In late 2018, with funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), Humanitarian Outcomes launched a new data-driven research programme addressing the challenge of humanitarian access and coverage in conflicts. The research takes forward and builds upon the Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE) study supported by UK DFID—a multiyear, field-based empirical analysis that revealed weak and imbalanced humanitarian coverage in insecure contexts (www.saveresearch.net). Under this new programme on Coverage, Operational Resources, and Effectiveness (CORE), Humanitarian Outcomes will follow up the SAVE findings with actionable research that will identify and bolster the humanitarian actors best placed to make significant access gains in difficult environments. The goal is to provide measurable data on the operational reach of humanitarian actors, and to contribute to the knowledge base on good practice for expanding secure humanitarian access and better coverage of needs.
The CORE programme will produce two new open-access data streams to feed empirical analysis on the state humanitarian access and coverage in challenging security environments. First, the Global Database of Humanitarian Organisations (GDHO) will be an online, open-source database of essential humanitarian operational and resource data worldwide, along with context-specific data on presence and coverage in selected hard-to-access areas. The other new data initiative will contain the results of an ongoing, rotating survey of affected populations in under-covered areas. These results will triangulate the operational data and capture people’s perceptions of the performance of the humanitarian organizations operating in their area. This ‘Survey of Coverage Operational Reach and Effectiveness (SCORE)’ will focus on a different set of conflict settings each year, and using mobile telecoms surveys, identify which humanitarian actors are most effective in gaining and maintaining access while providing quality assistance. Agencies with high ‘Scores’ will be queried for potentially transferable lessons, access innovations, and examples of good practice.