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Reflections from the Community-Led Innovation Partnership using a postcolonial lens

For the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest and debate about the role of structural racism in society, in general, as well as in the development and humanitarian sector, which is once again facing a reckoning about its past, present, and future (Ali & Murphy, 2020). Organisations are rightly being challenged to reflect on the role they play in a system characterised by power imbalances, inequity, and structural racism, and how they can change it through education, policies, and practice.  

Humanitarian innovation and the actors within it are one such area that should rightly be challenged, and this paper seeks to do that by discussing reflections from the Community-led Innovation Partnership through a postcolonial lens. As a partnership that operates across borders and cultures, this engagement with postcolonial theories is crucial in order to step back, reflect, and examine the knowledge and beliefs upon which our partnership is founded. Rooted in the history of academic engagement with colonialism, which is long, complex, multilingual and geographically diverse, the paper reflects our varied perspectives on the humanitarian sector, questioning how the humanitarian innovation agenda is conceptualised, implemented and evaluated.

We hope that this discussion of the role of community-led innovation initiatives in addressing power imbalances in the humanitarian sector will be interesting and valuable to others, particularly in the policy and funding field of innovation and humanitarian aid.  

Related Resources

Report Partnerships

Elrha Guide to Constructing Effective Partnerships

Report Partnerships

Partnerships Review: Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises

Full report in English (accessible pdf) Full report (Spanish) Full report (Tagalog) Full report (Bahasa) Full report (French)

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