Turkey and Syria earthquake: evidence-based innovations and guidance for acute crisis response.

We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...
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Aim: to improve outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by identifying, nurturing and sharing more effective and scalable solutions.

The HIF is a globally-recognised programme leading on the development and testing of innovation in the humanitarian system. Established in 2011, it was the first of its kind: an independent, grant-making programme open to the entire humanitarian community. It now leads the way in funding, supporting, and managing innovation at every stage of the innovation process.

The HIF’s portfolio of funded projects has informed a more detailed understanding of what successful innovation looks like, and what it can achieve for the humanitarian community. This work is leading the global conversation on innovation in humanitarian response.

2018-2020 Programme Strategy

This document sets out a new strategic direction and priorities for the HIF for 2018-2020. It is informed by an independent Evaluation of the HIF’s performance to date and a review of the humanitarian innovation landscape. It is aligned to the strategic evolution of Elrha as an organisation. This is a ‘responsible ambition’, one that is creative and dynamic whilst also focused on accountability and sensitivity to the humanitarian ecosystem of which we are a part. We will work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to collectively drive forward innovation for a more effective humanitarian response.

Read our programme strategy


Our Evaluation, conducted by Triple Line between December 2016 and June 2017, covers the period from the launch of the HIF in early 2011 to December 2016. Its purpose is to provide accountability to our stakeholders through an independent assessment of the HIF’s performance; to support learning about the effectiveness of our own processes and to contribute to our strategic development.

We welcomed this opportunity for a formal review as we fully believe in the importance of robust evaluation for improving how we work and helping us maximise our value to the humanitarian sector.

Learning from 5 years of action

Our response to the Evaluation shared our learning and set out our actions. Our commitment is not only to learn, but to continue to improve as a result.

Read our response

The Humanitarian Innovation Fund External Evaluation, Triple Line

View the Evaluation in Full here.

this Evaluation also carried out three case studies:

  1. World Food Programme’s mVAM: Mobile Voice Technology for Food Security Data
  2. IFRC’s Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies
  3. Translators Without Borders’ Words of Relief

Our Donors

Explore the HIF

Meet the Team

Meet our Advisory Group



Explore our COVID-19 Hub, or get in touch with us info@elrha.org

Find out more

Latest news


New innovation funding for more inclusive humanitarian response


New WASH report centres needs of people affected by crises


Thank you to our HIF Funding Committee


FUNDING OPEN: help us build evidence around WASH innovations


Hear our Voices of WASH


NEW videos: next steps on the Journey to Scale


Eight innovation grants awarded to support wider adoption of projects


We’re changing the way we fund innovation to tackle humanitarian problems in more depth


Five new innovation projects taking a local perspective on measuring the impact of GBV programmes


Introducing our new Humanitarian Innovation Guide (by an innovation sceptic)


Innovation Insights Webinar Series

The HIF’s current thematic focuses are:

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Since starting our work on innovation in WASH within humanitarian settings in 2013, we have supported more than 50 innovation or research projects in this area and continue to support many more...

Gender-based Violence (GBV)

Gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings is a life-threatening issue. It undermines dignity, causes pain, and is a threat to equality and development around the globe. We are exploring potential solutions to address humanitarian GBV through both our research and innovation programmes...

Journey to Scale

We set out to address the sector wide question of how to scale humanitarian innovation. In many cases, the complexities involved in scaling innovation beyond prototyping and piloting has stagnated projects meaning valuable, innovative ideas do not get the chance to develop, progress or achieve their potential...

Disability and Older Age Inclusion

All people affected by crisis deserve to be included in humanitarian response activities. Yet we know that some people are systematically excluded. Our newest area of work explores the barriers to and support opportunities for the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities in humanitarian response....

Local Innovation

We believe innovations can be stronger and more effective if they are developed with the input of those most affected by the problems they aim to solve. To ‘localise’ our funding and support, we formed a strategic partnership with the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN)...

Explore our innovation portfolio

Explore over 150 HIF-funded innovations…

Discover more about the projects we fund

Key Tools, Guidance & Research published by HIF

Report Scale

How to scale: tactics to adopt humanitarian innovations

Report Water, sanitation & hygiene

Gaps in WASH in Humanitarian Response: 2021 Update

Report Sexual and Reproductive Health

Innovation for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Crises

Report Capacity Development, Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People

Review of Training for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People in the Humanitarian Sector

Report Partnerships

Partnerships Review: Humanitarian Innovation Fund

Report Gender-based Violence, Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in GBV

Report COVID-19, Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People, Water, sanitation & hygiene

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in WASH

Tool Innovation Management

Humanitarian Innovation Guide

Report Innovation Management, Scale

Too Tough to Scale? Challenges to scaling innovation in the humanitarian sector

Tools & Research from HIF funded projects

Tool Accountability & Participation

Hotline in a Box Toolkit

Tool Health Systems & Services, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition, Refugees and IDPs

Lot Quality Assurance Sampling Rapid Assessment Toolkit for Refugee Contexts

Briefing Note Gender-based Violence, Refugees and IDPs

Unite for a Better Life: Lessons on Programme Adaption for a Humanitarian Context

Tool Gender-based Violence

Gender-Based Violence Case Management Outcome Monitoring Toolkit

Report Accountability & Participation, Information Management, Communication & Technology

Responsive Listening through Improved Feedback Mechanisms: End-of-project evaluation

Tool Water, sanitation & hygiene

Guide and practical tools addressing Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) needs

Article Water, sanitation & hygiene

Supertowel as an alternative hand cleaning product for emergencies

Previous Funding Opportunities

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