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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What humanitarian need is being addressed?

In Sudan there is a large IDP population living in Darfur which continues to increase due to sporadic armed clashes. This research will focus on informal IDP settings, where there is limited availability of services and often compromised institutional systems are resulting in low WASH coverage. For older people and people with disabilities these challenges are compounded due to lack of policies and donor support to provide specific, inclusive, WASH services to this population.

What is the innovative solution and how will it improve existing humanitarian practice?

This solution is in the problem recognition stage of the innovation cycle, where the team aims to better understand and define the issues that need addressing.

This project seeks to understand the barriers to inclusive WASH experienced by people with disabilities and older people by undertaking a participatory research study. The project team comprises Muslim Aid, Coventry University and two local partners. They will conduct accessibility audits and undertake a policy analysis to understand both community and humanitarian practitioner perspectives on barriers to WASH programming for people with disabilities and older people.

Muslim Aid and Coventry University will conduct a literature review of existing policies, donor guidelines and other documents. Then, with the local researcher, Muslim Aid will develop tools for data collection.

The local partners will attend technical training on research methodologies, ethics and tools. Coventry University will also conduct training for data collectors to build their capacity so that they may then lead data collection at the field level. In addition, the local partners will play a key role in the translation and re-translation of tools and qualitative data.

Expected Outcomes

The ultimate aim is to develop a research paper with solid recommendations for the Government and donors to facilitate WASH services for older people and people with disabilities.

It will contribute to the evidence base to help understand both the needs of older people and people with disabilities in this unique IDP context, and help to make the case for investment in more inclusive WASH services in humanitarian response.

At the local level the research findings will be shared with the National Council of People with Disabilities, government ministries, INGO and NGOs Cluster leads, UNHCR, target communities, Disabled People’s Organisations and Older People’s Associations, and in-country donors representatives. At the country level we seek to enable humanitarian practitioners to design better programmes and conduct advocacy for inclusive WASH services.

Advocacy materials will also be developed as part of this study and will be made available for relevant stakeholders in the sector.

Latest Updates

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in WASH

01 Jun 2019

Identified a knowledge gap in good practices and innovation for how people with disabilities and older people are included in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in humanitarian contexts.



01 Apr 2022

This research reports reflects this commitment by MA, and aims to provide insights which will guide MA, and other WASH implementors in the sector, in designing and implementing inclusive WASH programming.


Feature Photo Credit: Muslim Aid

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