Evidence of What Works

Data and knowledge to inform aid decisions have improved greatly in the last 20 years. In all models of planning, programming and change the cyclical process requires information and data to provide the evidence for the next iteration of action. Recent global conversations on issues such as the effectiveness of humanitarian action, child survival, value for money and many others, indicate the need for more attention to operational research and evidence generation on actually What Works on the ground.

The increased attention to evaluations of all aspects of the humanitarian system is highlighting common themes including the gap between the generation of evidence and its rapid use in the field. The innovative use of technology, such as mobile phones, often increasingly involving partnerships with the private sector, offers opportunities to speed up the collection of data and information and bringing analysis and availability of evidence and decision making tools closer to decision-makers on the ground and in more real-time. Many information systems are in a process of evolution taking advantage of these types of innovation but examples to date do not always achieve the last and most crucial step of turning evidence into action. What are the technological and technical approaches that would work to make evidence influence action at a local level in real-time and at scale?

Evaluation and production of learning documents are often seen as an extractive process that influences policy (slowly) with little direct benefit to the practitioners on the ground. What if the people adapting and applying the more effective aid projects were the ones also influencing how others work? Can good practice directly guide current practice through a system of cross-cultural and cross-organizational coaching, mentoring and demonstration? Can the good practice be recognized and ‘champions’ be identified to teach others throughout the region? Can innovative learning build local capacity and turn evidence into action?

CHC projects designed to answer these questions and change policy and practice:

South Sudan has been immersed in conflict for at least four of the last six decades and is prone to environmental shocks including floods, locusts and drought, making it one of the most fragile countries in the world. One casualty of conflict, political upheaval and environmental shocks is the population’s access to reliable and safe […]

Nutrition Information System encompasses collection, analysis and interpretation of nutrition data from multiple sources to provide information for decision making. UNICEF is working with the Global Nutrition Cluster Technical alliance to develop a roadmap for system wide improvements to Nutritional Information Systems-e. CHC was commissioned by UNICEF in September 2021 to: a) Oversee the diagnosis […]

In May 2022, Centre for Humanitarian Change released its report “Anticipatory Action to drought induced crisis in Kenya and Somalia”, which tracked two years’ worth of drought impact and aid response data between 2020-2022. The findings informed “Dangerous Delay 2: The Cost of Inaction” published by Jameel Observatory, Oxfam and Save the Children. Current context of drought in Kenya […]

Somalia is prone to severe drought and the situation is set to become worse due to climate change. This causes significant loss of life, displacement and suffering. Over the last few years, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Federal Member States (FMS) and international partners have developed strategies to mitigate severe food insecurity in Somalia. […]

Indonesia has a well-developed disaster response framework with established systems for command and coordination of response activities which delivers relief and essential services to affected populations efficiently and effectively. The International humanitarian system has supported the Indonesian government during major, national level, emergencies including activating the cluster coordination mechanism for key sectors. While WASH is […]

An effective COVID-19 response in East Africa requires rapid evidence generation and synthesis across multiple disciplines and sectors that leads to the delivery of usable policy- and practice relevant products. This initiative sought to establish a research and analysis facility to meet this goal, which would be managed by a consortium consisting of the Centre […]

The objectives of this programme was to bring Somalia expertise and voices into the SHARP design process, help partners to develop coherent programme and delivery options and support harmonization across partner programmes for achievement of common impact and outcomes. CHC’s role was to : plan, organize and facilitate consultations, frame documents for each thematic area […]

Despite significant investment by government and donors to address acute malnutrition in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) over many years, acute malnutrition rates frequently remain above emergency levels and even when households’ access to food and quality healthcare increases, there is little improvement. County level, context-specific, integrated, multi-sectoral initiatives that leverage ongoing emergency and […]

From 2016-2019, CHC in partnership with REACH conducted research on pastoralist women in Maasai and Samburu counties, Kenya, exploring the links between women empowerment and water security specifically deep diving into the constraints pastoralists women face regarding access to water and how this affects water security in relation to resource sustainability, inclusive services and sustainable […]

These projects were to help improve the understanding and analysis of households living in famine or famine-like conditions to enable improved prevention, mitigation and response. One of the challenges facing food security analysts across the region is accurately distinguishing household characteristics between different phases of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) tool. CHC’s role […]


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