Humanitarian Action Research Incubator in Bogotá, Colombia

Workshop or Training
Bogotá, Colombia


Lecture hall
Photo credit: Matthieu Alexandre


J-PAL and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are pleased to announce that applications are now open for a three-day randomized evaluation design workshop as part of the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative (DLI) and ongoing work to improve humanitarian protection programs.

The research incubator is tailored to the interests of organizations whose activities aim to promote sustainable livelihoods for forcibly displaced persons and host communities, or promote solutions to ensure protection outcomes in conflict settings. It will help them explore how randomized evaluations can complement their evaluation, learning and innovation toolkit and lay the foundations for fruitful collaboration with researchers who can apply for impact evaluation funding.

Over the course of this incubator, J-PAL researchers and staff will guide groups of 3–4 staff members per organization through the process of designing a randomized impact evaluation. By the end of the incubator, participants can expect to have thought through the key elements of a rigorous evaluation design to better understand one of their own projects or interventions. As places are limited, early application is encouraged.

Objectives and outcomes

Together with J-PAL affiliated researchers and staff, participants will design a randomized impact evaluation of their own intervention, either focused on improving livelihood or protection outcomes, through an integrated learning program. Besides on-site teaching and group work, participants will build on preparatory online lectures, covering topics such as:

  • Building on a theory of change to formulate research questions, select indicators, and identify data sources
  • Methods of randomization adapted for interventions implemented in displacement settings 
  • Understanding power calculations to determine sample size

Participants will come out from the incubator with an increased understanding of the nuts and bolts of designing and implementing a randomized evaluation. Besides the design of an evaluation that is relevant to their work, they will be better equipped to make informed choices about evaluation options that are suited to their programmes and the specificities of livelihood aimed to improve livelihood outcomes targeting displaced persons.

Participant organizations with promising research questions will benefit from support before, during and after the workshop from J-PAL staff and researchers, along the path towards developing a randomized evaluation. Workshop participants will be well-positioned to partner with researchers who can apply to a recurring call for research proposals run as part of the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative.

Instructions to apply

Step 1: Download the application form

Step 2: Upload your application on the submission portal

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible, as places are limited. The application deadline has been extended to March 6, 2024. Feedback will be provided on a rolling basis. Apply as soon as possible. All feedback on applications will be provided in early March to allow for travel arrangements and preparations. Funding support is available to supplement travel to and stay in Bogotá, Colombia on a case by case basis. We encourage organisations led by those affected by displacement to apply. 

If you have any challenges accessing the online application form, please download, fill in, and submit this document to [email protected].

What makes a strong application?

Successful applications will demonstrate:

  • Alignment with DLI’s motivation and scope as outlined in section II and III of our most recent call for proposals, or alignment with the goals of developing projects that aim protect the safety, rights and dignity of conflict affected populations as outlined in this learning agenda (pg. 7). 
  • A clear outline of the evaluable activities within the overall project description. These could be:
    • Recurring activities of an ongoing programme, which participating organizations seek to better understand and iteratively improve.
    • Activities of a programme that the organization intends to launch in the near future.
  • A robust theory of change detailing the assumptions underpinning current programming and the research or evaluation question that the organization seeks to answer via a randomized evaluation.
  • Organizational interest in evidence-based decision making and learning that makes for a conducive environment for randomized evaluations.
  • A team composition that indicates organizational interest and ability to carry randomized impact evaluations forward. Organizations should ideally be represented by multidisciplinary project teams, across complementary organizational divisions and levels, such as:
    • Decision-making: Staff member with decision-making power with regards to the project (e.g., head of department managing the project).
    • Implementation: Staff with knowledge of the specific program/intervention that the organization is interested in evaluating and who can provide detailed information on the implementation aspects of the project.
    • Evaluation: Staff empowered to oversee/coordinate the implementation of the evaluation (statistician/M&E specialist) within the organization.
  • Collaboration and co-creation with, or inclusion of perspectives of people with lived experiences of displacement or local knowledge. We highly encourage incubator applications from organizations led by those with lived experiences related to the topic or from the countries where the project will take place. 
  • The proposed evaluation comes with learnings with a high potential to inform policy and scalable programmes to further economic inclusion for displacement or conflict affected persons.

Key information

How to apply: Apply by completing the application form below. Once the application form is completed, please upload as a PDF file on the linked submission portal by March 6, 2024.

As places are limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, early applications are encouraged. We encourage applications from organizations led by or inclusive of voices of those with lived experiences of displacement. 

If you have any challenges accessing the online application form, please download, fill in, and submit this document to [email protected].

Workshop fees: Participation in the course is free of charge, thanks to funding provided by the IKEA Foundation and UK International Development from the UK government.

Travel and logistics: The workshop will take place in person in Bogotá, Colombia. Please note that J-PAL Europe is generally not in a position to cover travel or accommodation expenses, and we are therefore asking selected organizations to cover their own expenses. Funding is available on a case-by-case basis for refugee-led organizations, or more broadly, organizations led by individuals with lived experience of displacement, who anticipate challenges in funding their travel expenses. 

Contact: Please contact [email protected] for any questions regarding the application process or other details about the workshop.

Indicative agenda

8 April 9 April 10 April
Welcome and Introduction Randomization and evaluation design Generalizability
Research question and theory of change Implementation challenges Project presentations and feedback
Lunch Lunch Lunch
Indicators and measurement Power and sample size Project presentations and feedback (continued)
  Group dinner Closing and next steps

About the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative

Displacement is at an all-time high and is projected to climb in the coming decades, pushing the donor, practitioner, and researcher communities to seek more cost-effective, long-term solutions to displacement. This has led to an increased effort to strengthen displaced livelihoods, self-reliance, and economic inclusion. More evidence is needed, however, about what interventions best support sustainable livelihoods for displaced populations and host communities. 

The IKEA Foundation is supporting IPA and J-PAL to generate and share new evidence on the impacts of policies and programs that can foster sustainable livelihoods for displaced populations and host communities. Under this Initiative, IPA and J-PAL manage calls for proposals, form partnerships with displacement actors and researchers, and support the translation of funded research into policy and practice. Ultimately, research supported by the Initiative will support the design of better policies and programs to enable refugees and others forced to flee to rebuild their lives.

For more information, visit our website

About our work advancing humanitarian protection outcomes 

Conflict and crisis situations threaten the lives and basic rights of individuals, and present obstacles to both the fulfillment of basic needs and inclusive economic development. UN OCHA estimated that 274 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2022 and the scale of these needs continue to grow, in particular as global warming leads to further disasters, displacement and potential conflict. Yet, rigorous evidence on how humanitarian assistance can be delivered effectively, and in a manner that can durably meet the needs and protect the rights of affected populations, is scarce. To help fill this evidence gap, J-PAL has developed a research effort with the intention to identify effective models of humanitarian programming with a particular focus on improving protection outcomes. 

For more information, visit our website and the learning agenda.