See the latest information and resources from Elrha in relation to coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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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Principal Investigators: Stephanie J. Nawyn & Stephen Gasteyer (Michigan State University)


Humanitarian NGOs face significant challenges to limiting infection spread while assisting refugees. This study aims to assess:

  • a) how humanitarian NGOs attempt to limit infection spread while assisting refugees,
  • b) what barriers exist to limit infection spread,
  • c) in which services are those barriers most intractable, and
  • d) which refugee populations are most impacted.

Using data from on-the-ground service provision to refugees in thirteen locations in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, the overall goal is to determine what interventions could be implemented that would mitigate barriers to implementing practices that will slow the spread of COVID-19 among refugee populations.

For further information, please see the study webpage;

Research Snapshot: Humanitarian COVID-19 safety protocols

To provide services to refugees safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, NGOs have instituted safety protocols to mitigate the risk of spreading infection in crisis settings. This study aimed to better understand how these protocols were being followed on the ground and examine barriers to adherence.

View Research Snapshot

Stephanie J. Nawyn

Principal Investigator

Often the key to understanding how refugee assistance can be improved is to understand what barriers service providers face in everyday work, and what innovations they develop in response. By comparing a range of contexts, we hope to produce recommendations for sustainable best practices that come from the ground up.

Expected Outcomes

The research is expected to produce recommendations for how refugee humanitarian NGOs can improve their services while also reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It will use the interdisciplinary field of humanitarian engineering to consider how physical structures and technologies are used in everyday humanitarian practices, and how structures and technologies can be better mobilized to reduce infection risk. It may include recommendations for other stakeholders to alter their practices, such as host government agencies and donor organizations. These recommendations will be distributed through a written final report and a series of five webinars offered in English and Arabic.


Syrian refugee girls receive educational and social support from Safa for Development in southeastern Turkey. Photo Credit: Safa for Development
Amel Association staff provide health services to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Photo credit: Amel Association

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