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?

People with disabilities and older people are vulnerable to GBV, especially in humanitarian settings. Yet they are underrepresented in GBV services.

Barriers to care may be environmental, organisational, attitudinal, and/or related to mental health. They can be influenced by culture, conflict-exposure, and displacement. Little research has examined barriers to care among people with disabilities and older people in complex conflict/post-conflict contexts like Iraq.

This research aims to fill this gap through an in-depth quantitative and qualitative study, developed and implemented with participation of affected community members, and encompassing perspectives from varied contexts and stakeholders.

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.

Heartland Alliance International and IADO will work with local organisations for people with disabilities (OPDs) to conduct a mixed-method study across three diverse conflict-affected sites in Iraq: urban areas in Baghdad and Mosul, and IDP camps in Sulaymaniyah.

Innovative, accessible, and safe data collection methodologies will be developed collaboratively with people with disabilities and older people through a participatory methods development workshop.

Research will utilise tools developed in this workshop to guide interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs). FGDs will be conducted with people with disabilities and older people, with family members and community leaders and combined with online surveys for GBV service providers.

Data collection will focus on exploring both explicit and implicit barriers to care in environmental (e.g. inaccessible transportation and buildings), organisational (e.g. lack of knowledge among GBV service providers), attitudinal (e.g. social norms, stigma), and mental health (e.g. reactions to stress and trauma) domains with attention to relevant cultural factors.

Expected Outcomes

Research is expected to illuminate barriers to care and inform strategies for increasing access. Results will be presented at all levels:

  • Locally in local dissemination workshops
  • Nationally through the SGBV Task Force and National Disability Task Force in Iraq
  • Globally through an academic article and reporting to the IASC.

Results will also be published in accessible formats (including a Plain Language Summary). The research is intended inform concrete initiatives to increase access to GBV care among people with disabilities and older people in Iraq as well as in other humanitarian contexts.

Latest Updates

Inclusivity and participation in methods development and training

4 May 2021

Heartland Alliance International and Iraqi Alliance of Disability Organizations explain their inclusive and participatory methods for training and enumeration.


Related Resources

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

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in GBV

Feature Photo: Hashim Al-Azzawi, IADO Coordinator and Salah Barzngy, HAI Country Director. Credit: HAI. 

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