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The humanitarian sector has made great strides in the past decade to support the development of innovations.

The emphasis has been on the supply of innovations to solve priority problems, while there has arguably been insufficient focus on the demand for innovations and the partnering and procurement processes that connect supply and demand. More attention and solutions to achieve this connection would enable the uptake of innovation at a much larger scale in the humanitarian sector.

With nearly a decade of support for WASH innovation in the sector, Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) has seen many of the promising innovations it funds struggle to achieve widespread adoption in the WASH sector. To understand this better, Elrha commissioned this report in order to:

  • Provide guidance for innovators seeking to have their innovations adopted within the humanitarian sector.
  • Identify challenges in the current system for procuring and adopting innovations.
  • Provide recommendations for ways of addressing these challenges.

This paper focuses on the demand side for product innovations and the connection between supply and demand, namely procurement. It is based on a review of humanitarian agencies’ catalogues, databases and process documents, supplemented by 31 interviews with humanitarian WASH practitioners, innovators, third party suppliers and manufacturers.

view report (accessible PDF) view executive summary (accessible pdf)

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