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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.
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What humanitarian need is being addressed?

Given the conflict setting of Myanmar, it is crucial that local actors no when civilian incidents occur so that they can both deploy effective conflict prevention programming and provide humanitarian assistance. The Policy Lab’s network of 500 civilian ceasefire monitors are located throughout much of Myanmar to report on conflict and humanitarian challenges. However, their significant monitoring and reporting potential is yet to be optimised.  Existing monitoring approaches are hampered by:

  1. Difficulty coordinating among local, national, UN and international monitoring actors;
  2. Challenges around data protection and digital security;
  3.  Lack of an interoperable, centralised system;
  4. Challenges around validity and reliability of reports for verifying rumours and tracking misinformation.

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

Local actors feel that civilian incident reporting capabilities, as they stand, need to
be improved to achieve more targeted, transparent, and systematic conflict
monitoring efforts. However, current efforts to improve conflict monitoring tools and practices are failing to address the range of barriers, gaps, and opportunities faced by existing monitoring initiatives.

The Policy Lab and The Nonviolent Peace Force proposed exploring how recent advances in mobile communications technology could be leveraged improve documentation of conflict-related incidents and displacement patterns in the north of Myanmar. In doing this they could allow local actors to be equipped with timely, verifiable, and context-relevant information that improves conflict prevention and enhances humanitarian response. Moreover, the scale and humanitarian impact of violent conflict in this region could be better communicated and understood by national and international stakeholders, thereby enabling improved humanitarian response.

What were the grant outcomes?

The research conducted with HIF Funding helped to identify:

  1. A range of opportunity areas whereby an innovation process could deliver tangible and practical improvements to civilian ceasefire monitor’s work; and
  2.  New mission critical knowledge gaps to be prioritised for subsequent research.

The Policy Lab and Nonviolent Peace Force developed an initial Design Brief to guide the next innovation phase – designing tools, processes and protocols that might collectively support solutions within a complex system. The design brief draws upon the observations and findings generated through the research and analysis of the problem recognition phase to outline:

  • key issues that need to be addressed
  • objectives that need to be achieved in response to each issue
  • criteria that should be met by any proposed design concepts and solutions in order to both address key challenges and needs, while meeting our criteria for accountable innovation.

On closing the grant, the project team hope for this initial research to shed light on the kinds of practices suitable for the development of systems innovations in complex and fragile contexts, specifically for navigating both opportunity and risk in the digital age.

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