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.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...


Humanitarian practice guidelines recommend the integration of gender and protection programming at each phase of a humanitarian crisis. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence; however, most guidelines focus on the prevention of violence in the emergency phase and the protection of women from non-partner sexual violence.

There are fewer guidelines on how to prevent IPV among displaced populations during the stabilisation phase of a crisis and on how to adapt IPV interventions from non-humanitarian settings to humanitarian settings. There are limited data on IPV and a lack of evidence on effective IPV interventions in humanitarian settings; thus, there is a need for innovation in this area of humanitarian response.

What is the innovative solution?

The project developed and tested a novel intervention to reduce IPV in displaced Muslim communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The intervention targeted women, men and married couples in a Somali refugee population in Ethiopia and used community practices, cultural ceremonies or traditions as a platform for intervention delivery. The proposed project attempted to also understand and assess the protective cultural traditions that prevent and reduce IPV within families and communities rather than only emphasising the ‘harmful’ traditions addressed in current research and programming.

This also allowed exploration of how cultural norms related to IPV and how cultural practices and ceremonies shift as a result of displacement. This project developed a framework that can be used as a tool for program planning and design by other humanitarian actors in other settings to integrate cultural factors into the design of public health and IPV interventions.

What were the outcomes?

This innovation built the evidence base on gender, social, cultural, and religious norms that contribute to IPV in displaced populations and also informed how cultural and community practices in refugee settings serve as platforms for IPV intervention delivery. This evidence was used to inform IPV intervention design and implementation in refugee settings.

With a first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) from 2016 to 2019, three IPV prevention interventions – for women, men and couples – were developed, piloted and refined. Key achievements of the project’s first phase included:

  1. qualitative data on gender, social, cultural, and religious norms that contribute to IPV and on community practices in Dollo Ado camps that may serve as platforms for IPV intervention delivery;
  2. an IPV intervention logic model and curricula for three IPV interventions targeted for a Muslim and Somali context (women, men, and couples);
  3. baseline and endline data from the pilot study on feasibility, acceptability, and attendance and knowledge and attitudes related to IPV and gender and social norms;
  4. written and oral dissemination of lessons learned on the selection of community and cultural practices for IPV intervention delivery, and on the process of adapting an intervention from the non-humanitarian setting.

Please read the final report below to find out more about what was achieved in this first phase of funding.

Following the successful delivery of the above outputs, in 2019, J-PAL at the Paris School of Economics and their partners were awarded a second grant from the HIF’s diffusion call to support the scaling of this intervention. With this diffusion grant, practical, field friendly tools were developed to facilitate the implementation of the innovation by diverse stakeholders. With dissemination of the project’s findings at both the local and global levels central to the diffusion phase, it is expected that the learning and evidence from this intervention may be used to address IPV in other humanitarian contexts.

It is hoped that the intervention will lead to long term impacts in attitudes and behaviours related to gender, social, cultural and religious norms that contribute to IPV, which will lead to decreased incidence of IPV in humanitarian settings.

Bokolomayo refugee camp in Ethiopia. Credit: Samuel Tewolde, WAHA.
Bokolomayo refugee camp in Ethiopia. Credit: Samuel Tewolde, WAHA
Practice Interviews. Credit: Samuel Tewolde, WAHA.
Peace in the Home is Peace in the World. Credit: WAHA.
Dollo Ado Refugee Camp. Credit: J-PAL.

Latest Updates

Crucial Conversations to Bold Change: Out Path from Development to Diffusion and Beyond

31 Jan 2020

As we wrap up our diffusion activities, we look to next steps in the journey to scale for our innovation which addresses intimate partner violence in refugee contexts.


Our diffusion journey so far: Unite for a Better Life

30 Nov 2019

J-PAL reflect on their diffusion journey which involves the creation of field-friendly, practical tools to facilitate implementation of Unite for a Better Life, and efforts to disseminate the project's lessons and findings.


J-PAL receive Diffusion grant

15 Apr 2019

In April 2019, The Paris School of Economics' Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab was successfully awarded a HIF diffusion grant to help them scale their project.


Reflections and Lessons Learned at the End of the Project

11 Apr 2019

Reflections on the accomplishments and key lessons learned from this project are presented, and next steps for the future are described.


Stepping Out Of The Gender Box

06 Mar 2019

As part of the 16-session in-person intervention, there are multiple sessions addressing gender equality and stepping outside of gender norms. This has been particularly beneficial for one participant, who has since seen her marital relationship improve and become more equal


Piloting of the Intervention

05 Dec 2018

While there is a growing body of literature on intervention data, there is less attention on the process of piloting. This blog describes several key activities undertaken to ensure a successful pilot.


Celebrating World Refugee Day

25 Sept 2918

I recently travelled to the Bokolmayo refugee camp in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, to start the next phase of fieldwork, and I observed preparations to recognise World Refugee Day on 20 June 2018


A plant as a potential source for family conflict

05 Jun 2017

People usually chew this plant to get psycho-stimulation effect in the form of euphoria and excitement resulting from the cathinone contents.


Being Gender Equitable in an Inequitable Community

21 Feb 2017

“After all this, four of my friends are now fetching water with me for over a year. It is hard to convince men, it is even harder to convince women in our community.”


Qualitative Data Collection to Inform Intervention Development

20 Feb 2017

With their baseline data collection done and the final stage of their project on intimate partner violence in sight WAHA share the adaptation process of their intervention.


Qualitative data collection using innovative participatory methods

20 Oct 2016

In this blog the team discuss participatory research methods to provide some insight on to how this method differs from most other approaches to public health research.


Conducting field work in Dollo Ado

11 Jul 2016

Dollo Ado is a city within the Somali Regional government of Ethiopia housing more than 210,000 refugees originating from Somalia who are displaced due to conflict, famine and other issues.


Celebrating International Womens Day

30 Mar 2016

What would it take to make our world a better place for all? What individual and collective actions could alleviate suffering of women and also advance women’s rights throughout the world?


Introducing the dynamic team of experts

11 Mar 2016

As the project kicks off, this first blog is devoted to introducing organizations and individuals involved in the project.


Related Resources

Article, Report Gender-based Violence

Khat use and intimate partner violence in a refugee population: a qualitative study in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia

Report Gender-based Violence, Refugees and IDPs

Unite for a Better Life: The Programme Basics

Briefing Note Gender-based Violence, Refugees and IDPs

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

Case Study, Policy Brief Gender-based Violence

Unite for a Better Life: Policy Brief and Case Studies of Impact

Report Gender-based Violence

Final Report: Linking Interventions to Cultural Ceremonies and Practices to Reduce IPV Among Displaced Populations in Humanitarian Crises

Subscribe to our newsletters....

Elrha © 2018 - 2024 Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110). KEEP IN TOUCH Want to stay up to date with our latest updates? Sign up to our newsletters
Elrha Please upgrade your browser

You are seeing this because you are using a browser that is not supported. The Elrha website is built using modern technology and standards. We recommend upgrading your browser with one of the following to properly view our website:

Windows Mac

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of browsers. We also do not intend to recommend a particular manufacturer's browser over another's; only to suggest upgrading to a browser version that is compliant with current standards to give you the best and most secure browsing experience.