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As part of our HIF programme’s focus area on the inclusion of people with disabilities and older people in humanitarian action, we want to support projects that address the most pressing issues in this area.  We’ve worked with the research team leading our Gap Analysis (to be published in July) and our Technical Working Group to determine what some of these issues are and what the main focus of our new Challenge should be.

Inclusive preparedness emerged as an important and neglected area of humanitarian action, while meaningful participation came up as a significant gap to address to increase inclusion in the humanitarian sector.

As a result, we’ve created two new Innovation Challenges that focus on these problem areas:

Challenge One: Increasing the Meaningful Participation of People with Disabilities and Older People in Humanitarian Action

Why focus on meaningful participation?

The humanitarian sector has long acknowledged that the participation of people affected by crises in all stages of humanitarian programming can improve accountability and the quality of humanitarian assistance, as well as strengthen the resilience and capacity of those affected by crises. Though this need for participation is known, and some progress has been made to increase participation, there is still a way to go before these practices become mainstream in humanitarian settings.

Where participation does take place it often builds on pre-existing structures and representatives that can exclude the most marginalised and vulnerable, such as older people and people with disabilities. The lack of inclusive mechanisms for participation means that people with disabilities and older people often face a range of barriers to participating in decision-making for programmes and activities that directly affect them.

To enable sustainable mainstreaming of any inclusive mechanisms for participation, any proposed solutions will need to be backed up by evidence of their effectiveness. It is important that the definition of what an ‘effective’ mechanism is, is defined by older people and people with disabilities.

What is the Innovation Challenge?

We are looking for innovative mechanisms to increase the meaningful participation of people with disabilities and older people in humanitarian action, and innovative ways of assessing the effectiveness of these mechanisms.

Meaningful participation means that people with disabilities and older people are able to participate fully and effectively in decision-making, and in the processes for designing, developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating humanitarian programmes, policies and interventions, as relevant. It should result in participation being an individual choice and not limited by barriers including cultural, identity, attitudinal, physical, communication or legal/policy barriers.

We have a total budget of £900,000 available for this Challenge. From this, we envisage funding a selection of projects with varying budgets, generally between £150,000 and £300,000.

All applicants must be led by, or be in partnership with, an Organisation for Person’s with Disability and/or an Older Person’s Association working in the place of implementation. As well as a operational humanitarian organisation.

Challenge Two: Supporting the humanitarian community to explore how inclusive preparedness can enable inclusive humanitarian response

Why focus on inclusive preparedness?

Despite the benefits of preparedness, people with disabilities and older people are frequently excluded from humanitarian preparedness activities even though they are among the most at risk, vulnerable and marginalised during and after humanitarian crises.

Evidence has shown that only 15% of people with disabilities in communities affected by crises had participated in disaster management activities, and that 72% of people with disabilities did not have a personal preparedness plan in the event of a disaster.

Though there are examples of good practice, the rights, knowledge and agency of people with disabilities and older people are too often overlooked during preparedness activities. This increases the risk that they will be excluded and overlooked in humanitarian response, and consequently be disproportionately affected by the impacts of crisis.

A better understanding of how inclusive preparedness impacts inclusive response will be valuable for the humanitarian sector, ultimately highlighting where additional efforts – and innovation – are most needed.

What is the Innovation Challenge?

We are looking to support the humanitarian community to explore how inclusive preparedness can enable inclusive humanitarian response, from the perspectives and experiences of people with disabilities, older people, and representative organisations. We are looking to fund a selection of projects at the Problem Recognition stage in different humanitarian settings.

Successful projects will use highly participatory and inclusive research methods to generate new and deeper understanding of how people with disabilities and older people are included in humanitarian preparedness; review, synthesise and analyse available evidence to understand the effectiveness and limitations of existing inclusive preparedness approaches in a given context; and build on the participatory research and evidence review to produce recommendations and opportunities for innovation.

We have a total budget of £300,000 available for this Challenge. From this, we envisage funding a selection of projects with varying budgets, generally between £50,000 and £75,000.

All applicants must be led by, or be in partnership with, an Organisation for Person’s with Disability and/or an Older Person’s Association working in the place of implementation. As well as an operational humanitarian organisation.

I’m interested! What’s next?

When will I be able to apply?

The Innovation Challenges will open on Wednesday 8 July, with all the information on our Funding Opportunities page, including their purpose, aim and eligibility criteria.

Is there anything I can do before the Innovation Challenges open?

These Innovation Challenges are now open.

We want to strongly encourage applicants from regions affected by crisis. If this applies to you or your organisation, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions

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