness and skills in addressing gender bias. It aims to change norms and attitudes and catalyse gender equitable work environments in which gender bias has no place. The innovation consists of individual-level training and an organisational-level scenario-based intervention focusing on the seven areas of the humanitarian workplace where gender bias occurs.

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4. Training for Wheelchair Provision in Disaster and Emergency Settings

Motivation, Humanity and Inclusion, and Johanniter International Assistance.

More than 15 million displaced people in the world will be disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency and conflict situations because they are disabled. The barriers, including mobility issues, that disabled people face are often not considered in evacuation, response and recovery efforts.

The Emergency Response Wheelchair Training package prepares emergency response teams to be ready to quickly meet the immediate needs of large numbers of people who rely on wheelchairs. It teaches humanitarian and other non-clinical staff to safely assemble, prescribe and fit wheelchairs and to pass on basic wheelchair skills to users.

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5. Making Progress Visible

The Global Women’s Institute, Trócaire; the Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility Minimum Standards Task Team, Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (Myanmar), and The Organization for Children Harmony (South Sudan).

An estimated one-in-three women and girls experience GBV, and the risk often increases in a humanitarian setting. There are inter-agency standards in place to guide humanitarian agencies in addressing this, but agencies haven’t been able to properly measure the extent to which they’re meeting them.

The Making Progress Visible project improves the usability of the minimum standards indicators. It enables humanitarian agencies to easily see gaps in their service provision, skills shortages and other problems that hinder their ability to prevent and respond to GBV effectively.

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6. Building Evidence on Integrating Cash and Voucher Assistance Within Gender-Based Violence Case Management

CARE Ecuador, CARE USA, Women’s Refugee Commission; Centro Ecuatoriano para la Promoción y Acción de la Mujer (CEPAM), Unión Nacional de Trabajadoras del Hogar y Afines (UNTHA), and Fundación Mujer & Mujer.

Migrant and refugee women, girls and LGBTQI+ people are vulnerable to intimate partner violence. Cash and Voucher Assistance provides funds to help displaced survivors meet urgent costs safely, flee an abusive relationship and access temporary accommodation, services, food and clothing. But the humanitarian community is yet to fully and consistently integrate this into GBV case management.

The Cash-Integrated GBV Case Management Program makes funds available to migrant, refugee and local populations that have been subjected to intimate partner violence. It equips these people to access relevant services relating to their most pressing needs, opening up new life possibilities.

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7. The Veivanua Project

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, World Vision Vanuatu, and Vanuatu Society for People with Disability.

The humanitarian sector has started to take account of the menstrual health and hygiene needs of women and girls with disabilities, but those with intellectual disabilities haven’t yet been considered. They face the same challenges, but often need more holistic, customised support.

The Veivanua Project was a campaign to help women and girls with intellectual disabilities, and their carers, understand and manage menstruation. They were given a ‘period pack’ containing menstrual materials and a menstrual calendar. Also included was a doll (‘Veivanua’) and a visual story about Veivanua menstruating for the first time.

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8. Digital Storytellers for Social Change (DiSSC)

words. rhythms. images. and Aryan Group.

Vulnerable communities all over the world live with daily humanitarian challenges. These people have important messages to convey about their experiences, but they don’t have a simple way of getting their stories heard by the people and organisations equipped to effect change.

Digital Storytellers for Social Change (DiSSC) is a video-making method that helps people use smartphones to capture and convey the issues impacting them and their communities. Community members are trained to identify local problems and package these stories as short, powerful videos that reach decision-makers and bring about social change.

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Get in touch with us

If you’re interested in adopting any of the showcased innovations or would like to reach out to the project teams, please get in touch via

Stay up to date with more of our showcases and events by signing up to our newsletter.

You can also watch the full webinar recording below.

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