Randomised Evaluations in Humanitarian Action: A Learning Agenda for the Humanitarian Initiative
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Last Updated: March 2022
Conflict and crisis situations threaten the lives and basic rights of individuals, and present obstacles to both the fulfilment of basic needs and inclusive economic development. An estimated 274 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2022. The scale of these needs looks likely to grow, also due to global warming, which can be expected to lead to further disasters, displacement, and potential conflict.
In conversations with humanitarian practitioners, researchers, and funders, and with the support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, J-PAL staff gathered input on what sorts of learning and evaluation questions were most relevant for them to respond to these growing needs more effectively. These conversations were in particular geared towards learning about evaluation priorities with regard to protecting people affected by conflict from, and responding to, violence, coercion, and deliberate deprivation, but also sought to identify types of questions of relevance to humanitarian action more broadly.
The Humanitarian Initiative’s Learning Agenda takes these questions as a starting point to then provide guidance on how randomised impact evaluations can be deployed in humanitarian settings and draw on examples from existing studies to inform avenues for future research. Written with both practitioners’ and researchers’ interests in mind, the Learning Agenda aims to give an overview of the demand for evidence in the sector and show how randomised evaluations can support (cost-)effectiveness, innovation, and scale by generating this evidence.
We intend to launch a research initiative to fund randomised evaluations in the humanitarian space via a dedicated funding pool that will support rigorous research in this area. Stay up to date with the latest developments related to this effort by monitoring our website. To discuss any comments, questions, opportunities for further research, or potential evidence application partnerships, please reach out to Theresa Stienen, Initiative Manager, at [email protected].