Research and consultancy areas

System-wide performance and reform

Humanitarian Outcomes research and consultations contribute to assessments of the performance of the international humanitarian aid system and its ongoing process of reform. A key product of this work is the State of the Humanitarian System report, authored by Humanitarian Outcomes partners and produced by ALNAP. Other studies include multiple evaluations of the Common Humanitarian Funds and reviews of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), as well as reviews of donors’ financing and reporting requirements to support greater efficiencies in humanitarian partnerships.

Secure access

Humanitarian Outcomes have pioneered much of the research on humanitarian operational security, including the seminal report Providing Aid in Insecure Environments and ongoing monitoring and statistical analysis of operational security indicators through the Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD) project. Humanitarian Outcomes currently leads a three-year, multi-country research programme on Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE), working with the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi). The SAVE study seeks to contribute to solutions for providing effective and accountable humanitarian action amidst high levels of insecurity and draws on extensive field-level research in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

The team is also currently completing a related study on NGOs’ approaches to risk management, commissioned by InterAction, and recently completed an independent review of UN Programme Criticality. With former Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, the team authored a UN-led, multi-donor study on good practice for humanitarians in complex security environments, To Stay and Deliver, and Humanitarian Outcomes is also currently managing the follow-up study. The team led a pioneering study on Remote Management of humanitarian operations for insecure areas and have subsequently published on the topic in the IFRC’s World Disaster Report. The team were the editors of a major revision of the 2000 edition of the Good Practice Review on Security Management in Violent Environments, and have led studies in on the use of private security and the financing of security for humanitarian action.

Programmes and practice

Humanitarian Outcomes programmatic expertise covers protection; livelihoods and food security; cash transfers; and corruption and accountability. In the area of cash, Humanitarian Outcomes is currently providing technical advice to the follow-up actions of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers. This work follow on from on several important studies on the role of cash in emergencies. The team is currently partnering with Transparency International on a study looking at ways to manage the risks of corruption in a range of complex settings, which builds on a body of work related to corruption in emergencies. Humanitarian Outcomes partner Paul Harvey is currently Director of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC), a six-year research programme focused on livelihoods and service delivery in conflicts.

 The team has substantial experience in leading major evaluations. These have included a 2015 evaluation of Dutch humanitarian action for the Netherlands government; an evaluation of the cash response to the 2011 famine in Somalia; two global-level evaluations for DG ECHO of its emergency livelihoods interventions (2012), and the integration of nutrition within food assistance (2013); an evaluation of OCHA’s emergency preparedness; multiple evaluations of the Common Humanitarian Funds and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and we are currently part of a major OCHA-commissioned evaluation looking at the effectiveness of multi-year financing appeals.