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?

There is a systemic lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian response. This group faces barriers to accessing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services and to meaningfully participating in needs assessments, programme design, implementation and evaluation. Their rights and capacities to contribute to research are often overlooked. And despite facing 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.  

What is the innovative solution?

The innovation is a set of 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. That evidence was collected by the innovation team throughout the research stages with organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs). The OPDs took part in the Steering Committee (a decision-making body made up of practitioners, scholars and disability groups representatives) and were able to monitor and provide recommendations on the team’s research directions. This placed the OPDs in an advisory, rather than purely an implementing, role

What progress has been made?

The guidelines fill the knowledge gap that previously existed. They extend the ‘nothing about us, without us’ principle into humanitarian research, so future research practices – particularly in the field of humanitarian response and social inclusion -can prioritise the meaningful involvement of people with disabilities at all stages.  

Co-researchers with disabilities who took part in the research project reported feeling included. They came to understand what it takes to conduct research, and they were able to see how they could contribute in a very real and valuable way. 

Innovation potential

The innovation team has documented its co-research experiences in various forms (see links below) sharing the lessons learned and the possibilities for the future. There is great confidence that the innovation will help inspire more inclusive humanitarian system – one in which co-research with people with disabilities becomes the norm.  

Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund’s research is part of its Elrha-funded project, “Investing in Inclusive Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)”. 

Links to more information

Lessons for Disability and Older Age Inclusion in the Central Sulawesi Response 

Towards meaningful participation in humanitarian studies: co-researching with persons with disabilities in Central Sulawesi 

Chapter 5: Co-researching with persons with disabilities: Reflections and lessons learned, in Disrupting the Academy with Lived Experience-led Knowledge. 

Play video
Members of an OPD delivering hygiene promotion sessions for community members, Mantikole Village in Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Credit: Dwi Oblo for ASB Indonesia and the Philippines.
An IDP woman with a disability enters an accessible latrine built by ASB in Bamba Palu, Central Sulawesi

Latest Updates

Inclusive research: working with organisations of persons with disabilities in WASH research

16 Oct 2020

ASB share their experiences of conducting research in Inclusive WASH for people with disabilities


‘Top tips’ for organising an inclusive online training

3 Aug 2020

ASB share their lessons learned for delivering online training for people with disabilities to improve the capacity of Organisations for People with Disabilities to conduct research.


Disability Etiquette in Research

30 Jun 2020

ASB's office for Indonesia and the Philippines share how they successfully hosted an interactive webinar on engaging with people with disabilities.



Jan 2021

This report describes the implementation and findings of our research on the inclusion of people with disabilities and older people in humanitarian Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) programming. The research was conducted between 2020 and 2021 in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Practical Guidelines for Co-researching with People with Disabilities

Guidance Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People, Water, sanitation & hygiene

Practical Guidelines for Co-researching with People with Disabilities

Lessons for Disability and Older Age Inclusion

Report Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People

Lessons for Disability and Older Age Inclusion

Feature Photo: Members of an Organisation of Persons with Disabilities-OPDs delivering hygiene promotion session for community members of Mantikole Village in Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Credit: Dwi Oblo for ASB Indonesia and the Philippines.

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